If you were talking to someone whose organization is considering Dell EMC Unity XT, what would you say?
How would you rate it and why? Any other tips or advice?
It's a good idea to add some features to this storage such as better integration with container-based services.
Everything is becoming virtual. Then, cloud transformation is being considered right now. Everybody is going over there. We want to evaluate everything, and if the cloud solution is good for us, we'll go there. Everything will be in the cloud.
Overall, it is good product. If you are doing asynchronous replication, this is a great solution. If you are looking for a synchronous replication solution, I would recommend PowerMax.
I would rate the product an eight out of ten, which is higher than I would rate other arrays in the mid-range space.
We don't use the cloud options.
Research the other products that Dell EMC offers, as there is a wide variety.
It does what it needs to do that is the reason why we bought it. We are not interested in the cloud option.
Find out your needs before you look at your options. Everyone's going to tell you theirs is the best but you need to know what you need going in, and what kind of performance level you need. If they're not willing to do a PoC then don't do it. If they're not willing to put their product out there and compare it with another product, then don't even consider them. I would give it an eight out of ten. It has some deduplication to try to reduce some of the overlap that VMs, by nature, have. But I feel that could be better to try to save on storage. Also, better reclaimed-space management on it would be nice. Reclaimed space on virtual systems can be a pain to manage sometimes.
It is lightning fast, low on power and heat, and has a small footprint with great performance. If you don't know your mixed use case, or what you're going to do with it, it's a nice mixed use storage subsystem. It easily integrates with great visibility. It is very easy to maintain and operate. It is just a nice platform, especially if you're setting yourself in a new direction and you don't quite know what you're doing.
I give the solution an eight out of ten because it meets our use case very well. But it's an eight because nothing is perfect. There is always room for improvement, whether that be in the UI or something else.
The product has met all our expectations. Take a closer look at the price per gigabyte and the performance that you are getting with the solution.
My advice is to take this solution. It does what it tells you it's going to do. Instead of using multiple types of backup or file storage, we were trying to combine all of that into Unity. Now we're trying to refresh that again and go with the newer technology, the enterprise-level storage. Unity met our overall performance expectations for what it is, and then we obviously needed the enterprise level, so we're going with the PowerMax now. I would rate Unity at eight out of ten. Any application or product has room for improvement. I don't see anything out there that's a ten. Unity is functional for what it needs to be.
If you're looking for a cost-effective, easy to use solution, which has scalability on a small-to-medium deployment, Unity is a very good solution for this. We are planning to use replication very soon, and we do use snapshots. We've been very happy.
Do the due diligence and look at the details: the specs of the product and scalability. There are multiple series of products in the Unity line, which are very simple to use. It's met all of our expectations. Our users don't have any technical needs because it's up and running. Overall, we are very excited about the product.
Unity is solid and there is not anything to be afraid of in purchasing it. I would recommend it. Ours is not a very complicated use case and the performance has been adequate for what we've tasked it to do. I give the Unity a ten out of ten for two reasons: * reliability * ease of use.
It's a really good buy. We're about to replace a VNX with a Unity in our DR facility. We love that it's only taking about half a rack of space versus the rack-and-a-half that we have for the VNX. That's really good. We're going to be doing SAN to SAN replication. We currently have that going on between the Unity and the VNX using RecoverPoint Appliances, but then it's going to be Unity to Unity after we're done. I'm very happy with the Unity right now.
Weigh your options. The landscape has changed a lot since we bought it, it's been a couple of years. It's a good product but you will certainly want to survey the landscape. The most important criteria when choosing a vendor include the longevity of the product, certainly ongoing support as well. I've got a good relationship with Dell EMC, we like the product. If I'm not mistaken it was based on the VNX platform; it's basically an all-flash version. We had some familiarity with it and the all-flash piece was very compelling. I would rate it at eight out of ten. There are just a few features that we'd like to see at that price point. But generally, it has been pretty stable.
If it's a value for your company then I'd recommend it. For us, it was expensive, but it was of value to us. However, I wouldn't go through that again. We are targeting hyperconverged now, as opposed to converged. It was a bit overwhelming. From the VCE perspective, the individual Vblocks were very well executed, but they didn't seem to know the VPLEX product very well, and that was nail-biting.
I always recommend Dell EMC servers in general, as far as their reliability goes and the management software built in. I rate it at nine out of ten. Overall, we're very happy with the product. It's not perfect, there are little bits of improvement that could be made to things that we use such as Dell EMC OpenManage Essentials, minor things. It's good, just not perfect.
