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Dell EMC XtremIO OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Dell EMC XtremIO is the #20 ranked solution in our list of best All-Flash Storage Arrays. It is most often compared to Dell EMC PowerMax NVMe: Dell EMC XtremIO vs Dell EMC PowerMax NVMe

What is Dell EMC XtremIO?
Bring all-flash, scale-out storage to your enterprise applications with EMC XtremIO. Purpose-built for flash, XtremIO storage arrays are amazingly fast. Delivering high IOPS at less than 1 millisecond latency is just the start. EMC XtremIO helps you harness the power of flash storage by building in innovations like content-based data placement and dual-stage metadata.

Dell EMC XtremIO is also known as Dell EMC XtremIO Flash, Dell EMC XtremIO X2, XtremIO, XtremIO X2.

Buyer's Guide

Download the All-Flash Storage Arrays Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

Dell EMC XtremIO Customers
Raiffeisen Bank Bulgaria, Wentworth-Douglas Hospital
Dell EMC XtremIO Video

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

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MS
Manager of Customer Services with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Enables us to have surveillance of our systems but the reporting and monitoring tools need improvement

Pros and Cons

  • "We mostly use it for backup, because we cannot measure anything, and we are afraid to use it for surveillance systems. We were planning to use it for mostly for surveillance systems."
  • "One thing that should be improved is the reporting and monitoring tools. It should use real time monitoring for storage, IOPS, latency, etc."

What is our primary use case?

We mostly use it for backup because we cannot measure anything and we are afraid to use it for surveillance systems. We were planning to use it mostly for surveillance systems.

What needs improvement?

The most important thing for the system engineer is to check if there is latency in the IOPS for any run. You cannot measure the number of IOPS or whether or not it is overloaded. You cannot measure anything in EMC about this. Most solutions, especially HP, improved our fall-over performance, with our database and servers. Most servers are HP, but we use EMC now only for backup. 

One thing that should be improved is the reporting and monitoring tools. It should use real-time monitoring for storage, IOPS, latency, etc.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using it for seven years.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support was good, especially for upgrading, which we did four times. It was straightforward and easy.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was simple for us.

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

The initial purchase price was good but when you need to upgrade, it's a different story.

What other advice do I have?

Overall, including the format, support, and technical performance, I would rate it as seven of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
GD
IT Manager at a tech services company
Real User
Its speed and reliability are the most valuable features

What is our primary use case?

We are partners with this solution. In my company, we provide the cloud model. We offer service for public and private cloud and also on-premises.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are that it is fast and reliable. 

What needs improvement?

The management should be improved and the GUI interface could be better and easier. In the next release, they should improve the replication. There should be high availability. You can't do replication from one EMC to another, you would need to use another tool with the way it is now. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support depends on the contract and the partner that you are working with. There are some partners that don't have enough knowledge about support.

How

What is our primary use case?

We are partners with this solution. In my company, we provide the cloud model. We offer service for public and private cloud and also on-premises.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are that it is fast and reliable. 

What needs improvement?

The management should be improved and the GUI interface could be better and easier.

In the next release, they should improve the replication. There should be high availability. You can't do replication from one EMC to another, you would need to use another tool with the way it is now. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support depends on the contract and the partner that you are working with. There are some partners that don't have enough knowledge about support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not hard, but it's not difficult for me because I am an engineer. It didn't take too long for me. If the customer did the implementation, it could take longer. It took around two to three hours. 

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it an eight out of ten. 

I would recommend this solution to someone considering it. 

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
Find out what your peers are saying about Dell EMC, Pure Storage, IBM and others in All-Flash Storage Arrays. Updated: October 2021.
540,884 professionals have used our research since 2012.
KE
IT Manager at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
A solution with good stability, excellent scalability and an ability to increase overall performance

Pros and Cons

  • "We've seen great enhancements from the performance point of view. There's good availability, stability, and continuity, but the performance actually has increased by 60 or 70%."
  • "The solution needs to be simplified. When you integrate your storage with other systems, could use a little bit of automation."

What is our primary use case?

We use the solution primarily in the banking system.

What is most valuable?

It's a great solution. We have 100% high availability and 100% business continuity. All our banking is All-Flash behind the VPLEX. 

We've seen great enhancements from the performance point of view. There's good availability, stability, and continuity, but the performance actually has increased by 60 or 70%.

What needs improvement?

The solution needs to be simplified. When you integrate your storage with other systems, it could use a little bit of automation. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution is very good. It may even be the best of the best if you compare it to the competition.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is very good. We can easily upgrade and move from one generation to another.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good. It's one of the best vendors for support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. 

How long deployment takes depends on the platform. For example, on VMAX All-Flash, the initial configuration, and the provisioning took about three or four days. We were executing the hard work, including laying the cables, and all the break and fix stuff. 

What about the implementation team?

We had a consultant assist with the deployment.

What other advice do I have?

We've used multiple versions of the solution. We started with a legacy version from the VMAX 40K and then we went to the VMAX All-Flash 450FX. Currently, we are planning also to use PowerMax 8000. We use the on-premises deployment model. We don't deal with any cloud models.

I would rate the solution nine out of ten. I'm talking from the banking sector point of view. The banking sector is a more critical system. You have to keep your system up all day, all week, and you can not lose even a bit of transaction even for a millisecond or microsecond because you'll lose money. From my point of view, it's great, it's not like any other solution.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MA
Regional Technical Manager CST at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Deduplication and auto-tiering are good, and it is easy to implement

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case of this solution is for virtualization. The deployment model used was on-premises.

What is most valuable?

I like the deduplication and auto-tiering features.

What needs improvement?

The product could be improved by reducing the pricing and having better organization in their technical support team.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is stable. I would give it five out of six, not 100% only 90%.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of this solution is good.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is good but they are not well organized.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward.

What's my

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case of this solution is for virtualization.

The deployment model used was on-premises.

What is most valuable?

I like the deduplication and auto-tiering features.

What needs improvement?

The product could be improved by reducing the pricing and having better organization in their technical support team.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is stable. I would give it five out of six, not 100% only 90%.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of this solution is good.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is good but they are not well organized.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward.

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

There are costs in addition to the standard licensing fees.

What other advice do I have?

I am a partner for Dell EMC.

My complaints are not about the features of this solution, it's more about the pricing and the support.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
HassanZaki
Data Center Manager at overit
Real User
A solution that offers high performance along with good stability and scalability

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution's most valuable feature is its high performance."
  • "The implementation isn't exactly complex, but the solution should have some enhancements in it to make the process more centralized."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for custom development and customer case studies.

What is most valuable?

The solution's most valuable feature is its high performance.

What needs improvement?

The deployment of the solution could be simplified.

The solution should be integrated into the system by default and not separately.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable for SMBs.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is okay.

How was the initial setup?

The implementation isn't exactly complex, but the solution should have some enhancements in it to make the process more centralized.

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

The pricing is okay. It tends to offer some of the best pricing, but I still think it could be better.

What other advice do I have?

We are using the on-premises deployment model.

My advice to those who plan on implementing the solution is to make sure you are doing accurate sizing. Don't just size for your current use only.

I would rate the solution nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AP
Snr. Build Engineer at a computer software company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Good inline data reduction and deduplication for enterprise-level organizations

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution's most valuable features are the inline data reduction and deduplication."
  • "This solution is geared toward enterprise-level companies. Small and medium-sized businesses would find it extremely expensive."

How has it helped my organization?

I'm able to deploy a scalable amount of virtual machines from images of hundreds of gigabytes per second.

What is most valuable?

The solution's most valuable features are the inline data reduction and deduplication.

What needs improvement?

It's not an improvement so much as a query. What I'm curious about is whether or not the feature has the ability to do inline data reduction between two physical storage solutions. If we have one storage solution in the UK and the other in Australia, will the system be able to tell us what we have already, so we aren't sending 95% of our data across the world unnecessarily? I know that the feature works locally on the source solution. What I'm curious about is, would that data reduction feature work between two instances of XtremIO in two different places.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for almost three years.

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

It was the company's choice to switch to this solution. I don't remember what we had beforehand. I think that they made the switch because we knew we were going to have a large amount of data. The data reduction deduplication that this solution offered was very valuable. We knew that if we were going to be doing an extremely high amount of the right operation, the inline data reduction would be valuable as well. 

What other advice do I have?

The performance of some of the features of the solution is very powerful. XtremIO was powerful enough to allow us to disable features of other items.

If I didn't have to think about the cost, I would rate the solution ten out of ten. This solution is geared toward enterprise-level companies. Small and medium-sized businesses would find it extremely expensive.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
TB
IT Architect at a healthcare company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
It can handle big workloads and has good performance

Pros and Cons

  • "The program is very stable."
  • "I would like to see more scalability."

What is most valuable?

What I like about this solution, is that it is really fast and it's really good in compression. So you can put a lot of data in line on it. I've used it for cases like VDI in a healthcare environment because we use multiple copies of it. It is very good and has very good performance. It can handle big workloads. 

What needs improvement?

