What is our primary use case?
Our primary use case for SimpliVIty was around backup and disaster recovery. We were trying to replace our existing DR service platform, then consolidate our backups from the different solutions, whether that was Veeam on the VMware side, Robocopy for file shares, or Windows Backup or SQL backup for certain applications.
How has it helped my organization?
Looking at the way that our infrastructure team works now, we don't think about infrastructure, storage, or compute anymore. The solution just works. It is same with the backup and replication side of things, as it just works on schedule. We don't have to manage it tightly, like we used to. That has freed up those resources to do more application delivery type functionalities.
What is most valuable?
- The ease of management in these deployments were some of the most valuable things.
- The date storage infrastructure that it provides is pretty fantastic.
- The ease of use on the backup and DR and replication side of things is good. It can be done by a VMware admin with no additional training.
What needs improvement?
The biggest feature, which should be included, is some method to handle archival backup or cloud-based backup. Where SimpliVIty typically falls down with their data structure is: The longer a backup is kept, the more space it ends up inevitably using. When you get into things that you have to keep for five or seven years for legal requirements or regulatory compliance, then you start taking up a lot of space with these old dead backups that you are probably never going to use again. Being able to offload those to a separate platform or cloud storage location would be ideal.
For how long have I used the solution?
We did the initial setup three years ago.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It is very stable. We have had very limited problems. When we do have problems, it is typically not on the SimpliVIty side of the house, but on the hardware side or VMware side. However, the support is phenomenal at getting all of the right resources on the line together, whether they have to call up VMware or your networking provider, whomever it happens to be, to get to the bottom of the problem.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Scalability is fine. We are a fairly small organization, so it hasn't really come up. We fit well into their small end of deployments. From what I hear, it can scale quite high. However, that is not a functionality or feature that we've come across yet.
How are customer service and technical support?
The technical support is good. We purchased SimpliVIty prior to HPE owning them, so there was a different support when the buyout occurred. However, it is at a level now where it is second to none.
If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?
We didn't initially think we needed to invest in a new hardware solution. We really were focused on DR backup. As we went through the use case and worked out the financials on it, we determined that SimpliVIty was the right move for us, as it financially made sense to the point that we had an HPE 3PAR that was two years old and we put that on the shelf. So, it was not hardware refresh related at all.
How was the initial setup?
There were definitely some complexities to the initial setup, as we had to migrate off of our older infrastructure, which was the more complex part. Generally, the SimpliVIty install and migration was pretty straightforward.
What about the implementation team?
We used a reseller, IMP Solutions, to purchase the deployment, but we did the actual install and deployment ourselves with SimpliVIty support. IMP Solutions was fantastic.
What was our ROI?
When we did our financials, it became a wash based on what we were doing previous with regular hardware refreshes. However, the time savings on the administration side of things is huge. We had somebody who was dedicated pretty much full-time to hardware, and now, they spend about a quarter of their time a year on hardware-related issues.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
For the VMware licensing, it is approximately $10,000 a year.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
SimpliVIty, HPE's previous hyper-converged solution, Nutanix, and Scale Computing were on our shortlist.
What made us chose SimpliVity was the tight integration on the backup and DR aspects of the product. Everybody else had that type of capability, but it felt like it was added on after the fact, whereas with SimpliVIty, it was built from the ground up to do these things, which was our primary use case. So, it made sense for us to move forward with that product.
What other advice do I have?
Try to understand your rate of change on your data: When you take a backup, how quickly is your information changing or being updated, and whether it is a database, file server, or whatever it happens to be. This will affect the way that you size the solution and get into those archives. It will affect how much space it starts to take up and how you calculate that. Know your data.
It does everything that we need it to do. The only spot that it falls out is the archival backups. Otherwise, it is a rock-solid platform. It has freed up a bunch of resources to do different types of work, instead of dealing with storage allocations, backups, and recoveries.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.