Spec it out with bigger drives than you think you will need, because when you do expand, you're going to wish you had done that. If you buy bigger drives than what you currently have in a RAID, now you have to have a separate data storage. You can't have one continuous data store. For some people, that might be okay, but we really didn't want that but we were forced into having that. We do integrate with vSphere. We tried Hyper-V and immediately regretted that decision and went back to vSphere. Right now, that is the only utilization and there are costs involved with the VMware integraton. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: * Reliability * The willingness to make it right when something goes wrong.
Make sure you have all your ducks in a row when you finish. Make sure they understand the type of support that you want, make sure the licensing is clear, make sure it has all the features you want. The purchasing process was actually incredibly easy. We had a vendor to go through. She was able to clear everything up. When we were trying to look at it ourselves, it was a little bit convoluted. But once we had her help explain it through, it became easier. They have a good product. It's great for what it does. The surrounding pieces are where everything gets tricky.
It really depends on your specific needs: if it's speed or if it's longterm storage. Dell EMC has a whole array of products. I would say go for it. We used to push the Isilon a lot, that's super cheap and deep, and that's been rock solid as well, but you lose that block functionality. You really need to go to the Unity. I would definitely do the Unity over the SC. It was pretty easy to order. We got rezoned when Dell took over, so our sales rep is out of a different state. But, as far as going through our partner, it was perfectly fine, like any other normal purchase. I would rate the Unity at about seven out of ten, once the bugs were fixed. To be a ten it would need native replication.
Ownership simplicity is there. Licensing was straightforward. We've always had good support from Dell EMC, we've never had a problem with them. Their solution engineers are always very helpful. So overall, no problems with ownership. I give the Unity a nine out of ten. The Help files and a little more integration would be nice.
In terms of the purchase process, we work with a rep. We have biweekly meetings. They're always on site. We worked with the Dell EMC sales engineer, making sure we got the right kind of drives, the right kind of performance, etc.
A piece of advice when it comes to research is to try to find another company that's using what you're considering. After you talk to the salespeople, after you get the dog and pony show, have them connect you with somebody who's using it, who they trust - maybe even someone you know or have some contact with - and get their thoughts about it. You usually get a lot more truth from those kinds of conversations.
If a friend or colleague was using the equipment that we were using beforehand, we'd definitely tell them to transition over because it is a lot easier to use. I'd rate it about a nine out of ten. It's smooth, has been an easy transition, the interface is a lot easier than the one we were working with. The setup was easy and we haven't had any problems with it. Of course, it's not perfect, but it's really good equipment.
So far, it has done everything that they say, in demos, it will do. I cannot stress enough how simple and easy it is to set up and use and manage. That's it. Regarding simplicity of ownership, everything that we've experienced so far has been very easy to deal with. We already have a Dell EMC rep who handles all of our licensing and notifications, keeping us up to date on that. Management of it and service have been very positive, nice and simple. It was also very easy to order. We have had a relationship with our Dell EMC reps in Kansas City for the last 12 years, so getting in touch with them, having them come out and demo the product as best they could, and then getting us the pricing, getting it delivered - everything was very simple. I rate the Unity at eight out of ten. I don't think it's possible for it to be ten. They'd have to have someone from Dell EMC show up and do my job for me to get it to a ten.
It's a good product and you should definitely evaluate it. We're concerned about standardization, so even if a product has something that's better - one item, one capability that's better - we probably wouldn't go with it and would rather standardize across, for support and everything else. That's important to us. For the purchasing process, we'll go to the vendor, we'll give them our requirements, and we'll work out the final design. They'll give us a quote and then we'll get two more quotes from two other vendors. We're required to get three quotes. I then put that in through my finance and then it goes through contracting. Contracting goes out and they get the true quote. And then, once the equipment is purchased, it comes directly to me onsite. I rate the solution an eight out of ten. Improving the interface for managing it would help make it a ten.
Test it really well first, and get somebody who knows what they're doing to set it up. The VAR that we were referred to was terrible. That was the root of a lot of our problems. If we didn't have the problems that we had with it - all the problems that I highlighted above - it would be definitely a ten out of ten. But given those problems, and the fact that one of them has been going on for two years and we still don't have a solution, and the Unity is the only factor that changed in the environment...
I would definitely recommend Unity because, compared to VNX and other storage solutions, it is the easiest way to deploy for VMware and physical operating system services. Regarding ownership, it is very easy. It's a single point of contact. We have the type of support from Dell EMC where, in case of any failure, we get an immediate response from them. For the purchasing process, we just validate the bill of materials and then we reach out to the Dell EMC salesperson to get it delivered to our data center. We are working on the vSphere integration. Once that integration is done we will easily be able to do everything on the vSphere console.