What needs to improve is that the end compression uses a lot of CPU, which makes it difficult or impossible to upgrade. I believe that it has improved in the upgraded versions, which we don't have yet. Also, the price and interface should be simplified too. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for the past three years on premises.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The program is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We had some difficulty when we tried to expand our XtremIO because it had to be done in a certain way and only EMC personnel were allowed to do it. That wasn't very flexible. But it seems to be better in the new version. Scalability is always a problem. 

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical team is good.

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

We previously used another EMC program, but it was not flash only, so that's why we switched to this solution. It possible to buy an all-flash system and, based on the compression features, we changed to this unit. 

How was the initial setup?

We were not allowed to do the initial setup ourselves. So it was done by EMC personnel and maybe that could be improved so that our partner, our supplier, could do it themselves so that you don't need an EMC rep to perform the installation.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to others would be to test it first to see the expected ratios. Do a check to see if they deliver what they promise. I would rate this solution a nine out of ten. To make it a perfect ten, I would like to see better scalability. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Manager, EMEA Datacenter and Database Operations at a tech vendor with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
The stability needs improvement. And, it is expensive as you scale.

What is our primary use case?

The performance very good, and the use case is actually we decided to have all flash a couple years ago and Xtreme IO was one of the vendors that your EMC partner reccomended so there was no discussion of what kind of storage we would buy.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are: Complete performance Ease of use

What needs improvement?

The stability of the product needs improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I am not too impressed with XtremeIO because we had a major failure.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very expensive to scale. You have to buy an additional system to extend from one disc, for instance.…

What is our primary use case?

The performance very good, and the use case is actually we decided to have all flash a couple years ago and Xtreme IO was one of the vendors that your EMC partner reccomended so there was no discussion of what kind of storage we would buy.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are:

  • Complete performance
  • Ease of use

What needs improvement?

The stability of the product needs improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I am not too impressed with XtremeIO because we had a major failure.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very expensive to scale. You have to buy an additional system to extend from one disc, for instance. It is scalable, but extremely expensive to do so.

How is customer service and technical support?

The technical support was very good, but since the merger with Dell, it is very bad. It went from very good to very bad.

How was the initial setup?

It was very easy and straightforward to setup. We plugged it in, connected, and then started. Simple. Our technical team had no problem with it.

What about the implementation team?

When choosing a vendor, we we value known companies, as a solution. In addition, we value Blue technology.

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

It is expensive if you need to increase scalability.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Ramandeep Jagde
Technical Specialist Storage at a insurance company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Very easy to use in terms of administrative tasks on the GUI

Pros and Cons

  • "It has very good performance for an application which needs lower latency and a better response, for example, in microseconds."
  • "The GUI could be modified more in terms of how the different components are linked to each other."

How has it helped my organization?

We used the product for our internal customers (Banking). The performance really improved for the end users with reduced costs.

What is most valuable?

It has very good performance for an application which needs lower latency and a better response, for example, in microseconds. It's very easy to use in terms of administrative tasks on the GUI.

What needs improvement?

At times, it's difficult to track down allocated resources as compared to other solutions, like VMAX and VNX, because it's completely software-based.

The GUI could be modified more in terms of how the different components are linked to each other.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes, we had issues with data corruption on one of the X-Bricks. The issue propagated to other X-Bricks as well.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No, in terms of scalability, we didn't encounter issues. It was very easy to add X-Bricks to the system.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support was great in terms of first response and further troubleshooting assistance.

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

Yes, we were using a VMAX solution before. This product was incorporated in order to get better performance at a reduced cost for our internal customers.

How was the initial setup?

I was not involved with the initial setup phase. My role was more focused towards administrative and implementation tasks after the product was installed.

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

Again, both the pricing and licensing were handled by another group. So, I can't comment on it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, there were multiple options evaluated and also incorporated for some percentage of the workload, like NetApp C-mode array. Specifically, XtremIO was considered for Xtreme Performance as advertised by vendors at a lower cost as compared to existing storage arrays, like VMAX and VNX.

What other advice do I have?

It's very good in terms of performance and the ease of use of its GUI. However, we had issues at the data corruption level, which resulted in multiple X-Brick failures. It's a big question for the stability and availability when we have enterprise level customers on such an Xtreme Performance array.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AW
Solutions Architect at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Moved and zoned our Prod Client facing Applications. Quicker response to the business and more efficiency.

What is most valuable?

Newer version V6 (XtremIO Data Protection XDP) increases performance with built-in data protection.

Improved density with ability to scale out to eight X-Bricks if necessary / more density on capacity.

In memory Space / Efficient Copies.

How has it helped my organization?

Moved and zoned our Prod Client facing Applications. Quicker response to the business and more efficiency.

Also assisted with large datasets, thus dramatically reducing our batch runs.

What needs improvement?

Newer HTML 5, no more JAVA required.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In the very beginning, with the old version 4, we had issues around Snap and clones.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes , I do recall we had an issue with a version of code on XtremeIO before we could Scale.

How are customer service and technical support?

Seven out of 10.

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

We are using HDS and EMC.

How was the initial setup?

I was not involved with setup.

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

I was not involved.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

HDS, IBM and Pure storage.

What other advice do I have?

A proof of concept will provide the best results for determining what solution you should go for.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Systems Engineer at a energy/utilities company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
None of the features are valuable for us. It produced an outage and they didn't deliver on promises made.

What is most valuable?

None of the features are valuable for us. The product is poorly designed and not reliable. It performed well when it did work.

How has it helped my organization?

We have had no benefits from this product. It produced an outage and didn't deliver on promises made by the sales and engineering teams.

What needs improvement?

It needs a lot of improvement to be more like Pure Storage or Nimble AFAs.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this product for a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We had stability issues. We ran out of space pretty quickly and the cost to scale did not match our needs.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We had scalability issues. It does not scale in a granular manner.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is horrible. It took a week for them to get back to us on what caused the outage. Also, there are too many different teams that support the product internally.

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

We used EMC VMAX. We switched because EMC made it too costly to stay on VMAX and gave us discounts on XtremIO.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex. We hired someone to do it. It took them two days. Our new array was done by my team in less than two hours.

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

EMC has not delivered on promises with their array. We have been with them for seven years and had five different arrays. Same story every time. Worst support in the industry.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Pure Storage, Nimble, and SolidFire.

What other advice do I have?

Don't do it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user650013
Storage Engineer at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
A couple of the valuable features are linear performance and deduplication.

Pros and Cons

  • "Linear performance – The XtremIO wasn’t the fastest in all tests against other all flash arrays, but even with a massive workload, the response time and user experience were absolutely predictable with no sharp drop-offs."
  • "Native data replication: To replicate data between XtremIO devices, you need to use EMC’s RecoverPoint appliances to move the data."

How has it helped my organization?

It provides reliable and predictable performance with very little administration required beyond the initial setup.

What is most valuable?

  • Speed – All Flash makes this array very extremely responsive to virtually all workloads, besting all of our spindle-based arrays by a large margin
  • Linear performance – The XtremIO wasn’t the fastest in all tests against other all flash arrays, but even with a massive workload, the response time and user experience were absolutely predictable with no sharp drop-offs.
  • Administration simplicity – The GUI is very intuitive and simple to use. Other vendors should take note.
  • Excellent deduplication – An excellent feature and strength of the product. Inline dedupe gives you about as real-time on dedupe stats as you can get.

What needs improvement?

Native data replication: To replicate data between XtremIO devices, you need to use EMC’s RecoverPoint appliances to move the data. More and more arrays are providing the ability to replicate the data natively without the need for a secondary device to do it for them.

The EMC VNX platform is the same way. It only requires native replication via RecoverPoint. EMC’s flagship VMAX and their new Unity platform replicate natively. Even EMC's Isilon does data replication natively.

XtremeIO needs to catch up. That’s about the only Achilles heel of the product.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not had any issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not had any issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is excellent.

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

We did not have a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was straightforward. Follow the installation guide and it’s a slam dunk.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated HPE 3PAR, Pure Storage, and EMC VNX all-flash arrays.

What other advice do I have?

We had an established EMC footprint in our data center and a good relationship. Exploring their AFA made sense. To keep things honest, we evaluated other products and conducted a PoC with other vendors.

The XtremeIO product wasn’t always the fastest, but it was absolutely linear in performance and we encountered no issues. The PoC kept pricing honest as well.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
JohnBowling
IT Manager - Storage & Backup at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Its speed and reliability are valuable.

Pros and Cons

  • "Speed and reliability:"
  • "I would like hardware capacity additions to be a little more flexible. The upgrade path for the existing XTremIO units requires you to purchase 2 XBricks at a time and they need to be the same capacity as the existing XBricks."

How has it helped my organization?

Several processes that used to take several hours to complete are now taking minutes to complete.

There are advanced features we currently are not utilizing (AppSync, Snaps of Prod, etc.) but they are features we plan to deploy that would bring additional efficiencies.

What is most valuable?

Speed and reliability: This system hosts several mission-critical, latency-sensitive workloads and XtremIO has delivered on those promises.

What needs improvement?

