I feel this is a tie between two features. VCE’s secret sauce is their release compatibility matrix which allows us to deploy updates without the need for significant testing. The second is the Cisco UCS platform which allows a simple and easy way to manage all of our compute.
Improvements to My Organization
In the past the server team would spend weeks downloading and testing interoperability with different versions of firmware on the servers, switches, fabric, and storage to get the most up to date and bug free operations. Now VCE gives us basically a menu of firmware versions and we can upgrade to the latest version and interoperability is guaranteed.
Room for Improvement
The VCE Vision product definitely needs some improvement as it is not as easy to use as other commercial off the shelf software. There is a lot of configuration that needs to be done from the Linux command line. Hopefully in the future all configuration can be done from an HTML5 webpage. Also, each Vblock needs its own Vision appliance which gets cumbersome when you own many Vblocks. The ability to use a pair of HA vision servers to manage multiple Vblocks would be helpful
Use of Solution
The first Vblock 720 was installed in 2014. Currently we have two Vblock 720 models, each with two XtremIO bricks. They are connected with a vplex metro cluster. We also own multiple Vblock 100s for remote office computing.
We have expanded the capacity of our existing systems numerous times without issue.
Customer Service and Technical Support
Extremely good. We usually receive on shore support when we have issues, which is always a plus as there is no “lost in translation” issues that can occur with some offshore support models.
It was very straightforward, we filled out a spreadsheet called a logical configuration survey which contains all of our integration information and the Vblock arrived configured and ready to be plugged in.
We used VCE professional services for all of our installations. The team is very easy to work with and extremely reliable.
The cost of the system really comes down to the discount you are receiving from VMware, Cisco, and EMC. If you deal with these vendors on a regular basis you will better understand the cost of a complete solution.