I would definitely recommend it and have recommended it. We're pretty large, but I think for most companies it probably is the array that's going to work the best, especially for a VM workload. If you don't want to invest in a VMAX, this makes a lot of sense. It fits that price profile really well. It's an entry-level, all-flash array for us. So stuff that we don't want to go on VMAX or XtremIO, we can put right on the Unity and feel pretty comfortable that it's going to do what we need it to do, as far as performance goes. Unity falls right in, with it being the successor to the VNX line. It works great, has a very simple interface that we're comfortable with, so it's a good product for us. In terms of the purchasing process, we have a pretty good sized environment, so we work with our dedicated team. They knew that this was going to perform the way we wanted. We had a spot where we needed some VNX replacement and this was the logical choice. It was very easy. My rating of eight out of ten would get to a ten if it had throttled replication.
Study the configurations of what you need to use and ensure you understand what you're provisioning. The procurement process can be a little daunting because there are a lot of features and there are a lot of components that you'll get set up with but which you may not need. When selecting a vendor, what's important for me are global, 24-hour support; being able to get things fixed. After that, price, because we'll probably buy a thousand of them over time.
We integrate the solution with VMware. There have been some cost involved with this. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: the relationship.
When we were purchasing the product, we didn't have a capital budget for it. I sat down with my boss (the COO), and went over upcoming projects. We looked over the dollar values and if they fit. If it does fit, we do it. We went with the VAR that sold Dell EMC in our city and from there it was done. This made it very easy. If it fits your budget, do it. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: brand and support reputation.
Vet out your use case sufficiently, make sure you understand what you are trying to achieve and how you are trying to achieve it. Do your best to leverage the gambit of functionality, as opposed to focusing on one area. I rate it at eight out of ten. The best would be no issues, no concerns. I can't imagine I'd give anyone a ten, to be honest. To achieve that is pretty hard. I wouldn't not recommend Unity.
My advice is, obviously, to go with something tailored to your needs. For what this has been, a full flash array and ease of setup, from what I've had experience with, I would probably recommend the Unity array. We plan to eventually use the VMware integration. There is a little bit that we're using right now but it's not the whole vSAN setup. I don't believe there will be a cost involved with that. It's just a matter of taking the time and getting it set up. Right now, we just have it set up as a simple SAN array. Nothing is ever perfect. It would have to be perfect to be a ten out of ten, but this is probably as close as we've been to perfect, so that's good.
The purchasing process was uncomplicated. We went through a third-party reseller who has a relationship with Dell. They know the product well, so they specialize in it. We gave them our needs and they were able to recommend the appropriate solution to Dell, the sizing, etc. This helped us out. We can sleep at night because the support is great.
Each solution is dependent on the use case so it's really hard to give advice without knowing the exact use case the person is trying to fill. But we're very happy with Unity. I rate it at nine out of ten. If they added dedupe, that would get me to a ten.
Dell EMC has been around for a long time. Owning VMware is a big plus. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: * Support long-term * Longevity * Cost is always an issue.
As for advice to someone who is interested in this type of solution, I would simply say, "Talk to so and so, because that's what they do, and have fun." We use it across the board. So if someone needs a Unity for their project and they want their own SAN for some reason, they just have to go through the approval process. There's no fight to buying a Unity, because again, from an ROI perspective, no one argues. In terms of the buying process, I'll start with getting a quote. I find it's pretty easy, mainly because I worked as a consultant, so I actually would build those BOMs (bills of materials); the pre-quote build. For me, it's super easy - because I've done that career-wise - to build a BOM for a SAN, Unity, or otherwise. Typically you have your BOM. And from the BOM you get your quote. From the quote you get your invoice. The BOM is the first step. You get your approvals, that this is the configuration I want. So it is easy for me but not necessarily for your "Joe Average" person, for the rest of the storage guys. Their typical response is, "Okay, I need a new Unity with these IOPs and this capacity. Go." And they just have our partner, through whom we buy this stuff, build the BOM. The partner sends it to us and says, "Hey, this is what we're doing for you." We say, "Okay, it looks great." And it moves forward. The struggle is after you get past that point, on our side, where it goes through our approval, what we call the CAR process. That's where it takes some time. That's not necessarily a Dell EMC issue or even an issue with our partner. That's an internal logistics and political issue. I would rate this solution at eight out of 10 because, at the end of the day, it is an old-school SAN. It really doesn't take advantage of any of the modern-day advances in SAN technology.