I would like hardware capacity additions to be a little more flexible. The upgrade path for the existing XTremIO units requires you to purchase 2 XBricks at a time and they need to be the same capacity as the existing XBricks.

-You could not mix drive sizes
-You could not add just a single XBrick
-You had to fully populate both XBrick’s
All of this equals a very expensive\large upgrade path
However; after saying all of this, EMC announced a new generation of XTremIO (X2) which allows more granular growth, mixed drive size, etc…
(You need to purchase new hardware – I don’t believe they are adding these features to existing XTremIO Clusters.)


What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Knock on wood, we have not had any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not specifically had scalability problems. Upgrade paths are fixed.

Paths, capacity, and performance scale as X-Bricks are added.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is excellent. This product line receives high-level support.

The only negative was enough field support during early deployments (longer lead times than average). That has since been resolved with additional training and staffing levels.

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

We were using several other technologies prior to introducing XtremIO.

We switched because PoC testing proved the all-flash option to offer superior performance as compared to existing in-house technologies.

How was the initial setup?

The install and setup was very easy and straightforward. With the proper pre-planning and facility work (power, cooling, network & FC connections), we were up and operational within a few hours:

  1. Installed a virtual appliance to manage the clusters.
  2. Assigned IPs to network ports for management.
  3. Connected FC ports to existing SAN fabric.
  4. Zoned hosts to ports.
  5. Carved out LUNs and assigned to zoned hosts.

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

At first glance, this solution is pretty expensive. However, when you factor in inline deduplication, inline compression, zero-overhead snaps, thin, etc., you find the overall cost to be inline\better than with traditional tier 1 storage subsystems.

With some workloads that benefit from compression and deduplication, costs are actually better than some tier 2 subsystems (while latency remains <1ms).

This makes some happy dev testers!

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did research several other vendors (Pure Storage, Hitachi, IBM, etc.), but we only conducted a PoC on EMC’s XtremIO.

What other advice do I have?

Download and utilize a free deduplication\compression tool to identify effective rates to determine effective capacity cost.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
CT
IT Operations Manager at a energy/utilities company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Dedupe, compression and high I/O are the most valuable features.

Pros and Cons

  • "It is great for applications like Microsoft Exchange, ERP, SQL and VDI; basically saved the VDI buy-in from users, as now performance was seamless in comparison to a physical PC."
  • "Get rid of the Java aspect of the GUI console."

How has it helped my organization?

VDI is one of the top mission-critical things we offer our users. This storage runs our whole VDI environment and barely shows a blip on I/O. Previously, we had ran the VDI on non-flash storage and when Windows updates came out, we had to install them in schedule segments so as not to overload the storage. With this storage, we do them all at the same time and there is no impact to performance if 1 or 100 VMs reboot at the same time.

What is most valuable?

Dedupe, compression and high I/O are the most valuable features. It is great for applications like Microsoft Exchange, ERP, SQL and VDI; basically saved the VDI buy-in from users, as now performance was seamless in comparison to a physical PC.

What needs improvement?

Get rid of the Java aspect of the GUI console. Basically, the GUI to administrator the array uses Java as its base to run on. Java at best is buggy and prone to loading issues, so moving away from this platform would be nice.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We had no issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We had no issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would give technical support 9 out of 10. Nothing is perfect but they sure are close to it.

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

We previously used deployed EMC VNX storage (and still use it for our lower performance applications) and before that, we had Dell EqualLogic. We switched to an all-flash array as we wanted high performance storage for our three most critical applications (Exchange, ERP and VDI). We wanted to do a full VDI platform for all our users and locations. We wanted the best experience for them, as any hiccup would mean a lower buy-in rate from them. This storage made that task much easier.

How was the initial setup?

We bought it through VCE, so they included setup with it. Things went smoothly. When we did receive the storage, within a day or two, we had a controller failure but since it had two controllers, there was no impact to users. Support was fantastic and got it replaced over the weekend, and we didn’t even have to do anything other than authorize them into our data center to replace the failed part.

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

It is costly but worth it. If the network or infrastructure you have is always a sticking point to users or management, spending the bucks on an all-flash array can help win them over.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at more EMC VNX storage but at that time, we were not aware of this offering. When we started doing the talks with EMC, our rep pointed at this product line and once we saw a demo, we were sold. After more research, it didn’t take us long to get the paperwork in place. We also didn’t look at other vendors, as we utilize VCE as our main infrastructure at our data center so regardless of what model or product line of EMC we bought, VCE would handle the support. This was one of the main reasons of going with VCE, so we wanted to carry it on with the new storage.

What other advice do I have?

I wish we bought double the capacity but we only had so much to spend, as I would put every application/server on this array.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Darrell Breeden
Senior Developer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Management, planning, and support are areas with room for improvement.

Pros and Cons

  • "Thin storage allocation"
  • "Management: At the time, there was no snapshot scheduler, so I had to write XSnapCourier to address it. The sad thing is that even after the newest release, which includes a native scheduler, most customers using XSnapCourier chose to stick with it due to a more feature-rich experience."

How has it helped my organization?

  • The increase in available I/O dramatically changed the responsiveness of our Windows environment.
  • SQL server limitations of tempDB and overrun were non-existent.

What is most valuable?

  • Deduplication
  • High I/O capacity
  • Thin storage allocation
  • Snapshot cost and speed

What needs improvement?

  • Management: At the time, there was no snapshot scheduler, so I had to write XSnapCourier to address it. The sad thing is that even after the newest release, which includes a native scheduler, most customers using XSnapCourier chose to stick with it due to a more feature-rich experience.
  • Planning: The VAR we went through told us we would get something like an 8 x 1 ratio between compression and inline deduplication after migration from NetApp. For this reason, we only elected for 20 TB raw. What we actually got, however, was little over 2 to 1, which was actually worse than what NetApp afforded us.
  • Support: Even though we paid for a four-hour turnaround support contract, we would have to wait up to two weeks for a response from EMC XtremIO support, because they didn’t actually have the support staff to handle new volume.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had major stability issues. Over the course of two years, three of the four storage controllers failed. It took us over two weeks to get a replacement for the first.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support was the worst possible. Regardless of the fact that we paid for a four-hour turnaround, we were waiting two weeks for support calls. When we did get support calls, the engineers were up to four hours late to the datacenter. After the engineers would finally show up, we would still wait weeks for parts.

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

We previously used a large NetApp array, but the issue was storage density. We were at the point where we couldn’t add any further disk shelves to the controllers.

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

Don’t buy this array. You’re paying for loads of magic beans, since it’s mediocre at best for a platform in a rapidly growing field. Look instead at Pure Storage or something with variable block deduplication. You’ll end up spending less and getting a better product with actual support.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were not given the opportunity to evaluate alternatives. Upper management made the decision without the input of the engineers.

What other advice do I have?

Don’t consider it. Look at a platform that has actual support. EMC is a big name, but their support model is terrible with an even worse model for implementation. For a platform you literally can’t touch without them, you’re stranded on a desert island with no help in sight.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user647409
System Engineer IAAS at a financial services firm with 5,001-10,000 employees
Vendor
Deduplication and compression are the most valuable features.

Pros and Cons

  • "The guaranteed sub-millisecond response time for a 4K block."
  • "In some cases where we don’t need the flexibility of the virtualization layer, we could free up resources on the VPLEX by using the storage replication."

How has it helped my organization?

We use it together with VPLEX, which virtualizes the storage array with all its benefits.

This virtualization layer adds to the latency. With XtremIO behind the VPLEX, the response times are far below the response time we have on our other storage arrays, even with the SSD onboard.

What is most valuable?

The data reduction (deduplication and compression) is the most valuable feature in our business case.

We calculated a reduction ratio of 3:1 to get a positive case, and we actually reached a little bit higher (3,1:1). This makes our business case even better.

Even with this feature, the response time is far below what we received with our other storage arrays.

Another valuable feature is the guaranteed sub-millisecond response time for a 4K block.

What needs improvement?

It has no storage replication. The replication is done through the VPLEX. In some cases where we don’t need the flexibility of the virtualization layer, we could free up resources on the VPLEX by using the storage replication.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Until now, we have not encountered any issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not immediately have scaling issues. Scaling up is, in fact, very easy. Just “buy” an X-brick of 40TB and plug it in. The system does the rebalancing automatically. Since we use a VPLEX, the scaling limitation lies with the VPLEX.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good. The installation went smoothly from DEL EMC’s site. We did not encounter real technical issues yet, but the questions we had were all answered within an acceptable time frame.

Part replacements are done transparently without any intervention from our site.

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

We used HPE and EMC storage arrays, but the main reason we switched was the positive business case. We have a lot more flexibility (VPLEX), reduction of cost and floor space (XtremIO), due to deduplication and compression.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of the XtermIO was very straightforward in combination with VPLEX. The setup of the VPLEX was little bit more complex, but XtremIO just needed to be connected to the VPLEX.

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

XtremIO is pretty straightforward about pricing. However, you need to look at your data so you can estimate, with the advice of DEL EMC, what data reduction ratio you will reach. In our case, a 3:1 reduction ration gave us a positive case compared to other storage arrays.

What other advice do I have?

