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Dell EMC vSAN Ready Nodes Competitors and Alternatives

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Read reviews of Dell EMC vSAN Ready Nodes competitors and alternatives

Conrad Cruz
Technical Manager at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
It offers us some flexibility, but it could be integrated better with the cloud

Pros and Cons

  • "If we decide to expand, vSAN could offer us some flexibility. We are researching ways to set this up from a new data center, which is located somewhere different from the current location right now."
  • "I would like to see better integration between the cloud and our VMware virtual environment. We only have one virtual environment, which is VMware vSAN. Right now, there is little interoperability with the cloud solution at the moment."

What is our primary use case?

I work at a small company, and we have VxRail. Like Rubrik, VxRail can be upgraded brick by brick. Now we are studying considering deploying another traditional setup comprising a host and SAN Storage. VMware vSAN is a virtual SAN Storage. 

We are planning to expand the resources of our system, including CPU, RAM, and storage. Currently, we are utilizing the basic VxRail setup, which consists of only three nodes, and we're in the process of acquiring another. I'm upgrading because it's at capacity, so we have no choice but to add another node so we can expand the loads for some new applications that we need to employ under the virtual servers. Our expansion to a new data center will add some more capacity to the current setup.

In the end, we could wind up with around six nodes, SAN storage, or flash array storage. But we don't have a definite plan yet. Everything is being drafted at the moment, and we're researching some details on backup solutions and VR solutions. We also have some cloud-based and server-hosted applications from Azure and AWS. So maybe the on-premises solution could involve some VMs or a hybrid backup solution that goes back and forth between the cloud and on-premises. 

What is most valuable?

If we decide to expand, vSAN could offer us some flexibility. We are researching ways to set this up from a new data center, which is located somewhere different from the current location right now.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see better integration between the cloud and our VMware virtual environment. We only have one virtual environment, which is VMware vSAN. Right now, there is little interoperability with the cloud solution at the moment. We are currently researching to figure out if we can achieve that. 

It's possible that we'll need to acquire new infrastructure for the new data center. And for that, we need to consult some architects, whether it's a VMware architect or some AWS and Azure architects. And we could come up with a workable blueprint that to use as a guideline so we can manage our infrastructure.

For how long have I used the solution?

I am new to this company, but I worked with different solutions at my previous company, including vSAN and the traditional VMware vSphere setup. So I've been using vSAN for two years or three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

VMware vSAN is stable, although there's is some room for improvement. 

How are customer service and support?

I've been working with VMware technical support since I had my own company. It's pretty dependable because I used to work primarily with level three infrastructure support. We are the last escalation. I am one of the contact people between the company and the VMware vendor. The final escalations would be working with the vendor itself or some VMware engineer, whether it's vSAN, vSphere, Center, or anything else within the scope of our license.

In my environment right now, we only handle a limited set of VMware products. These solutions are not perfect because we must apply patches and updates to deal with glitches and minor bugs. Byt I think vSAN will be reliable, especially if the after-sales support and engineers are excellent and could help us work seamlessly and comfortably.

How was the initial setup?

Our initial vSAN setup is a backup from Rubrik being thrown up to AWS for Glacier. But in the near term, maybe we could migrate that kind of solution in a more seamless and resilient way. That's what we're considering right now.

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

VMware is quite expensive compared to Microsoft's Hyper-V. However, when you factor in flexibility and comparability of use, it's reasonable enough. For the high price of VMware, you get seamless operation and manageability. At the same time, I think VMware is lowering the price for its cloud-based solutions. And it's stable enough that some organizations might want to put part of their setup on the cloud and the other part on-premises. VMware's advantage is that they were already preparing for cloud solutions many years ago. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There are several virtual solutions that I have hands-on experience with, including VMware, Hyper-V, and some open source software. I could only compare Microsoft and VMware. VMware is significantly more expensive than Microsoft, but I still prefer VMware because it's manageable and easy to set up.

As a VMware customer, it's hard to judge the value I'm getting for the price in terms of operability and manageability. Then there are other factors, such as the amount of resources used. So when we're evaluating, we're not just looking at the price. We don't want to settle for something cheaper that might cost us some headaches.

What other advice do I have?

I rate VMware vSAN seven out of 10. I prefer a traditional SAN storage solution. Right now, we're only using vSAN for small solutions. At the basic level, it's good enough because it operates the same way as the traditional setup. It's suitable for companies that are starting and might expand in the near future. For those use cases, vSAN is a great choice compared to Hyper-V. It's much easier to maintain. However, I haven't deployed vSAN for a larger configuration.

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.
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MT
Co Founder at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Great for a large company, easy to deploy, and easy to scale up

Pros and Cons

  • "VxRail is easy to deploy and easy to scale up."
  • "You have to buy a new server if you want to scale up."

