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Dell EMC PowerFlex OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Dell EMC PowerFlex is #10 ranked solution in HCI Software. IT Central Station users give Dell EMC PowerFlex an average rating of 8 out of 10. Dell EMC PowerFlex is most commonly compared to VxRail:Dell EMC PowerFlex vs VxRail. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 37% of all views.
What is Dell EMC PowerFlex?

VxRack System consists of hyper-converged rack-scale engineered systems, with integrated networking, to achieve the scalability and management requirements of traditional and cloud native workloads. The VxRack series is purposely designed to enable customers to quickly deploy Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and/or Private Cloud architectures. VxRack Systems tightly integrate hardware with software and management layers.

The result is a fully tested, pre-configured, hyper-converged system with simplified operations at data center and Service Provider scale. VxRack Systems support the deployment of a variety of application workloads, allowing IT to rapidly deliver new services while improving overall agility and efficiency.

Dell EMC PowerFlex was previously known as VxFlex, VxRack FLEX, PowerFlex.

Buyer's Guide

Download the Hyper-Converged (HCI) Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

Dell EMC PowerFlex Customers

Canopy, 8x8Inc., Atos, Canadian Pacific, City of Denton, CenturyLink, BNP Paribas, Asyaport, EDF, CSC, Fox Sports, Insight, Hunter, KPIT, Paetec, Rosetta Stone, Sonda, Xerox

Dell EMC PowerFlex Video

Archived Dell EMC PowerFlex Reviews (more than two years old)

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KobusRas
Infrastructure Solutions Architect at a computer software company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Reseller
Top 20Leaderboard
Enables users to attach additional nodes and resources for the applications

Pros and Cons

  • "We're doing a lot of VMware for IT so this solution is really valuable from a VMH point of view. We're trying to assist our customers mainly with management, because that's what they want. The most important aspects are ease of management, as well as ease of configuration, allowing them to attach additional nodes and resources for the applications."
  • "I think there might be some room for improvement when it comes to pricing, because although I know how to convert customers, at the end of day, it's quite expensive. Sometimes your feature architecture is still coming out much cheaper than hardware costs for your infrastructure."

What is our primary use case?

At the end of the day, VxFlex is for all applications. We normally do a sizing. Then we usually look at the sizing and design it according to its outcome. It's also about applications. You can see what application requirements are.

What is most valuable?

We're doing a lot of VMware for IT so this solution is really valuable from a VM point of view. We're trying to assist our customers mainly with management because that's what they want. The most important aspects are ease of management, as well as ease of configuration, allowing them to attach additional nodes and resources for the applications.

What needs improvement?

I think there might be some room for improvement when it comes to pricing because although I know how to convert customers, at the end of the day, it's quite expensive. Sometimes your feature architecture is still coming out much cheaper than hardware costs for your infrastructure.

The guys normally say it's all about your management. If you do a feature architecture with VMware or Hypervisor with the management, you still get a lot of attitude from that as well.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using this solution for the past six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I think it's stable. If it's properly installed, you shouldn't see any issues or bugs.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable. Scalability depends on our customer. In South Africa, our enterprise may be 2,000 users, whereas small customers would be 400 to 500 users. What might be considered small to you, is a medium sized customer for us.

From a maintenance point of view, we normally recommend customers to get a three-year warranty for maintenance and support. Then we know that they're covered and that they will get all the latest and greatest firmware. I normally sell additional man hours to assist the customers as well. That is just to assist by doing health checks on a regular basis for them. I normally sell about eight hours. It all depends on the customer's knowledge of the products. It's between eight and sixteen hours a month, where I normally send an engineer on site to do health checks to see if everything's still fine.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not interacted with support myself, but our technical engineers have. I have heard from them that the technical support team is good and always helpful.

How was the initial setup?

Our engineers sometimes complain that it's quite complex and incongruent. You need to make sure of a lot of things. There's a lot of pre-planning that you need to do correctly. if you don't have the correct information, then you can have performance issues on your environment.