The XtremIO by itself without a virtualization layer has some drawbacks, like storage replication. I really would recommend them to install it in combination with a storage virtualization layer.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user640419
Sr Network Administrtor at a consumer goods company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
It has offloaded high IOPS processes and cleared the main arrays for bulk work.

What is most valuable?

  • Speed of operation: We had several SQL databases that pounded EMC CX4-480 and EMC VMAX 20K.
  • XtremeIO handles the flow well, running on the controller memory, rather than straight to the drives.

How has it helped my organization?

It has offloaded high IOPS processes and cleared the main arrays for bulk work.

What needs improvement?

Even with the fast SSD drives and processing on the controller, there was still a lag on the FC ports.

The initial node came with only two FC ports per controller. It was used for multiple ports on the VMAX to spread traffic over several VSANs.

For more detail:

I had 4 dH2i powerpath servers hitting it, along with 4 vmware clusters 8 host each, on a X1 brick we only had two controllers both with 2 port
So a total of 4 FC ports.

Compared to the VMAX 20K, where I had 8 ports on vlan 2, 6 ports on vlan 100, 8 ports on vlan 50, so I was able to spread the traffic around between process.
I had 2 directors on one VMAX, whereas I had 3 directors on the other VMAX.

With only 4 ports on the xtremeIO, the most I could do was send traffic on 2 ports to two different VLANS one on each controller.
So my comment was get additional ports, so the DH2I servers don’t hog all the IOPS.

Recommend getting the second brick X2 and the matrix switch, then with 8 FC connector can start spreading the traffic.

The company had me routing the data thru a fabric switch MDS9500, separate from the main traffic as this was a test.
Most of production was on 4 other MDS9500 switches.

Monitor of the switch, did not show a bottleneck going to the servers, only on the 4 8GB FC going to the XtremeIO.
Connect to different blades on the 9500.

Don’t think they have touched it since I left. Nor on the other 8 SAN units.


For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the solution for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We had some stability issues. Initially, one of the ports failed. The unit could not use a LUN larger than 2TB. After testing all our variables, it was determined that it was XtremeIO, and a patch was created.

The servers were attached with both PowerPath and VMware 5.1 datastores, via a MDS 9500 Fabric Switch network.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It didn't expand to the second Node X-2, although that was a stated option.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support was poor, even during the port or 2TB limit. It was rare to hear back from the technical analyst looking at the unit from ESRS.

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

Over my thirty years in the IT field, I have tried many solutions. I worked with:

  • NetApp
  • EMC SANs
  • Direct attached SCSI drive units
  • An IBM 4300 unit attached by VMware 2.5

How was the initial setup?

Compared to others, the setup and operation is easy. I worked at the company almost three years, learning XtremeIO with little assistance from co-workers or the vendor.

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

Even before Dell bought it, EMC pricing was steep.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Pure Storage and NetApp.

What other advice do I have?

Our company didn’t send anyone to operations training until we had the unit for two years. I would advise you to send your technical expert to take the training early on.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
CS
Systems Engineer Senior at a healthcare company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Some of the valuable features are inline deduplication and the snapshot capability. The physical architecture could use some higher levels of redundancy.

Pros and Cons

  • "The speed is extremely valuable."
  • "The physical architecture could use some higher levels of redundancy."

How has it helped my organization?

This product was the best fit for our 5000+ active VDI environment. It also works well with database use cases.

What is most valuable?

The speed is extremely valuable. It is blazing fast. The inline deduplication is amazing and the snapshot capability is very useful.

What needs improvement?

  • The physical architecture could use some higher levels of redundancy.
  • The past upgrades were highly impactful to active workloads.
  • Previous levels were also susceptible to security vulnerability scanning.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were stability issues with upgrades and general protection against data center power outages.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I did not encounter any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

I never had any issues with support on the storage array.

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

We never ran VDI on any other storage platform, although we did have any other options available: NetApp, 7-Mode/cDOT, VMAX.

How was the initial setup?

The racking and initial setup was performed by EMC services. This is the normal case for this product. The first two setups were not installed properly. However, the other five installations were perfect.

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

I was not active in this portion of the product deployment.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I never saw any active workloads on other products.

What other advice do I have?

I would make sure you do not put all your eggs in one basket on this hardware.

I would make sure updates have an extended down window and are prepared for the array to not service I/O during these updates as a worst case scenario.

It deduplicates well, but I would not run a database and the log files on the same array, to be safe.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user643908
Senior Infrastructure Engineer at a manufacturing company with 201-500 employees
Vendor
The most valuable features are deduplication and data optimization.

Pros and Cons

  • "Performance and deduplication. This is a very robust block storage option that offers both performance and data optimization."
  • "Ease of use is key in the converged and hyper-converged world that requires administrators to have both hypervisor and storage skills."

How has it helped my organization?

It allowed us to shrink our storage footprint in the datacenter and it increased our performance.

What is most valuable?

Performance and deduplication. This is a very robust block storage option that offers both performance and data optimization.

It is great when a product can deliver high-end performance capabilities while offering a very competitive price point.

What needs improvement?

  • The new UI could be simplified and the implementation should be simplified.
  • The UI is easier to use than other EMC offerings, but still takes a pure storage admin to manage and maintain.
  • Ease of use is key in the converged and hyper-converged world that requires administrators to have both hypervisor and storage skills.
  • Arrays should be “set it and forget it”, including the replication features, which should not require separate products.
  • Implementation and expansion require EMC or a partner to implement. However, to be a true scale-out solution, it should be something that customers can do themselves.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not had any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There is a limit to scalability, but we have not reached it yet.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is excellent.

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

We did have a previous solution. This allowed us to move to a smaller footprint with better performance.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very complex. Have the manufacturer or a partner install it.

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

The pricing is simple but requires other products for robust data recovery and replication.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you understand the shutdown and redundancy for this product. Test these features to protect the storage controller’s journaling.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user651555
Senior Storage Engineer with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
We can perform data warehousing and see performance stats.

Pros and Cons

  • "Ease of management, aside from the serious performance, is the best feature."
  • "I believe having more replication options comparatively to VMAX (other than RecoverPoint) would be great."

How has it helped my organization?

Prior to the XtremIO, we just could not perform the data warehousing activities that enable our company to achieve business objectives necessary for being in the ultra-competitive insurance provider world.

The acquisition of XtremIO for our data warehouse was easy to configure and set up. XtremIO is so easy to manage. It hasn't taken away from our ability to support the remainder of our existing environment.

Additionally, we use an XtremIO cluster for VDI. Again, the speed with which we are able to provide VDI enables a complete company-wide VDI rollout!!

What is most valuable?

Ease of management, aside from the serious performance, is the best feature. We can set it and forget it. We can quickly see performance stats in case there is ever any question.

What needs improvement?

The upgrade ability seems to have improved. I believe having more replication options comparatively to VMAX (other than RecoverPoint) would be great. Maybe something like SRDF (which is symm only replication, but something like this).

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not had stability issues with either environment (DataWarehouse or VDI). It has been rock solid.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did have some initial issues, given the 3.x version we were on. We ended up migrating from 10TB bricks to a 20TB brick cluster when we upgraded.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer support, when we have needed it, has been OK. We recently had some volume configuration issues related to VMware ESXi 5.5 and it took entirely too long (over eight hours) to get us back going.

It seemed that it was not because of XtremIO (or VMware for that matter). They were on the bridge call together, and didn't offer much of a solution.

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

We were using Nimble Storage and HPE and had just purchased EMC Symmetrix VMAX 10k.

How was the initial setup?

We just received a new system which was extremely simple to install. Professional services performed the install, but we helped.

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

It's not cheap, but it absolutely gets the job done. I don't have any real comment regarding licensing specifically.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Nimble Storage and NetApp solutions, but nothing compared.

What other advice do I have?

Do an on-premise PoC to see how simple it is and test the performance.

Run through a Mitrend data analysis if you want an understanding of deduplication rates for the mileage you will get out of it.

You can run it to 100%. However, why would you want to risk of hitting the wall if you run out of storage?!

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user651834
Technology Solutions Director, Converged Infrastructure at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
It can run workloads with little design consideration.

Pros and Cons

  • "XtremIO’s capability to run any workload without much in the way of design considerations makes this very easy to use and size."
  • "Right now, external appliances are needed to replicate XtremIO to XtremIO, or to another EMC system."

How has it helped my organization?

The fact that we can put up to five times more data on the XtremIO X-Brick prevents us from having to buy large amounts of disks.

This enclosure occupies six rack units of space, which means we aren’t paying a lot of money for rack space in our co-location facility.

What is most valuable?

XtremIO’s capability to run any workload without much in the way of design considerations makes this very easy to use and size. The configuration of the product is simple, as is creating and presenting volumes.

The snapshot capabilities, that hardly consume any disk space, are also impressive.

What needs improvement?

If Dell/EMC were to add native replication to the XtremIO, that would be a great improvement.

Right now, external appliances are needed to replicate XtremIO to XtremIO, or to another EMC system.

Having built-in replication will cut the cost of data recovery solutions by removing the expensive appliances and the software required to make the data flow between the two sites.

