VxRail Review

Dual power capabilities take up a quarter of the energy than we were using before which equals savings every month


What is our primary use case?

I use VxRail in my DR site, so it houses my virtual infrastructure. I also use it for storage.

How has it helped my organization?

One way VxRail has improved my organization is in the way that I am now able to replicate the virtual because I'm using vSAN. I use the code point for VMware. I'm able to replicate my Unity appliance in my production environment to the vSAN which I wasn't able to do when I was using the older solution. I can replicate my production servers into the vSAN which is in the VxRail using the recover points of a VM. That's a great improvement. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the fact that the storage is integrated with the VxRail so I don't have to go in between systems when I have to monitor my storage.

The second valuable feature would be the space. Because they're all combined I save a lot of space when it comes to the rack. I was able to consolidate two racks into one and the one is only used in about half a rack. The storage and the VMware servers are all in the same infrastructure.

What needs improvement?

If they can improve the HTML client that would be great because the HTML client is a lot more responsive. It's a lot smoother than the flash that it comes with and flash updates every minute and every time flash updates I can't open my web client. You should update and make sure the HTML client works. If it does then you have a product that gives you an excellent 9.5/10 from most vendors with no problem.

Everybody complains that for 6.5 and 6.7 there's no desktop client for V7. Everyone misses the desktop client. I don't like the web client. If they can bring back the desktop client for the next release of the VxRail that would be great.

For how long have I used the solution?

Over two and half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution itself is pretty stable. We've been using it for about two and a half years and I don't think it has ever gone down.

The only issue which is every now and again is that when you log in it will tell you that there's an issue with VxRail when there actually isn't. All that's required is a refresh or reload. The solution itself works but you may get some bad reports every now and again. Probably once every couple of months; there is no effect to the solution's capabilities. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is pretty good. Currently, we are looking at expanding. We're down to 50 terabytes and we plan on bringing on a lot more storage. We're speaking to Dell EMC. We need to buy another add-on and we can expand, it won't take on a lot more space. With a few more drives it will be huge. It's pretty scalable; it's going to grow with no problem.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have used technical support several times. I have two tickets open right now. They are usually pretty responsive. They know how to grasp and gather information. They do a lot of back and forth emailing. Sometimes I have to request a Webex so I can see what's happening. They tend to go back and forth for days.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

Before VxRail we used the VNX system, which is old technology with a lot more discs. We were looking to consolidate space. We're off-site, so we have a couple of racks and we were running out of space. We needed something that would compact everything, so we started looking around. We looked at XtremIO. Then we looked into using VMware, and they have this solution that integrates with the storage, VxRail, which is VMware and vSAN. We decided to try it out. We took a look and figured we already use the product, we already have a million things with Dell EMC so we thought it would be easier just to keep going with Dell EMC. The integration purchase went smoothly. We negotiated a reasonable price, and then after that, we set it up and its been going for the last two and a half years without any issues.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. Once the storage was up, EMC did the actual deployment, configuring, and setting up the initial part of it and then the reseller took over and did the more advanced configuration. 

Deployment took a week to get everything set up with EMC, deployed, powered on and configured. Then the reseller took over and did all the migration and more complex tasks.

What about the implementation team?

We used a reseller for the initial deployment. The deployment was good. It took around a month to get everything up and running. Then we had to copy the data from the old storage to the new one. That didn't take too long.

What was our ROI?

We have seen a return on our investment. We see it mainly in the fact that we are saving money in space and storage. We can use two and a half racks for something else, and we haven't had to replace discs which cost money. We also cut down on power consumption because now we have an empty rack that isn't powered on. Before we had VNX in two of them and you have to plug those into a power source. Power in those data centers isn't cheap and the fact that VxRail is dual power, it takes up probably a quarter of the energy than we were using before. That's a saving every month. We haven't had to replace it. We haven't had to fix it. We haven't had to do anything that has cost us any money.

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

We pay yearly for support. The cost was justified by now because it stays up and I don't have to constantly open tickets. I probably rebooted the system once or twice. We haven't replaced any discs in the storage, we haven't had to do any disc replacements, so it just runs. You pay a little more but you cut down on the maintenance. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated XtremIO which is also a Dell EMC product. We chose this because of the integration with VxRail. It integrates the vSAN and VMware and that was the big selling point, the fact that we could run our own vCenter right off of the storage. We know the support and we know what they are going to give us.

I evaluated for a storage increase and it's an add-on whereas with VxRail it is built in and I'm not adding on anything. It's built for both V7 and the vSAN; it works well doing both things. 

What other advice do I have?

On a scale from one to ten, with one being the worst and ten being the best I would give VxRail a solid nine. It's not something that has disappointed. Every time they have a release it's a new version and there are more features added. 

To make it a perfect ten they should improve the HTML client. There's an HTML client that works well in the web client since you don't have the desktop client. It works better than flash, and if they improve that, they might get a 10. Other than that, the product hardware is pretty good. 

I would tell someone considering this solution that it is a product to look over. You can test other solutions like Pure Storage and XtremIO. The fact that VxRail integrates with VMware gives it an edge. 

In my other office, I run VMware by itself and I use Unity which is another Dell product. We are thinking about turning our Unity and VMware into a VxRail, combining and saving space and storage. It's not the cheapest solution but sometimes cheaper is not always better. It's a solution that if you pay for it, you don't have to look at it again. I can't tell you the last time I got an alert.

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