Reduxio [EOL] Review

Intuitive graphical interface makes it easy to operate, and the "time machine" Snapshotting enables us to roll back to any point in time

What is our primary use case?

We use it with one of our VMware clusters, so file shares is one of the biggest, heaviest uses. It's basically the primary SAN data storage behind one of our data centers.

How has it helped my organization?

The biggest improvement, and most visible from the technical standpoint, where my group is the system administration group, is it's just easier to operate. It has a very intuitive interface, it integrates more smoothly with our steps. With a different product from a different manufacturer, there are a lot more steps required to set up a volume, to make it available in VMware and to utilize it there.

It has been very easy. We were shown it once and it is a very intuitive graphical interface that makes a lot of sense, which makes it obviously easy to operate.

What is most valuable?

We used, and still use, another SAN product in our other data center. We like the way the Reduxio is designed, the way the managing/operating end is just so much easier; fewer steps, more intuitive steps. It has a number of features baked into it that, in other products, are additional licensed components, like compression and dedupe.

The biggest one, and one of the reasons we use it with the file shares, is its continuous Snapshotting. We can go back to almost to any point in time, not only to last night at midnight or a week ago, but 10 minutes ago or three-hours-and-so-many-seconds, or whatever the case may be. We already had a brush with ransomware in the past, so it's good to know we can dial back to just before a mishap happens.

What needs improvement?

Some of the things that needed improvement have been already been worked on. When we first got it, it was a fantastic stand-alone unit but didn't have a lot of the converged features that are now present, nor the whole clustering capability, where you have more than one in data centers and they replicate. You can recover very easily and very quickly.

Much of what we needed has come to it. I haven't really had the time to think of what would be the nice next improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far for us, it has been stable. It is the kind of product that it either works or it doesn't. You know right away in a lot of cases.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't had the need yet to scale. We were aware of some of the limitations in the early incarnations of the product but, from what I've been told from the upgrade notices, release notes, etc., a lot of these capabilities have been implemented and released to the public. I don't anticipate any scalability issues, definitely not in the timeframe that we'll be ready for scaling.

How are customer service and technical support?

The sales team is very well versed and educated in the product. I suggested to them they may want to become a little more educated about competitive products so that they can better highlight the differences and the advantages. Regarding the technical team - we were privileged to get to talk to some of the developers and other people who are rarely accessible - I have, perhaps, a more favorable view than a lot of people might, because generally people don't get to talk to key developers of the product they're buying.

Their tech support is very, very good. Now, obviously, that has a little to do with the company scale. I don't imagine they will be able to provide the same, almost personalized, level of service they do today when, at some point, they have hundreds of thousands of customers. But, right now, the sales engineers, installation, sales, tech support, engineers have a pretty good grasp of the customer. You know who to contact, when to follow up, how to follow up. It has been fantastic. 

Way back in the beginning when we were just starting, I think I had one or two technical questions. It was not difficult to get a hold of them and get them answered. On the flip side, with proactive monitoring, they are really good. We were doing some maintenance on our data center one day so the unit lost connectivity, the ability to call home. They made sure to track me down and verify that it wasn't anything malfunctioning in the unit.

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

We still have the other solution. We've had one for many years, long before Reduxio came on the scene, and we have been enhancing and upgrading that one. We are big enough to need more than one data center, and when looking how to enhance and build out the second data center, an opportunity presented itself, and that's when we deployed the Reduxio. So, we really haven't replaced anything yet, for some of the reasons I elsewhere in this review, with the whole funding scenario.

At that same time, when we were working on the data center, my other SAN product, also monitored, sent a notice, an email, that we had had a disruption, many hours after the fact. After all the services were restored, no one from the other company made any proactive effort to find out what was going on. That is just one of the differences.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was not complicated. It was less than two hours from everything in boxes to everything online, and the Reduxio team did most of the work. It really was a very pleasant experience having it said up.

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

I'm not sure what the current pricing is. We definitely got a good value at the time. I know that we were still among the early adopters. Between that and our non-commercial status, they extended really fantastic pricing to us. For us, it was a great value.

The licensing is very simple with Reduxio. It is actually one of the attractions, unlike some of the other products. The other product we're using, in some of its incarnations, has extremely complex pricing, with every spindle having an associated license and fees. With Reduxio it's very simple. For the box - the hardware comes in essentially one configuration for the chassis, the unit (and you can buy multiple units and daisy-chain them) - there is no "a-la-carte," so many drives of this kind or that kind, etc. It has a basic hardware configuration. Then, through the software license, they allocate or assign you the right to use the full capacity, or half of it, or a quarter of it. Of course, if you're not using the full capacity but need to, it is a simple phone call to upgrade. It's as simple as it gets.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

As I said, we have a different product in-house, and the parent company of that product actually owns a few others. I've been to a number of trade shows and seen yet more competitors and have been getting calls from them. This one, Reduxio, stood out for a number of reasons, particularly the way it operates and the features set, the whole continuous Snapshotting, and having the inherent backups; being able to recover more easily and lose less data should something untoward happen.

What other advice do I have?

In terms of my first impression of Reduxio, and whether it has changed over time, the answer is "yes and no." The yes part is that there are new features that have arrived with the product that weren't there when we first looked at it, when we first purchased it. We actually asked them if they were on the horizon or being planned. The changes were all positive. Now there is the clustering capability, the mirroring which didn't exist some time ago. But, we haven't found any faults or shortcomings that we didn't know about. If anything, like I said, they've eliminated a number of them that existed when we first started looking.

A lot of people use the expression "revolutionary technology" excessively, but most of the data storage SANs have been very similar, very consistent in their feature sets and approaches. The individual algorithms may vary, or what code they started with under the hood, but in principle, they are very similar. Reduxio is the first one to introduce some pretty big - I'd say radical - changes. Just about every other product I looked at, the compression and dedupe are an afterthought. They're optional. You can have them, you can leave them out. But with Reduxio, they're part of the design, they're baked right in, they are an integral part, not something you turn on and turn off. They are a key component of how it operates. Similarly, the whole Snapshotting - they call it the time machine - is very different from the way all the other products I've looked at operate.

As for considering replacing our storage and backup with Reduxio's converged primary and secondary platform, we are a public school district, kindergarten-to-12, so funding is always a scarce commodity. So, it's something we're thinking about, we've discussed internally, but it's going to take a while, simply because we have investments in other products and we need to fully use up those investments before we will be granted funding to make a major change like that.

Regarding advice, I would say fully understand the complete feature set, the complete philosophy behind the product. On the one hand, at a very rudimentary level, it is data storage. So, obviously, it is compared with and competes against other data storage products. But it is designed very differently, with some different premises and concepts, the whole recovery aspect - whether recovering data for a virtual server that became corrupted or recovering an entire unit, from hybrid or cloud storage. 

When comparing with other solutions, you really need to understand the technological differences of this product to appreciate it. If you think about it in terms of any of the conventional SAN storage solutions, then you are left looking at only the dollars and cents. I suspect that because of the choice they've made not to tinker with the hardware too much, it might not always be competitive. I'm sure that some of the other grow-as-you-go products start cheaper, but that would be a flawed way of looking at it. When it comes to actual deployment, in my experience at least, it's been an extremely easy thing. It's very intuitive, has a very modern interface. Instead of making the user set up a million parameters for things that the system knows better anyway, they put all the intelligence in the product and made the controls much easier.

We are very excited about it. We support them wholeheartedly.

So far, in my experience, I'd give it a full 10 out of 10. We haven't had any problems or issues, and the support has been fantastic. It has been a very, very positive experience, at least so far.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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