Until the release of XtremIO X2 this summer, there is currently no “built-in” replication capabilities between XtremIO appliances. This is a feature that some competitors have that XtremIO Gen 1 does not.

In order to replicate block data from XtremIO to XtremIO, or XtremIO to another EMC product, a customer must purchase RecoverPoint appliances and licenses.

To replicate virtual machines, you can either buy RecoverPoint appliances and licenses, vSphere replication and licenses, Zerto, Veeam, or another product.

Buying these add-ons increases the cost of maintaining redundant copies of XtremIO data.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have consumed ~756GB of disk on a 2-brick cluster and have much more than the physical capacity of the system provisioned. There have been no problems with scalability at all.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would give technical support the highest rating. Dell/EMC appears to have employed the team that developed XtremIO. Deep product questions or operational questions make it to them.

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

We were using VNX. The compression and deduplication numbers, as well as the level of effort needed to build RAID groups on this storage processor array to support workloads, caused us to consider XtremIO.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was totally as expected.

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

This is the best flash array on the market for high-end workloads, so expect to pay for that. But the support subscription cost is fixed for seven years, which made it easier for us to plan on the maintenance costs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other options.

What other advice do I have?

If you have the workloads that require the performance that XtremIO provides, without having to consider what workloads you are throwing at this array, then this solution is for you.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are a Titanium Partner with Dell | EMC.
it_user651519
Director at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
Valuable features include deduplication and cloning capability. Management and reporting need improvement.

Pros and Cons

  • "Deduplication and cloning capability"
  • "Management and reporting need improvement."

How has it helped my organization?

Reduced the Oracle database refresh times (10TB) from 48 hours to 4 hours.

What is most valuable?

  • I/O performance and low latency
  • Deduplication and cloning capability

What needs improvement?

Management and reporting need improvement. Cloning could be easier.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not had stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not had scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is excellent.

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

We used EMC VMAX. Latency was inconsistent and it lacked cloning and deduplication.

How was the initial setup?

Cloning was complicated due to necessary scripting.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Oracle Exadata, EMC VMAX (SSD), and EMC VMAX.

What other advice do I have?

  • Provide clear requirements
  • Test to verify that the results are as expected
  • Spend time to carefully integrate it into your support model, including reporting/dashboards and proactive monitoring.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
TD
Director of Infrastructure Services at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Compression, deduplication, and snapshots are the most valuable features.

Pros and Cons

  • "Snapshots are valuable because of their seamless nature, as well as the minimal space each snapshot takes."
  • "It needs a way to determine the deduplication of each LUN and what the impact would be if we were to move data from one LUN to another."

How has it helped my organization?

Our organization has seen our customers' performance increase substantially for their database and VDI applications using this product.

What is most valuable?

Compression and deduplication are valuable because they help reduce the storage footprint required for our customer’s environments.

Snapshots are valuable because of their seamless nature, as well as the minimal space each snapshot takes.

What needs improvement?

The GUI is still Java based, and this needs to be fixed. It needs a way to determine the deduplication of each LUN and what the impact would be if we were to move data from one LUN to another.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been some stability issues with the code that have been corrected in later versions.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We understand the way the platform can scale, so we scale within the parameters.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would give technical support a rating of 7/10.

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

Our customers switched from the older generation of VNX to XtremIO. It was ten times faster and deduplication/compression allowed for a much smaller footprint in the data center.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup can be complex if there is an issue during the setup. Otherwise, this is not too bad to install.

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

Pricing and licensing are in line with other products from other manufacturers. You get what you pay for.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

At the time, we did not evaluate other alternatives.

What other advice do I have?

The flash market is saturated with vendors and their products. This product is an all-around solid player. However, make sure that deduplication is a major factor before purchasing. If snapshot and snapshot consolidation is key, then this is the product for you.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are a partner with Dell/EMC.
it_user641274
Systems Architect at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
The most valuable features are low latency, high I/O, and large bandwidth. When you lose one of the scale-out nodes, your hosts will see a large drop in I/O.

What is most valuable?

  • Low latency
  • High I/O
  • Large bandwidth
  • Helps my SAN perform at a high rate

How has it helped my organization?

It has improved the end-user experience:

  • More fluid VDI
  • Faster SQL searches
  • Quicker data migrations

What needs improvement?

Replication: XtremIO has none

Controller failover: When you lose one of the scale-out nodes on XtremIO, your hosts will see a large drop in I/O while it occurs and EMC is unaware of how their controllers work. As it is shown in their demos, the work load after a failure is spread across each node. But if you look at the “ACTUAL” process, the work is loaded on each node until that node gets to 100%. Then, the work goes to the next node and repeats. So, in the event of a failure, you will have several nodes at 100% and others at 25% load.

Data recovery: In the event of a dual power supply failure, the array has to be recovered from a backup.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used EMC for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We did have stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not had any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is average. EMC has no telemetry.

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

We switched for performance and cost.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward.

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

There are better solutions available.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Pure Storage, Nimble Storage, NetApp, IBM, and Cisco.

What other advice do I have?

Don’t use this product. There are better solutions out there.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user650010
Senior Systems Engineer at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
The most valuable features are IOPS performance, thin provisioning, and deduplication savings.

Pros and Cons

  • "Very good IOPS performance"
  • "They can improve the product by providing an HTML5-based interface instead of the Java GUI based application."

How has it helped my organization?

We gain, on the average, 6:1 deduplication with compression. This ratio represents a substantial amount of space savings. Our SLA has improved to 99.9%.

What is most valuable?

  • Very good IOPS performance
  • Thin-provisioning and deduplication savings
  • Natively thin-provisioned

What needs improvement?

They can improve the product by providing an HTML5-based interface instead of the Java GUI based application.

We use the dashboard of the Java based Windows application to monitor the storage array’s current IOPS and latency metrics.

However, we also require direct firewall access open to the XMS server as we monitor from a different location. I don’t believe the Java based GUI application is proxy aware.

So, if the XMS application server could be monitored through an HTML browser interface, it should then be proxy aware, making life a little simpler.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not had stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not had scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good and always available.

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

We used DAS Solutions. We were not getting the required IOPS and SAN stability, and that was a concern.

How was the initial setup?

The installation was done by a third-party.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated NetApp.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you understand the basic fundamentals of SAN, IOPS, and data deduplication.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AW
Solutions Architect at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Provides Integrated Copy Data Management. I would like to see an integration of the management server.

What is most valuable?

  • Integrated Copy Data Management (iCDM): It allows instant creation of high performance copies by accelerating the environmental testing with no need for redoing builds. A duplicate copy can be spawned up for DEV- trunk/ Integration/Test with QA.
  • Virtual Desktop infrastructure (VDI): Where one consolidated infrastructure that leverages off resources can act as a baseline and be locked down with a secure image to all call center agents.
  • Rapid Inline Deduplication/ Compression: Helps capacity planning to reduce the amount of SAN needed. Prevents the deduplication of the same data. This can allow ratios of 2:1, or even as high as 7:1, depending upon what data subsets are used.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Utilizing the snapshot technology, (recovery point), has been great for development.
  • Inline data reduction using deduplication and/or compression has improved batch times for one of our PostgreSQL database environments.

What needs improvement?

  • The management server needs to be integrated. XtremIO VNX and VMAX have separate management software stacks for managing the various arrays.
  • We would also like to see one universal management view into all these sub-systems. For example, IBM SVC and Pure Storage Purity each have one universal software management view.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for just over three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The earlier version before Version 4.0 had several stability issues. It is now more stable, albeit not 100%.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would give technical support a rating of 6/10.

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

We have a two vendor approach with HDS and EMC.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward, providing that the correct code levels were applied before initializing.

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

When considering pricing and licensing issues, note the following:

  • The 8192 volume limit
  • Snapshots count as logical volume
  • Every replicated snapshot also counts

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Pure Storage, but on a FA-420 controller.

What other advice do I have?

A testing and integration PoC needs to be done with full diligence.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AN
AGT Infrastructure Operations at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
The deduplication and snapshot copies are valuable.

What is most valuable?

  • Dedupe, because we achieve 3.5X space savings with XtremIO
  • Snapshot copies
  • Ease of use
  • Improvement in storage efficiency without compromising on performance

How has it helped my organization?

We have just used the product in a proof of concept test and we are yet to move it into production.

What needs improvement?

Integration with other EMC SAN storage array ecosystems like VMAX3, Unity, etc., especially for consistency group protection: This will help to consistently recover applications which are spread across multiple product lines like VMAX3 and XtremIO for various reasons.

I could give an example of SQL DB hosted in EMC VMAX array with SRDF replication to a remote site for disaster recovery.

If we have to move part of the volumes (like TempDB, Indexes,logs. Etc) into XtremIO and part remains in VMAX, the whole server won’t be able to able to get recovered with consistent point in time of recovery due to different replication technologies in 2 different platforms (VMAX and XtremIO).

I meant to say that it may be perfect for other environments but not for environments which are heavily dependent upon SRDF based replication. There might be ways to get around like implementing Recoverpoint for VMAX and XtremIO but the integration was complex in our use case.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the product for one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not encountered any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is good.