With one that we installed, the guys found out that some of the networking was not correct. It took us two weeks just to sort that one out from a networking point of view. Normally as soon as you deliver the stuff onto the customer's site and you have all the information, it can be between two to three weeks to deploy. You will get the customer up and running and he can start using it. However, you need to make sure that you have all the information.

What about the implementation team?

I have a team that provides implementation services.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure that you have all the required information and that you actually do a full assessment before you design or implement a solution. You need to make sure of this so you will get the best possible performance out of the solution. If you don't have the correct information, it's going to take you a bit longer than normal to make sure it's installed correctly and performs in the ultimate areas.

I would rate this as eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
JE
Network Administrator at Kakira Sugar
Real User
An easy initial setup, very good scalability and quite stable

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use three or four modules for the city running on a plant.

What needs improvement?

The pricing of the solution could be lower. The solution needs to offer more documentation and educational materials. It would be helpful if they could simplify the solution for those that are new to the product, so that anyone could use it quite easily.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is quite stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is very scalable. We have about 400 people using the solution currently and we do plan to incrementally increase usage by about 10% a year.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. Deployment took about two months.

What

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use three or four modules for the city running on a plant.

What needs improvement?

The pricing of the solution could be lower.

The solution needs to offer more documentation and educational materials.

It would be helpful if they could simplify the solution for those that are new to the product, so that anyone could use it quite easily.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is quite stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is very scalable. We have about 400 people using the solution currently and we do plan to incrementally increase usage by about 10% a year.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. Deployment took about two months.

What about the implementation team?

We used a consultant who helped us with the implementation.

What other advice do I have?

We use the on-premises deployment model.

I'd rate the solution eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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OlivierHupond
Activity Manager at SNEF
Real User
A good product for storage needs but the inclusion of an instrumentation feature would be helpful

Pros and Cons

  • "Perfectly suits customers dealing with the combination of future storage needs and, at the same time, keeping up their computing power."
  • "Including instrumentation would be a helpful improvement."

What is our primary use case?

I'm an activity manager and work for a company that deals with electrical installations, assisting customers with strategy and IT investments. My job is to be well-acquainted with the various technologies and assist the customer in making the right choices. Options could include hyper-convergence, mass storage, cloud solutions, or big data solutions, those sorts of choices. It's really about explaining the different technologies and options available rather than using them. I'm not an integrator.

What needs improvement?

In terms of improvements, I think it would help to have easier access to the cost of installing VxRack infrastructure.

I think including instrumentation would be a helpful improvement. This solution is a black box solution, meaning that you don't really know how it works exactly on the inside. A feature that would include that would be helpful.

What other advice do I have?

VxRack and VxRail are more or less the same solutions. VxRack is a more powerful solution than VxRail. People need to think about which technology will work for them. My opinion is that HP Hyperconvergence is a technology that perfectly suits customers dealing with the combination of future storage needs and, at the same time, keeping up their computing power. If a customer has to juggle these two, the hyper-convergence solutions are okay. It's a good solution.

If the need for computing power is more important, we suggest that they focus more on a Software-Defined Storage solution like VMware vSAN or VMware VSA. Either way, the idea is to be able to increase infrastructure with the best efficiency as companies grow. 

I would rate this product a seven out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AB
IT Analyst at a wellness & fitness company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Good integration, suitable for hyper-converged in SMB environment

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature of this solution is integration."
  • "There should be more functionality available for routing."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for this solution is hyper-converged.

We have a private cloud deployment.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of this solution is integration.

What needs improvement?

The virtual machine configuration for networking should be improved.

There should be more functionality available for routing.

I would like to see better integration with other services because it can be difficult to merge into the environment.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for about a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I think that stability is good for small and mid-level environments, but I don't think that it is suitable for high-end.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is great. You can increase size, which is good.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support for this solution is pretty good. They have provided us support when needed.

How was the initial setup?

When you are setting this solution up in a test environment then it is straightforward. However, when you have to combine it with the customer's hardware then it can be tricky sometimes.

