VxRail Review

Great performance, easy to scale, fairly stable, and very useful for scale-out upgrades

What is our primary use case?

It is used for server virtualization. Most of my work is around server virtualization. There has been a lot of interest lately in virtual desktop interfaces but not much is happening there. Most of the customers come for server virtualization. They generally have three-tier architecture running VMware vSphere, and they are looking to upgrade their technology for different reasons, such as performance or hardware being the end of life. Our customers are mostly using the new versions of this solution.

What is most valuable?

There are so many features, but if I have to choose, I would go for scale-out upgrades and performance.

Scale-out upgrades are very valuable. Typically, when customers engage in virtualization, they're committing themselves to run many virtual machines on a fewer number of hosts. They'll have five or six hosts, and they will run all their virtualization on vSphere. They could be having anywhere from 50 to 100 or even more virtual machines. Once all these go into production, getting downtime or getting planned maintenance windows is extremely difficult. It is something that typically businesses will frown upon. With VxRail, you can just go ahead and add a node without disrupting the existing environment, which works very well. That's why scale-out upgrades are a key feature.

Its performance is also valuable. It delivers a very high number of IOPS for a hybrid configuration or an all-flash configuration. The processors that are available in the Xeon family are very powerful. They are multi-core with typically 2 gigahertz, 2.4 gigahertz, or higher frequency, so the performance is very much appreciated.

What needs improvement?

It would be nice if its installation can be simplified, but it is currently not too bad.

They can provide deduplication and compression in hybrid configurations. To the best of my knowledge, these features are not there, and it would be nice if these are added. Some of its competitors already have these features, so it will help VxRail to have a better feature set and compete more effectively.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been off and on working with VxRail for more than three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is fairly stable. There are no showstoppers as such.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is easy to scale, but typically, it involves adding more nodes. So, there is an investment from the customer side. They have to have the budget for it, and then scalability is not an issue.

We are focused on all segments. Some of our customers start off with something as small as a three-node cluster, and we also have large enterprise customers who start off with 10 or 12 nodes.

How are customer service and technical support?

I don't interact with their technical support.

How was the initial setup?

Its installation can be a little complex, but it is not bad. If you plan it well and stay in touch with the customer about requirements, it is not difficult. For an implementation project, it is a standard practice for us to work very closely with the customer. It is definitely not as complicated as deploying a three-tier architecture with SAN storage, SAN switches, and those kinds of things.

In terms of maintenance, it usually requires version upgrades. When a VxRail cluster is already in production and in use, these things are discussed very deeply with the customer, and whether to go for an upgrade or skip it is decided based on the consultation with the customer. It depends on a whole lot of things, and the customer is the key in deciding such things. You have to consider the following:

  • What is the business cycle at that point in time?
  • What is the workload on the virtual machine?
  • Is this the right time to carry out the upgrade?
  • Is the upgrade really necessary?
  • Is the upgrade going to impact any of their applications?

What other advice do I have?

I would definitely recommend VxRail. If you have a heavy investment in VMware software infrastructure, it is definitely useful.

I would rate VxRail an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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