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

We did not use any other solution beforehand.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward with a very simple-to-use interface.

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

All the software-inclusive licensing simplifies the cost model.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other options.

What other advice do I have?

Mileages vary, so please test the dedupe rate and performance metrics you are achieving for your workload, before implementing in production.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are a strategic business partner.
it_user568230
Windows Administrator at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
I appreciate its ease of use and compression rates.

What is most valuable?

I appreciate its ease of use and simplicity. The device is painless to configure and has great deduplication and compression rates.

How has it helped my organization?

We have saved costs on storage and our users are getting quick response times for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

What needs improvement?

The only item that I can think of, is the ability to add more XtremeIO bricks as one logical partition rather than two separate ones.

For how long have I used the solution?

Two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not encountered any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support depends on the technician. Usually most technicians are knowledgeable but sometimes you get a few that lack the knowledge.

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

We previously used a VNX series storage array. The array was not as fast as an all-flash array.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was straightforward.

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

Don’t be scared; it is worth it in the end. EMC and the vendor will work with you.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Tintri and it was not suitable for us.

What other advice do I have?

Once you use it, you will not regret it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user566907
IT Analyst at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Flash array with deduplication and compression. I would like to see improvements in the database workloads.

What is most valuable?

Flash array with deduplication and compression.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Helps VDI users for business growth
  • Provides good performance
  • Cost effective
  • For the VDI environment, deduplication is effective. The OS deployed will have the same data again.
  • Flash provides good performance

What needs improvement?

I would like to see improvements in the database workloads. During the testing of database workloads, we found it slow to process I/O requests. This may be due to the compression/deduplication feature available in the product which is still being taken care of by the same controllers.

The product designer should provide a recommendation for which type of workload deduplication/compression will be effective.

This is good to have for VDI, but not for high database workloads though its flash array.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for the past two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were some stability issues initially, but there aren’t many issues now.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I did not encounter any issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good.

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

We had multiple tier storage without deduplication/compression. We switched due to cost and performance.

How was the initial setup?

The solution is easy to implement and administer.

What other advice do I have?

This solution is good for VDI environments, but not recommended for database workloads.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are partners.
ITCS user
Independent Analyst and Advisory Consultant at Server StorageIO - www.storageio.com
Consultant
Top 20
XtremIO, XtremSW and XtremSF EMC flash SSD portfolio redefined
EMC (@EMCflash) today announced some new, enhanced, renamed and a rebrand flash solid-state device (SSD) storage portfolio around theme of XtremIO. XtremIO was the startup company with a new all flash SSD storage array that EMC announced they were buying in May 2012. Since that announcement, Project “X” has been used when referring to the product now known as XtremIO (e.g. all flash new storage array). Synopsis of announcement - Product rollout and selective availability of the new all flash SSD array XtremIO - Rename server-side PCIe ssd flash cards from VFCache to XtremSF - New XtremSF models including enhanced multi-level cell (eMLC) with larger capacities - Rename VFCache caching software to XtremSW (enables cache mode vs. target mode) What was…

EMC (@EMCflash) today announced some new, enhanced, renamed and a rebrand flash solid-state device (SSD) storage portfolio around theme of XtremIO. XtremIO was the startup company with a new all flash SSD storage array that EMC announced they were buying in May 2012.

Since that announcement, Project “X” has been used when referring to the product now known as XtremIO (e.g. all flash new storage array).

Synopsis of announcement

- Product rollout and selective availability of the new all flash SSD array XtremIO
- Rename server-side PCIe ssd flash cards from VFCache to XtremSF
- New XtremSF models including enhanced multi-level cell (eMLC) with larger capacities
- Rename VFCache caching software to XtremSW (enables cache mode vs. target mode)

What was previously announced:

-Buying the company XtremeIO
-Productizing the new all flash array as part of Project “X”
-It would formally announce the new product in 2013 (which is now)
- VFCache and later enhancements during 2012.

Overall, I give an Atta boy and Atta girl to the EMC crew for a Product Defined Announcement (PDA) extending their flash portfolio to complement their different customers and prospects various environment needs. Now let us sit back and watch EMC, NetApp and others step up their flash dance moves to see who will out flash the others in the eXtreme flash games, including software defined storage, software defined data centers, software defined flash, and software defined cache.

Some updates:

http://storageioblog.com/emc-announces-xtremio-general-availability-part/

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
rrukhaiyar573
Cloud services professional at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
Initial setup of this product following stacking and racking servers is straightforward.

What is most valuable?

Compression and de-duplication are the most valuable features, especially when compared to other All-flash arrays like Solidfire, Violin Memory or Pure Storage.

How has it helped my organization?

Overall space usage has decreased, plus input/output operations per second (IOPS). Performance has increased exponentially.

What needs improvement?

The replication and DR capabilities could be improved, since there is no native replication technique with XtremIO. EMC wants customers to rely on EMC RecoverPoint for those needs or VPLEX for DR sorts. Native replication is needed.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for 3 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I did not encounter any stability issues, it is very user friendly and easy to use.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability was non-hazardous and even online.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support was exemplary with a very fast response time by Dell EMC.

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

We used to employ high-end and mid-range products from multiple vendors like EMC and NetApp before we switched to XtremIO for good performance and space economical-ability.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup of this product following stacking and racking servers is straightforward. The product is not complex in its modus-operandi and you have the bonus of sources and support availability.

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

Pricing is definitely on the higher side and licensing plus maintenance can come as a package. I recommend this as a good negotiation technique with EMC.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We first evaluated and selected VIMM (NVRAM chip) arrays which were faster than XtremIO but costlier. We then looked at new players like Nutanix, and even ScaleIO. But in the end, XtremIO turned out to be cost-effective and at the same time worth spending for the change.

What other advice do I have?

Be it XtremIO or anything else, you need to see that requirements are aligned with the following:

- Data Centre space and cost.
- Storage growth trend and capacity forecast.
- Application performance and requirements.
- Operational readiness and implementation timelines.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Sr. Technology Engineer at a insurance company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
It provides good user experience and replication for DR purposes. It should have native replication.

What is most valuable?

Its consistent speed and replication features are most valuable to us. It provides a better user experience and replication for DR purposes.

How has it helped my organization?

In the VDI arena, it helped speed up VDI sessions and also helped improve the amount of VDIs versus disks.

What needs improvement?

Replication: EMC should have native replication ability, not something you have to take an outage for in order to install, i.e., if you did not purchase the replication when you rolled out the storage array.

Native replication is important for a few reasons:

  • If something goes wrong, it gives you more of a "one throat to choke" scenario, meaning you only have to talk to one or two vendors.
  • Native replication is usually cheaper, especially IP replication (versus fiber-based replication).
  • When replication is native, you can usually have more insight at to what is replicated and what is not, instead of having to query various different things to get an answer.
  • Native replication is usually easier to set up and maintain. It also has little less administrative work and overhead costs.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution for about two years.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would give the technical support a 8/10 rating.

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

We had VDI running on another storage array. Thus, we switched to this solution so that we could utilize the speed and the inline deduplication.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you understand and check how EMC’s replication and licensing policy for replication works.

Also make sure you are at the latest code and fully understand how the grouping and clustering of hosts on the storage array works.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user560211
Sr. Storage Engineer at a consultancy with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
For me, the valuable features are Deduplication and Compression. I have unfortunately had some bad experience with bugs and failed upgrades.

What is most valuable?

Data services: Deduplication and Compression. XtremIO performs both these data efficiencies in-line with no latency cost to the hosts. Also the APIs, using APIs you can provision an entire ESXi cluster using PowerShell and VC credentials within a few minutes.

How has it helped my organization?

I have leveraged XtremIO to reduce data center foot print significantly saving my company tens of thousands annually in floor space, power, and cooling.

What needs improvement?

Volume limits of 8192 per XMS and stability. I have unfortunately had some bad experience with bugs and failed upgrades. It has improved with the new 4.0 code but it’s still not as good as typical EMC.

XtremIO and Pure Storage have a volume limit. XtremIO is 8192 logical volumes per XMS management server. XMS can manage multiple XIO clutters, if you do that your volume count is 8192 across all the clusters XMS is managing. Pure Storage has just released code to go to 5000. A logical volume on XIO is any volume, whether it’s a snapshot or a volume presented to a host. Whereas Pure Storage only counts a snapshot that is hydrated.

For how long have I used the solution?

Two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

See my comments above regarding room for improvement.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Not yet.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have had pretty good support including being escalated to engineering very quickly, this could be considered a good thing or a bad thing…

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

Mostly all VMAX, we switched for the consolidation of datacenter space.

How was the initial setup?

It’s more complicated than a VNX but easier than a VMAX. The fact the array has a separate management server and that server has its own code levels that are not in line with the array can be confusing, much like Solutions Enabler. I highly recommend always purchasing a physical XMS and only use the virtual appliance in a pinch.