The deployment took about one month.

What about the implementation team?

We used a consultant to assist with the deployment.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also evaluated a solution by Cisco.

What other advice do I have?

This solution is good for small-end businesses, but for high-level business, you may have to evaluate other solutions.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Mohamed Youssef
Sr. Pre-Sales Engineer at Advanced Technology Company
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
All in one box solution that is effective for our infrastructure

Pros and Cons

  • "The program is stable."
  • "I am not really impressed by the technical support of this solution."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case of this solution is for storage nodes and compute nodes and I like that it is all in one box. It is very effective to use it for our infrastructure. 

What needs improvement?

Something that needs to improve is that if you want to upgrade just one feature, you have to go to the highest model, which is the All-Flash Solution.

1- there are features like deduplicate and compersion, it's available only in the all-flash solution for Vxrack also auto-tiering and caching not available only in the all-flash scenario in VxRack flex 

2- another way if you have the all-flash box from vxRack (SSD drive), cannot be mixed with normal HDD and the maintenance will be very expensive 

For how long have I used the solution?

Scalable and stable and very user-friendly

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The program is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I believe it is a scalable solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

I am not really impressed by the technical support of this solution. The product really needs better and more support. 

What other advice do I have?

On a scale from 1 to ten, I will rate this solution an eight.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Ahmed Alaiady
CTO at Cloud Technology
Real User
Enables us to manage all of our solutions together on one management platform

Pros and Cons

  • "The setup was very straightforward."
  • "Needs some more monitoring tools."

What is our primary use case?

I primarily use the solution for cloud applications and cloud services.

What is most valuable?

The features that I have found most valuable are the compatibility with VMware, and vCenter that can scale the VxRack. You have a fully hyper-converged solution, so you can easily manage all of your obligations and all of your solutions together on one management platform.

VxRack is useful for more than a data center. It can bring in all solutions together at the same time. You can use them more than just the old way. The old way, you didn't have a rack, for the server you had to go one by one. It's a comfortable solution, you can get the VMware or the other platform, and storage and computing all together, in one solution. So that's why we have this server and use it for the Cloud solutions it provides.

What needs improvement?

I recommend adding some more monitoring tools. There are no, such monitoring tools inside the rack or the hardware. I recommend adding some hardware. It needs some monitoring. It would be a benefit for the engineers actually. No need for them to go and open the platform with their computers.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the solution for almost one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. If you put any machine, a VM machine, or any application, it will run without any issues, until you shut it down or integrate it with other hardware. There are many nodes that run each application. It's very stable. You don't need to depend on only one node to compute. You get redundancy and a full back up which will give you stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable because anytime you want to increase a resource, you just add one node, or two nodes or whatever you want to add. It's very easy, it's just a click and play. We have many users. On one application we have more than 150K users. On other applications, we have 100K users. On one application, the minimum we have is 50K users.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good. When you purchase it, there is one-year technical support from Dell. You can renew it every year. Dell support is very good. They answer you 24/7. When you purchase good support for the first year, you may not need to renew it if you have good staff, because it's very easy to learn how to maintain if you need anything. It's very easy. So the staff can learn this very easily, in only two months.

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

For hyper-converged, we did not previously use a different solution. I used a normal server previously. Dell VxRack is the first solution that I've used as a hyper-convergence solution. Before I was using the HP server and another server. But they are not hyper-converged, they are normal servers.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was very straightforward. That's also the one features of the Vx series. All Vx series are easy to install, easy to configure, and easy to manage. The deployment only took one day.

What about the implementation team?

The implementation was done by our team, me and my team.

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

I chose Dell because of the price. It's fair enough pricing for a first-time company to purchase it - especially VxRack. Otherwise, Nutanix and HP are expensive. More expensive than Dell VxRack. In general, the companies purchase the solutions and the partner companies are responsible to deploy it and install it. But in our case, we depend on ourselves to deploy and install it. So we don't add more cost, only the standard licensing cost.

What other advice do I have?