What is our primary use case?

We work with Dell's Italian partner, so we go where the market goes. When Dell merged with EMC, we did several courses, and I got a certification with VxRail. We usually work with companies that have projects. We are solution architects. We don't work with software, programs, databases, or custom software.

What is most valuable?

VxRail is easy to deploy and easy to scale up, but you have to buy a new server if you want to scale up—not just a classic solution like RAM, CPU, or more disk. The solution would be good for a great company that is dynamic and wants to go up very fast.

What needs improvement?

When you converge the solution, you have to be very careful because the great scalability comes at an important cost. If you want to use three nodes with a standard license, for example, and you want to converge the solution with three nodes, you have chosen the wrong product because you have to buy a new server if you want to scale up.

In my opinion, the lack of improvement is from a commercial point of view, not from a technical point of view. 

It also lacks a single easy remote server for disaster recovery.

For how long have I used the solution?

We started using VxRail three years ago.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is great because it is based on VMware, so it's the same panel and same code.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

VxRail has great scalability.

How are customer service and support?

Dell's EMC technical support is very good.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup process is pretty straightforward. Technically speaking, there could be some complications, but Dell's support is very good.

In the course for VxRail, they tell you that it's a single click to deploy. From a technical viewpoint, that isn't true because you have to build the rack system. If the system is projected well, then you have a single click to deploy it with a single panel of glass.

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

The price could be lower. If the price were dropped, the products could sell more easily.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Compared to Nutanix, we are not as aggressive in the market, but VxRail is a good product with good design. If VxRail is to compete with Nutanix, it needs a single easy remote server for disaster recovery, but that depends on vSAN, which the design of VxRail is based on. The core of vSAN is not designed for this, maybe because vSAN customers are higher level.

What other advice do I have?

I would give this solution a 9 out of 10. 

VxRail isn't for a small company. If you need less than five servers, you could technically use it, but there are probably other solutions that are cheaper. A classic solution for a small customer is cheaper than other convergence solutions.

In my mind, the hyper-convergence solution is a requirement only for a great company. If you are a small Italian company that isn't going to scale up for a few years, it's very difficult to afford the price, and you might have a problem with technical knowledge as well because your normal technicians won't be able to assist in other convergence solutions if you have an issue. In this case, we prefer traditional systems over VxRail to give the client the correct stability and simple management.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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GF
Chief Technology Expert at Rapid Response Networks
User
Scalable with excellent support and allowed for the use of existing hardware

Pros and Cons

  • "The biggest benefit was that it allowed us to provide SAN services on a limited hardware budget."
  • "The main issue we ran into was the documentation. We attempted to set up the product in our test environment by ourselves and ran into several areas of the documentation that were unclear to us."

What is our primary use case?

We decided on StarWind's Virtual SAN product due to the fact that it was a simple way for us to use vendor hardware to achieve SAN functions. 

It allowed us to implement a robust solution without needing to buy dedicated SAN hardware for the remote site.  

We set up a 2 node cluster using Dell servers and Dell-provided hard drives and used Starwind to create several redundant disks across the two hosts. This solution allowed us to enable High Availability across the hosts using the shared storage without the need to purchase dedicated hardware.

How has it helped my organization?

The biggest benefit was that it allowed us to provide SAN services on a limited hardware budget.  

We built out a pair of matched servers with vendor-supplied hard drives and were able to provide a fully redundant storage array between the servers. VM hosts can now provide high availability failover if either host goes down. Not needing to spend a huge amount for a dedicated solution was a plus and the system is easily expandable if we need to make changes.  

Their support team has been excellent in helping us throughout the project process.

What is most valuable?

Support was great and provided presale support for our test environment before the purchase and after to help us configure the product before it went into production.  

They have also been great in following up on our project and helping with other implementation issues.  

Being able to use existing hardware was a big factor in our purchasing decision and helped this project fit the needs of our client's budget. Using existing hardware greatly reduced the project costs and overall complexity of the solution.

What needs improvement?

The main issue we ran into was the documentation. We attempted to set up the product in our test environment by ourselves and ran into several areas of the documentation that were unclear to us.  

Starwind provides excellent pre-sale support and scheduled several meetings between our IT staff and their support team to review the configuration and answer questions. This helped immensely in deploying the software in our test environment and helped us to understand the product better. Support was always willing to help with any documentation that we were confused over and continued to follow up with us after the project went live.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for eight months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product appears to be very stable and robust.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution appears to be easily scalable and adjustable to fit future needs.

How are customer service and support?

Vendor support has been very responsive and provided help with all issues we have encountered.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

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

We did not previously use a different solution.

How was the initial setup?