Unity is a lot like "no one gets fired for buying IBM." I think you will get what you pay for, but a lot of competitors have better efficiencies, better programs, easier installations. I'd be looking elsewhere. I don't feel the product is the leader in the market anymore. I rate the Unity at eight out of ten. It gets the job done, it does it well, I can rely on it. It's just not cutting-edge in any way right now. To get to a ten, as I said, the upgrade process needs improvement. I should be able to swap it out, with zero downtime, with another array, down the road. I don't think Dell EMC has anything in the roadmap for this product line. I just don't want to have to deal with that anymore, and all of our customers feel pretty much the same.
Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: good support and fair price.
I've had so many nightmares with so many other arrays, but I have no complaints with Dell EMC Unity at this time. It is a workhorse and will run even demanding workloads.
Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: * Reliability * Price.
Make sure to shop around to make absolutely 100% certain that it is what you want. You will want to come back to this particular model. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: * Pricing * Knowledge: They know what they are talking about. * Aggressiveness: Are they vested in the pricing and product?
It's going to be hard for Dell EMC to really rebuild Unity because Unity, in my opinion, is still a more traditional array. Although they've improved the code, there's only so much they can do, because it's based on technology that's over ten years old. So, for them to make it more next-generation would be difficult. You're getting a tried and true product and you're slapping feature sets on top of it, which is good, but it's not going to be a true next-generation product. And that's okay, it's intended for a certain use case and it works well. It's better than an average product but it's not a "godsend" product.
It's a good product. We use the product with VMware, and also use it with Syft for home directory and departmental shares. Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: * Support. * How long the company has existed. * Is it an established company and product? * Performance.
If you're looking at a flash-based system, one that you want to work and not to have to play around with it - to be sure it's working all the time - Unity is definitely a step in the right direction for any company, going forward. In terms of the purchasing process, we came from the EMC side. It was our first branch into flash after using EMC for so long. It's worked flawlessly, so we have no issues there. I rate this solution at eight out of ten. Nothing's perfect. It's very hard to make something perfect. Being an eight, it's a really good model for any company to choose. It's a realistic metric to put against something, rather than saying it's perfect.
Do a little research into how you will create your storage groups. Ensure they have all lined out prior to going in and making one single storage group take up all the hard drives which we've seen some individuals do before and have to break it back down and start over. Definitely manage out what you want to place on the SSDs or on that Unity for your quickest response time. We've made sure that all of our high availability productions devices are on the Unity. We have Hyper-V and VMware running on the Unity. We have moved Exchange off into Exchange Online onto the cloud. We did most of the integrations in-house. The big thing that we have done on it is running SQL Server. We have quite a few different SQL Server instances running on the SSDs.
Do your homework. Obtain all the use cases. See what license you need and purchase the license as part of your preparation. Then, the process will be smooth. We do integration with vSphere, but it is very limited because we outsource with IBM.
My advice is: Stay up to date on code. Regarding the purchasing process, we went through a VAR and it was easy. Once pricing was established, the bill of materials was defined, we paid for the product, and it showed up. In terms of important criteria when selecting a vendor, from an executive perspective, it's partnership. From my team's perspective, it's probably * usability * performance * stability. I want it up, I want it to stay up, and I don't want to have to manage it. I would rate the solution at eight out of 10. It's not an all-flash array so it's not the fastest thing on the market. But the stability has been good, minus the initial bug. It does what we ask of it.
My advice is to follow the installation guide, it's pretty straightforward, step-by-step. In terms of the purchasing process, after we had figured out what we wanted, it became easy. But we had to get into our first set of standards. The first one that we ordered had the SFP module cards in it, which we didn't need. We just use the 10-gigabit copper. After figuring out our standard template, it has become super simple every time. What I look for when selecting a vendor to work with is somebody who * is big * guarantees their product * has good support; somebody who is going to answer their phone 24/7. So far, I rate the Unity a nine out of 10. It has been easy to set up, we've only had a few small issues. Once they're set up, they're running, you don't have to touch them. The one point I held back is because we're new to them. The version we're using is the 300 and it's also new out there so there has been a little bit of a struggle here and there with some small things; for example, the fans ramping up and we have one right now that's not responding after updates. It fits what we're trying to do. It has everything and more. There are some features that we're not even using yet.
Find out what your use case is. Look at it across the board. Dell EMC has been good to us as a customer.
My advice would be to use their support. If you bought it, have them come onsite, have them help you set it up, make sure you get comfortable with it. If you bought the support have someone come onsite. It's like free training. Don't wing it.
The hardware is fine, a nine or a 10 out of 10. Manageability is a seven or eight out of 10, because of the storage group and the domain absence. Overall, if I put the two together, the solution is a nine out of 10. My advice would be to stick with VNX. If the developers come up with a solution for single sign-on for multiple Unity's, and if they bring back the storage groups, I'm fine with it. It's a good solution.