IBM XIV Review

This is the easiest storage platform on the market to manage

What is most valuable?

Ease of operation. Hands down, this is the easiest storage platform on the market to manage. It's essentially a fire-and-forget sort of solution. In our situation, we have these behind-the-scenes storage brokers (SVC), so we really never touch them at all, except for having support do code updates.

How has it helped my organization?

It does not improve function as much as it doesn't hinder function it. Since it is so reliable and easy to use, we spend almost zero time managing it.

What needs improvement?

Management accessibility. Both the GUI and the CLI require installation of a Java-based thick client, which is ridiculous, plus a drain on resources. Also, if you have a large complex version of XIV, the GUI must contact and load each one of the units before the GUI is available for use. This is frustrating.

I would rather have a web GUI served directly from the unit, and a CLI accessible directly through SSH. For multi-system management, it might be useful to have a thick client, or a hub of some sort, but there is almost no reason to have a GUI that requires communication with all of your units at once just to make a volume or mapping.

For how long have I used the solution?

Almost five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had one FC port on one of the 17 units that we have had which has given us particular consistency issues. We suspect an issue in the XIV module itself, but given that there are 24 ports on each unit, it's not a giant concern.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Historically, there has been no way to expand beyond the maximum provided in a single rack, so using SVC was required.

How are customer service and technical support?

Good, though not much tech support has been needed.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

DS8000 and ESS. Cost was significantly higher on the DS platform, and the management was much more complex.

How was the initial setup?

Provided power and networking connections are in existence prior to equipment arrival, we can have one of these units receiving data within a couple hours of placement on the datacenter floor.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Never pay face value. There is always a discount. Also, if you are a mostly-blue shop, the discounts get super deep. If you are going to use the product behind an SVC, IBM will price the units lower, since you are likely not to use any of the advanced copy services.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were pretty tied to IBM, so only DS units. Lately, we have been considering the V-series units, as well.

What other advice do I have?

The product is exceptionally reliable and very easy to manage.

It's a solid, mature product. However, there are indications that IBM is not looking to extend the product range, but rather is pushing people toward its new A9000 platforms, which can be tied together with XIV-like functionality.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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