Setup can be complicated and the documentation is not always clear. Support from the vendor was needed in our test environment setup.

What about the implementation team?

We used an in-house team with vendor support during the implementation. Support has been excellent and has followed up regularly with our team.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did look at Dell and VMware SAN products as well. 

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.
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Shawn Bender
Global IS Admin at Benshaw, Inc.
Real User
Top 5
Good performance, built-in storage saved us money, knowledgeable support

Pros and Cons

  • "The presence of built-in storage saved the company from having to purchase a separate storage array and related network equipment."
  • "I would request that the terms and conditions be reviewed and made more acceptable to corporate security so that we could finally turn on the proactive support feature, as it is included with our support agreement."

What is our primary use case?

The StarWind HCA solution provided our company with a turnkey hyper-converged platform that strengthened our processing and storage capabilities by greatly expanding our RAM, processors, and flash-based storage.

It also enabled us to take advantage of VMware vMotion technology. This allows us to transfer a virtual machine from one host to the other without interrupting production, which is critical in our manufacturing plant.

I haven't had to make any software related changes since the solution was implemented.

How has it helped my organization?

By having multiple servers, we are able to perform maintenance on one server while the other is still operating. The speed of the flash drives helped with performance, and the support that StarWind offers is very professional and accommodating.

We had to engage with support several times during the migration as we made licensing changes, and moved virtual servers from the old host to the new ones. The response time was quick and although there was a bit of an accent, I had no trouble understanding as the work was being completed.

What is most valuable?

The presence of built-in storage saved the company from having to purchase a separate storage array and related network equipment. When we looked at the costs for a storage array, they were somewhat higher than the solution from StarWind.

Knowing that the virtual machines will continue running in the event of one of the servers failing provides peace of mind. Also, having support readily available in the event of a problem helps as well.

We were impressed by all of the redundancy built into the solution to protect it from failures.

What needs improvement?

My only concern was with the terms and conditions of the proactive support. Our legal department didn't accept them, so we weren't able to take advantage of it. Having the heartbeat monitor working would save some time, by getting issues resolved by support as soon as, or possibly even prior to them happening.

I would request that the terms and conditions be reviewed and made more acceptable to corporate security so that we could finally turn on the proactive support feature, as it is included with our support agreement.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the StarWind HyperConverged Appliance for six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been no issues with stability since the solution was implemented.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It seemed that we would be able to increase the scale as needed.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support at StarWind was very knowledgeable and was able to resolve any issues on the current call.

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

Our previous solution was a single server and it was out of support.

How was the initial setup?

Its initial setup was complex, but that is why we had support from StarWind look after it.

What about the implementation team?

It was implemented mostly by StarWind in coordination with our in house team.

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

The setup cost was included in the support.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We considered solutions from Dell and Nutanix.

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.
SG
IT Consultant at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Top 10
Stable with good pricing and pretty good technical support

Pros and Cons

  • "We find the setup quite straightforward and very easy."
  • "The user management could be a bit better. It's something they could improve upon in future releases."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for our hyper-converged system.

What is most valuable?

The various scenarios for this solution are great.

The pricing is reasonable. It's very good. It's the main reason people are buying it.

The solution seems to be quite stable.

Technical support is very helpful.

Our clients don't seem to have trouble with scaling.

We find the setup quite straightforward and very easy.

What needs improvement?

The user management could be a bit better. It's something they could improve upon in future releases.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution for about five or six years now. It's been a while.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability must be pretty good as we never hear of any issues from our clients. They seem to be happy with its reliability. We don't hear from them in terms of issues surrounding bugs or glitches. It's good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is likely okay. We haven't had a client come back and complain about this aspect lacking in any way.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is okay. As the product supplier, we work pretty well alongside them and our clients don't seem to have any complaints. I would assume everyone is satisfied with the level of service provided.

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

We are also partners with HP and Dell. We use a variety of products from different brands.

We've also worked with IBM in the past.

The offerings of hyper-converged systems are mostly the same. Typically, the preference of which the client chooses is based on their own comfort level with a brand as well as pricing and budget.  

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty straightforward. It's easy. It isn't complex. We used to work with IBM which was a bit more involved. 

We have ten engineers that have the capabilities to handle deployment and maintenance.

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

Customers really like the pricing as it's quite affordable for them.

What other advice do I have?

We're partners with Lenovo, among other solutions. We don't have an exclusive business relationship with them.

I would recommend the product to others. Of course, it depends on the company's price, budget, and requirements. Typically, I would recommend Lenovo or Dell. They're all right and we've worked with them both a lot. It's the preference of the client as well, and whether or not they are usually working with IBM on their storage system. 

Overall, I would rate the solution at 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
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