This product offers stability and easy management. It's easy to learn how to work with the containers, especially for the Cloud solution.

We only need only two staff to run it, two engineers with one team leader. The memory, the CPU, the bandwidth, the storage, everything is monitored, and controlled. You only need one staff member to monitor it in real-time.

The traditional way, the servers were stored alone or next to each together. But currently, this solution is much easier. The modern way is very, very easy.

I would advise that if you want a cost-effective hyper-converged solution, go with VxRack. The support is good and it's easy to manage and deploy. It's a cost-effective solution but it also depends on what the use case is. There may be a reason to choose other solutions over this solution.

I would rate this solution an eight out of 10.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AA
Principal Data Centre Specialist at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Has reduced our downtime on the servers and there is no more resource congestion

Pros and Cons

  • "It has reduced downtime. Before, on our previous solution, we used to have downtime on some of the servers because of the sort of convention. But currently I've not experienced any downtime on any of the servers, and there is no more resource congestion."
  • "We're also running Hyper-V virtual machines. But we recently discovered that migration of the Hyper-V virtual machines is a bit challenging. Maybe if Dell EMC can come out with a tool that will make it very easy for us to migrate the Microsoft Hyper-V machine, that may be an improvement."

How has it helped my organization?

It has reduced downtime. Before on our previous solution, we used to have downtime on some of the servers because of the sort of convention. Currently, I've not experienced any downtime on any of the servers, and there is no more resource congestion.

What is most valuable?

All of the features are useful. We just started three months ago but we found that the issue we were having in our previous environment, which has high latency on the storage, we are not experiencing it anymore. The high ups on the storage are very good for us.

What needs improvement?

For now, we just started using it, so we've not really identified the area where we see anything lacking. Maybe after we use it for around six months we'll be able to know some areas. Moreover, we're still doing the migration. We've re-migrated from our old environment, we have migrated from VM to the new environment. So far so good. We do not really have a lot of challenges right now.

I think an area where maybe we'll need some improvement is that we have been, in our old environment, running VMware Virtual machines. We're also running Hyper-V virtual machines. But we recently discovered that migration of the Hyper-V virtual machines is a bit challenging. Maybe if Dell EMC can come out with a tool that will make it very easy for us to migrate the Microsoft Hyper-V machine, that may be an improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for three months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable, and so far, so good. We don't have any issue with the security, and the environment is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We've not added additional resources, but we believe that it's highly scalable. We believe that at any time we need to add resources we can easily add those resources to it. We don't have plans to increase usage, and we're using it extensively.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've not reached any technical support since we started using it. Since we deployed this we have no cause to reach certain support.

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

Previously, we used to use Cisco before VxFlex. We switched because of the environment. We had high latency in the storage. Also, the underlying servers were obsolete. They were end-of-life.

How was the initial setup?

The setup has been straightforward. We don't have many problems with the migration and so far it has been straightforward. 

What about the implementation team?

The OEM, Dell EMC, did the installation. Ten consultants did the installation for us.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend others use VxFlex.

I would rate the solution eight out of 10. I would rate it a 10 if they provided better integration with the other applications and offered a migration tool to easily migrate from Hyper-V.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
EK
Vice President - Head of Technology at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
Real User
A great centralized platform with excellent technical support

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is the overall integration and just seeing the three different layers which make up the machine software. Altogether, it's something that I would say is much better than any other solution that I have experienced before."
  • "Exporting data from the dashboard is not very user-friendly. It's just designed in a way that it's going to cover let's say 90%, 80%, of the end-users needs. If you need more sophisticated reporting it's not easy to have."

How has it helped my organization?

Recently we used it in a hybrid setup for infrastructure between the VMs and the physical. Managing such an environment is a little bit tricky. Now, we have now one solution for everything or for the different environments that we have with us with production, disaster recovery, and UAT. Everything gets managed from one platform. Everything is happening from one place instead of just physically. In the past, managing the physical servers alone and then VMs that we have on different versions, just dealing with the different environments was a nightmare. But now since we have everything in one platform, it's much easier, especially since we don't have a very big team. 

