VxRail Review

Good managed updates, great hyper-converged storage and very stable

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for general computing. We have everything on it and anything that's licensed is on it. We have our file servers, database servers, applications servers, web servers, etc., on it. Anything that fits on it basically.

How has it helped my organization?

We were able to commission an old center and provide more computing to the environment.

What is most valuable?

I like the managed updates. They are really nice in VxRail. Everything comes packaged and the updates are much easier than with other solutions that I've had to work with. 

The fact that it's presenting you validated the design. Anything through the update manager will be guaranteed to work as VMware is integrated into the hardware side of it as well to validate that the patches that they're providing will work. There's less risk there. 

The storage, the hyper-converged storage, is a nice boon. We have a sort of isolated storage from our main sandbox so that we can put things on there if the sandbox is having problems or it's basically another fault domain. It's another place where things can be protected. 

What needs improvement?

The requirements need improvement. Some of the managers of VMs are a little sensitive to where they need to be placed in the environment and what names they need to have. I would like a little more control over that so that it fits into our naming scheme and it fits our organizational structure within vSphere. That's cosmetic, however. It's not a functional problem. It's just slightly disorganized. We have to put exceptions into our rules in order to check our rules.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for less than six months. I don't remember the exact day, things have been blending together. I recall that it was right at the start of the pandemic. That was when our order was supposed to come in and things got delayed. We got it sometime over the summer.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. We haven't had any issues. We don't suffer from bugs or glitches and it doesn't crash or freeze. It's good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not needed to scale up. It is less than six months old, so we have not needed to scale it, however, I have scaled other VSN clusters and it was easy.

My department is kind of interesting. We are the central IT provider for the university, we provide IT services for other IT departments. I can't actually answer how many people are on the solution at any given time. We're essentially an MSP for on campus, but that's sort of our role. Therefore, I am so far removed from what the end-user is doing with it. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't had a need to call tech support. One of my coworkers has, and it seemed to go well. I was not the one who took lead on that call. I can't advise on if they are knowledgeable or responsive. I don't have direct experience.

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

We also have a pair of Nutanix clusters and we didn't switch from it. They're running concurrently. They run different workloads. We wanted to make sure that a false in one hyper-converged did not bring down all of our environment. We wanted to make sure that we were not putting all of our eggs in one basket.

Our Nutanix runs some of our core services. Things that can never go down. That is why we have a pair of Nutanix clusters. They're essentially isolated from everything else. They don't rely on stories. I didn't realize they have their own hosts. They are as isolated as they can be from the rest of the environment so that a fault in one environment won't bring down everything.

How was the initial setup?

As part of a VxRail deployment, you have to get professional services. It's an assisted install. I have experience with all of the components of VxRail. In terms of the VSN, the hyper-converged, some of my coworkers did not. That actually was a learning experience for them. They were able to learn from the documentation and that made it easier, however, it was still a learning curve. That was the only difficult part in terms of implementation -  the learning curve.

What other advice do I have?

We're just a customer.

We're running an ESX 6.7. We're running the latest version of VxRail manager, but we're not running the latest version of ESX or V share. It can do for us. We want other people to find the bugs first.

My advice to other companies is to learn and ask lots of questions. Make sure that you understand the solution at the outset. Make sure the networking team is solid. Any hyper-converged solution like VxRail should rely on the network more than a traditional environment. You need to make sure your networking team is involved from the beginning.

I would rate the solution eight out of ten. VSN has come a long way, which is what the shell is based on for storage and the rest of the components are standard vSphere. You manage everything through the same vSphere interface. You're not using a different interface and it's fairly easy to maintain when you have problems. If you have problems, you will need to call tech support. They will have to walk you through it because it is a new thing for most people. That's why I recommend learning about the solution straight away.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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