So I just needed a simple way to manage things that aligned with the business demands without wasting my time, troubleshooting, and trying to find what the problem was and integrations between the different solutions that we have here and there. Whether it's at a hardware level or software level or network, having everything in one place made my life much easier.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the overall integration and just seeing the three different layers which make up the machine software. Altogether, it's something that I would say is much better than any other solution that I have experienced before.

What needs improvement?

VxRail as a VM, as the extended version of VM, made the solution very powerful, unlike others like Nutanix or HP Synergy or SimpliVity. I can't see any problem other than one thing which is the vendor lock. It means if I want to extend my service if I want to add another stream or another data center and I want to have an integration, I have to have the VxRail bill as a total FCI solution on the other side. That's the only weakness that I see that needs to be improved; with VxRail they need to extend the licenses to any other solution. That's the only thing that I believe though.

On the dashboard itself that I use on a daily basis, I can get most of the information that I want. If I want to have more details or analytics, however, it's a little bit tricky. I'm using one of my resources to keep pulling data from different sources to build custom made reporting for myself. For example, utilization of the different resources on the different servers is there as a part of the dashboard. However, if I want to have the kind of comparison between two different VMs running on the same application, it's a little bit tricky. I'm asking my team to pull data and design it in a different way and send it back and execute it and stuff like that. Exporting data from the dashboard is not very user-friendly. It's just designed in a way that it's going to cover let's say 90%, 80%, of the end-users needs. If you need more sophisticated reporting it's not easy to have.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for one and a half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. Over the past one and a half years, we did not face any major instance for the services itself. It's a hyper-converged by design. In terms of stability, we only have around 16 nodes, which is medium-sized. But we've never faced any failure in any nodes.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

VxRail by design has an under systems scalability for whatever solution is provided for us. During the past one and a half years we just added some network cards just to cover the speed. One of them was a major card on the network cards and was one GB. When we changed the network site to have the switches with two GB, we decided also to upgrade network cards there. It was a very small job and since the solution itself it's scalable, we just did it in one day for all 16 nodes. Scalability is good. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We have an agreement. It's a critical mission service where the SLA says they have to recover the service within four hours. So far, all the incidents that were opened with Dell directly were from a year and a half ago after the implementation itself. There have only been three tickets.

In terms of our experience on those three tickets, they were not a major or critical event. They were all medium. They call it flexibility three. It's not even one or two. As per the SLA, within 24 hours they had to fix the problem. They ended up fixing the issue within the first three hours. 

Although it was not a critical ticket, the response was great.

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

We just used pure VM. On HP, on the hardware itself, it was HP and virtualization. It was not a hybrid comparison. It was only a VM solution. We switched to hybrid just to take the features of all the clash kind of stuff that is more I would say sophisticated in the hybrid compared to HCI or other solutions. We moved from converged to hyper-converged. It's the technology itself that lead us to change solutions. VM as a combination isn't as good as VxRail as a total solution.

How was the initial setup?

The deployment was very straightforward. We have four team members who only focus on the environment, on Excel. The system admin also has three team members. Each one has a different area to look at; one for storage, one for virtualization itself, and the other one for the overall health of troubleshooting of the Excel environment. So, one chief and three supporting leads.

What about the implementation team?

When we started this project it was through a partner who did all the migration for us and handled the deployment as well. At that time it was a very small deployment.

What other advice do I have?

In terms of advice, I would say that your success using VxRail would depend on the business itself. For example, if you're a high tech company, VxRail is not going to be a good solution for such a company. The same applies if you are at some software house because you need a very strong kind of computation system. In this case, HP Synergy will be the best total solution. However, if you're environment it doesn't need that high computation, it's either VxRail or Nutanix will be the best solution for anyone.

It depends on your mission. It depends on the business nature itself. For normal businesses, VxRail is a great option. For businesses that need high computation and stuff like that, VxRail will not serve them the way that they want. 

I would rate this solution as nine out of ten.

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