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

If you plan on replicating XIO to XIO you will have to buy RecoverPoint, XIO to XIO only needs SE RecoverPoint lic but that won’t allow you to use RPA to migrate from VNX/VMAX to XIO so consider the EX lic. Remember ever snapshot counts as a logical volume so every replication snapshot counts toward your overall 8192 volume limit. I highly recommend large LUNs to keep your volume count low. We are using 4TB or larger.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I POC’d XIO, Pure Storage, and IBM SVC with TMS array. We chose XIO because of its scalable by adding bricks where as Pure Storage you have to buy more arrays creating islands and more management. Also, had some issues with PURE post processing of data services. We felt the SVC for IBM introduced significant latency to their AFA TMS. TMS alone is the fastest All Flash Array but it doesn’t have any data services, that is what SVC is used for.

What other advice do I have?

Consider your migration methods to this array and know your data. For instance, if you are running Windows 2012 you may consider disabling ODX on the entire array which is disruptable or disabling on every single 2012 host. Talk to your SE about this.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user560262
Principal Storage Engineer at a tech consulting company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
We use it for multi-version databases. We've seen reduced DEV/UAT refresh periods.

What is most valuable?

Snapshots, deduplication, compression – We are using the XtremIO for multi-version databases, in this respect being able to snapshot a database consistency group to create DEV/UAT versions while utilizing deduplication/thin provisioning/compression allows us to maintain the numerous copies of each database we need. To go along with that, being able to refresh any snapshot set with the contents of any other snapshot set (in the same lineage) allowed us to reduce our refresh times from hours to minutes.

How has it helped my organization?

DEV/UAT refresh periods reduced from hours or longer to under five minutes.

What needs improvement?

Volume count. A hard limit of 8192 volumes per cluster. This becomes an issue with DR replication and RecoverPoint and trying to maintain the best RPO possible.

There is a limit of 8192 volumes/LUNS that can be created. This includes all volumes/LUNs presented to hosts along with all snapshots, so it becomes very easy to bump up against the limits in certain circumstances. For us, we use RecoverPoint to replication between XtremIO devices, and since RecoverPoint creates a snapshot of each volume to allow for point in time recovery that results in a lot of snapshots that have to be accounted for.

For how long have I used the solution?

One year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

None, the product has been working as expect without issue.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

None that weren’t expected. This is a scale out product, not scale up or scale up and out. You can go from 1 XIO brick to 2, 2 to 4 and then 4 to 8. If you know this up front it is very easy to plan around.

How are customer service and technical support?

Extremely good. EMC has been outstanding with support, especially when using their call-home utility ESRS.

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

Yes, we had a previous all flash array vendor, however we encountered many issues with support, scalability and a general lack of data efficiency services that ultimately were more important than all flash performance.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is very straightforward. There is a configuration workbook you complete to provide the basic information (IP addresses, domain names, mail, SNMP, etc.) and work with a Dell EMC project manager to get it installed. Array comes preconfigured from a storage standpoint, so once it is up and running you can start allocating storage immediately.

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

Not much to a basic XIO installation, everything is licensed initially. There is no built in replication or other business continuity features, if you need that you will need to look at products like VPLEX to sit in front of the XtremIO.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

What other advice do I have?

Understand your workloads and use-cases. This is not a perfect solution for all flash workloads. If you cannot take advantage of deduplication and compression there may be better/cheaper solutions. If you want simplified replication, this is not the product for you. For us, performance wasn’t the prime driver. We wanted a scalable solution and our workloads could take advantage of deduplication extremely well so this was an obvious choice.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user234747
Practice Manager - Cloud, Automation & DevOps at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
This is the first time I have witnessed 400,000 IOPS in any kind of enterprise lab.
Originally posted at vcdx133.com. Today I completed the initial performance testing of my EMC XtremIO PoC system. I wanted to take a shot at it myself before the EMC SMEs come in to tune and optimise the configuration. In a single word, “Wow!” This is the first time I have witnessed 400,000 IOPS in any kind of enterprise lab. I look forward to seeing what additional tricks the experts can make my “X-bricks” perform. Business Requirement for XtremIO I can imagine people reading this and asking, “Why? It is so expensive!”. Well, the organisation I work for uses monolithic storage (EMC Symmetrix VMAX) which has been sized for capacity, and after 2 years of use we are feeling the impact of performance degradation as we consume the total capacity of the solution. My business…

Originally posted at vcdx133.com.

Today I completed the initial performance testing of my EMC XtremIO PoC system. I wanted to take a shot at it myself before the EMC SMEs come in to tune and optimise the configuration. In a single word, “Wow!” This is the first time I have witnessed 400,000 IOPS in any kind of enterprise lab. I look forward to seeing what additional tricks the experts can make my “X-bricks” perform.

Business Requirement for XtremIO

I can imagine people reading this and asking, “Why? It is so expensive!”. Well, the organisation I work for uses monolithic storage (EMC Symmetrix VMAX) which has been sized for capacity, and after 2 years of use we are feeling the impact of performance degradation as we consume the total capacity of the solution. My business requirement is to create a small but powerful “High Performance” cluster of compute, network and storage that will provide low latency, high I/O resources for my business critical applications that are currently suffering. This XtremeIO PoC is an attempt to meet that business requirement; I am also seriously considering hyper-converged infrastructure and server-side flash-cache acceleration as well.

Iometer Test Configuration

  • 3 x HS22 blades with 2 x 4C Intel Xeon X5570 2.9GHz CPU, 96GB RAM and QLogic HBAs per blade running ESXi 5.5 Update 2 (Boot from DAS)
  • IBM BladeCenter Chassis with Brocade Switch modules connected to XtremIO chassis with 6 x 8Gb FC
  • IBM BladeCenter Cisco 1GE Switch Modules connected to Core switch network
  • EMC XtremIO X-bricks version 2.4.1 with EMC XtremIO Storage Management Application version 2.4.1
  • 8 x 1TB Volumes (Encryption enabled) mounted as VMFS-5 Datastores with VMware NMP set to “Round Robin”
  • 8 x Iometer Dynamos running on Windows Server 2008 R2 with 3 x 40GB vDisks connected to Paravirtual vSCSI Adapters (1:0, 2:0, 3:0)
  • 1 x Iometer Manager running on Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Test 512b, 4K and All-in-one Access Specifications (Two variants: 100% Read 0% Random, 0% Read 100% Rand)

Iometer Test Results

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user234747
Practice Manager - Cloud, Automation & DevOps at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
The XtremIO cost would be slightly cheaper than the VMAX, and 1/3rd the size.
Originally posted at vcdx133.com. I am currently testing my EMC XtremIO PoC system with EMC. One of the great benefits of XtremIO is the Deduplication feature, which at a minimum will be 10:1, so the experts tell me and will be even better in version 3.0. My current Symmetrix VMAX configurations are 250TB and 350TB of tiered SSD, 15KFC and SATA storage for 2 sites. So assuming a 10:1 dedupe ratio, could I replace my two Symmetrix VMAX solutions with two XtremIO systems of 2 X-bricks (with 20TB model)? It almost seems too good to be true! From a price perspective, the XtremIO cost would be slightly cheaper than the VMAX (after the highly combative process of vendor bashing, sorry – negotiation, in my region) and from a space perspective 1/3rd the size (with SAN Fabric). No need…

Originally posted at vcdx133.com.

I am currently testing my EMC XtremIO PoC system with EMC. One of the great benefits of XtremIO is the Deduplication feature, which at a minimum will be 10:1, so the experts tell me and will be even better in version 3.0. My current Symmetrix VMAX configurations are 250TB and 350TB of tiered SSD, 15KFC and SATA storage for 2 sites. So assuming a 10:1 dedupe ratio, could I replace my two Symmetrix VMAX solutions with two XtremIO systems of 2 X-bricks (with 20TB model)? It almost seems too good to be true! From a price perspective, the XtremIO cost would be slightly cheaper than the VMAX (after the highly combative process of vendor bashing, sorry – negotiation, in my region) and from a space perspective 1/3rd the size (with SAN Fabric). No need to state the obvious about performance.

UPDATE: 10:1 is too good to be true, EMC experts tell me 1.x-2:1 is more realistic for business critical databases. V3.0 will add compression, which will increase space efficiency by a small percentage also. So hold your plans to drop spinning disks from your data center.

The picture below shows my VNX VG8 NAS Gateway with a 3 bay, 2 Engine Symmetrix VMAX 20K on the left (yes, I run entirely with NFSv3 and am 99% virtualised with vSphere 5.5 on Cisco UCS – I built my own vBlock!) and my XtremIO PoC system on the right (with two X-bricks, but can handle four 20TB X-bricks in the same rack). Could this be my new motto? “Spinning disks are a waste of space, flash is packed!”


Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Solutions Architect with 51-200 employees
Vendor
NetApp vs. XtremIO vs. HDS
Flash and Hybrid block arrays Flash has changed storage forever and almost every new array purchase needs to have some degree of flash included, so the market now offers three distinct types of array: Hybrid - Exploits the performance of flash and the lower cost of HDDs All-Flash hybrid - Packaged to deliver a low cost per GB of flash Ground-up design - Purely designed for flash with no support for HDDs As always there is a huge range of price points, due to the architecture, features and performance scaling, for these arrays. Efficiency features are critical in some use cases (i.e. VDI), but less so in many others and performance scaling for the majority of solutions is substantially higher than legacy arrays built just for HDDs. Historically array performance scaling was limited…

Flash and Hybrid block arrays

Flash has changed storage forever and almost every new array purchase needs to have some degree of flash included, so the market now offers three distinct types of array:

  • Hybrid - Exploits the performance of flash and the lower cost of HDDs
  • All-Flash hybrid - Packaged to deliver a low cost per GB of flash
  • Ground-up design - Purely designed for flash with no support for HDDs

As always there is a huge range of price points, due to the architecture, features and performance scaling, for these arrays. Efficiency features are critical in some use cases (i.e. VDI), but less so in many others and performance scaling for the majority of solutions is substantially higher than legacy arrays built just for HDDs.

Historically array performance scaling was limited to the number of HDDs that it could support (i.e. the drives were the bottleneck), with Flash the drives are so fast the bottleneck moves to the controllers. The result of this is that the entry-level arrays will not scale performance beyond 20-30 SSDs so it is very important to have an idea of your ultimate performance scaling requirements.

For most use cases today a hybrid array that has been optimised for flash is the best fit, but there are certainly workloads that need the capabilities of a ground-up all-flash design. As always your requirements and budget will dictate the best fit so let’s take a look at what EMC, HDS and NetApp have to offer:

EMC VNX EMC XTREMIO HDS HUS 100/VM NETAPP FAS NETAPP E/EF-SERIES
Type Hybrid/All-Flash Hybrid Ground-up Design Hybrid Hybrid/All-Flash Hybrid Hybrid/All-Flash Hybrid
Largest Flash Drive 800 GB eMLC 800 GB eMLC 400 GB eMLC
1.6 TB FMD (150)/3.2 TB FMD (VM)
1.6 TB eMLC 1.6 TB eMLC
Replacement of drives under maintenance when write limit reached No Yes No (SSD)
Yes (FMD)
Yes Yes
FC, FCoE & iSCSI Yes FC and iSCSI FC and iSCSI (100)
FC (VM)
Yes FC and iSCSI (E2700)
FC or iSCSI (E5500/EF550)
Writeable Snapshots Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Integrated Remote Replication Yes No Yes Yes Yes
De-duplication Optional (Post) Always On (Inline) No Optional (Post) No
Compression Optional (Post) Always On (Inline) No (Inline for FMDs) Optional (Inline or Post) No
Thin Provisioning Optional Always On Optional Optional Optional
Flash Caching of HDDs Yes N/A No Yes Reads (E-Series)
N/A (EF-Series)
Auto-Tiering (Up to 3 tiers) Yes N/A Yes No No (E-Series)
N/A (EF-Series)

Read the rest of this post here

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are Partners with NetApp and EMC.
it_user184665
Independent IT Analyst with 51-200 employees
Vendor
It clearly needs some improvements here and there but this product is maturing very quickly.
EMC XtremIO most interesting characteristic? Predictability. Last week, thanks to Tech Field Day Extra, I attended a presentation from the EMC’s XtremIO team. Some of my concerns about this array are still there but there is no doubt that this product is maturing very quickly and enhancements are released almost on a monthly basis… and it’s clear that it has something to say. A rant about All Flash In these days, contrary to the general (and Gartner?) thinking, I’m developing the idea that considering All Flash Arrays a separate category is a totally non sense ( you can also find an interesting post from Chris Evans about this topic). Flash memory is only a media and storage should be always categorized looking at its characteristics, features and functionalities. For…

EMC XtremIO most interesting characteristic? Predictability.

Last week, thanks to Tech Field Day Extra, I attended a presentation from the EMC’s XtremIO team. Some of my concerns about this array are still there but there is no doubt that this product is maturing very quickly and enhancements are released almost on a monthly basis… and it’s clear that it has something to say.

A rant about All Flash

In these days, contrary to the general (and Gartner?) thinking, I’m developing the idea that considering All Flash Arrays a separate category is a totally non sense ( you can also find an interesting post from Chris Evans about this topic). Flash memory is only a media and storage should be always categorized looking at its characteristics, features and functionalities. For example, I could build a USB-keys based array at home, it’s AFA after all… but would you dare saving your primary data into it? Will it be fast? (you don’t have to answer, of course!)
The fact that a vendor uses Flash, Disks, RAM or a combination of them to deliver its promises is only a consequence of designing choices and we have to look at the architecture (both hardware/software) as a whole to understand its real world positioning. Resiliency, availability, data services, performance, scalability, power consumption and so on, are the characteristics you still have to consider to evaluate if an array is good for a job or another.

Back to XtremIO

In this particular case, If we go back and look deeply into XtremIO design we will find that the system is equipped with plenty of RAM which is heavily leveraged to grant better constant performance and the highest predictability. In fact, looking at the charts shown during the presentation (around minute 14 of the video below), you’ll find that the system, no matter the workload, delivers constant latency well under the 1ms barrier.

The product, which has finally received updates enabling all common data services expected on a modern storage array (replication is still missing though), doesn’t shine for power consumption, used rack space or other kinds of efficiencies (at this time it’s also impossibile to mix different type of disks for example). But again, granting first class performance and predictability is always the result of a give-and-take.

XtremIO is based on a scale-out architecture with a redundant infiniband backend. Different configurations are available starting from a single brick (a dual controller system and its tray populated with 12 eMLC drives, out of the 25 available) up to a six-brick configuration for a total of 90TB (usable capacity before deduplication/compression). No one gave me prices… but you know, if you ask the price you can’t afford it (and, of course, they are very careful to that because $/GB really depends on the size of the array and deduplication ratio you can obtain from your data).

Why it is important

XtremIO is strongly focused on performance and on how it’s delivered. From this point of view it clearly targets traditional enterprise tier 1 applications and it can be considered a good competitor in that space. It clearly needs some improvements here and there but EMC is showing all its power with the impressive quantity of enhancements that are continuously added.

You know what? From my point of view, the worst part of EMC XtremIO story is that there isn’t a simple and transparent migration path from the VMAX/VNX, which would be of great help for the end user (and EMC salesforce)…

First published here.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Chris Gurley
Federal Civ/Intel Engineering Lead at a tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
XtremIO Gen2 delivers. There's potential for improvement, efficiencies, and even hybrid considerations.
Several months ago I walked through some of the issues we faced when XtremIO hit the floor and found it not to be exactly what the marketing collateral might present. While the product was very much a 1.0 (in spite of its Gen2 name), EMC Support gave a full-court-press response to the issues, and our account team delivered on additional product. Now it’s 100% production and we live/die by its field performance. So how’s it doing? For an organized rundown, I’ll hit the high points of Justin Warren’s Storage Field Day 5 (SFD5) review and append a few of my own notes Scale-Out vs. Scale-Up: The Impact of Sharing Compression: Needed & Coming Snapshots & Replication XtremIO > Alternatives? It Depends Scale-Out vs. Scale-Up: The Impact of Sharing True to Justin’s review, XtremIO…

Several months ago I walked through some of the issues we faced when XtremIO hit the floor and found it not to be exactly what the marketing collateral might present. While the product was very much a 1.0 (in spite of its Gen2 name), EMC Support gave a full-court-press response to the issues, and our account team delivered on additional product. Now it’s 100% production and we live/die by its field performance. So how’s it doing?

For an organized rundown, I’ll hit the high points of Justin Warren’s Storage Field Day 5 (SFD5) review and append a few of my own notes.

  • Scale-Out vs. Scale-Up: The Impact of Sharing
  • Compression: Needed & Coming
  • Snapshots & Replication
  • XtremIO > Alternatives? It Depends

Scale-Out vs. Scale-Up: The Impact of Sharing

True to Justin’s review, XtremIO practically scales up. Anything else is disruptive. EMC Support does their best to make up for this situation by readily offering swing hardware, but it’s still an impact. Storage vMotion works for us, but I’m sure spare hardware isn’t the panacea for everyone, especially those with physical servers.

The impact of sharing is key as well. XtremIO sharing everything can mean more than just the good stuff. In April, ours “shared” a panic over the InfiniBand connection when EMC replaced a storage controller to address one bad FC port. I believe they’ve fixed that issue (or widely publicized to their staff how not to swap an SC in a way that leads to panic, until code can protect), but it was production-down for us. Thankfully we were only one foot in, so our key systems kept going on other storage. We’ve seemed to find the InfiniBand exceptions, so I do not think this is a cause for widespread worry. ‘Just stating the facts.

I could elaborate further, but choosing XtremIO means being prepared to swing your data for disruptive activities. If you expect the need to expand, plan for that–rack space, power, connections, etc for the swing hardware, or whatever other method you choose.

Compression: Needed & Coming

This was the deficit that led to us needing four times the XtremIO capacity to meet our Pure POC’s abilities. At the time, we thought Pure achieved a “deduplication” ratio of 4.5 to 1 and were sorely disappointed when XtremIO didn’t. Then we realized it was data “reduction”, which incorporated compression and deduplication. Pure’s dedupe is likely still more efficient since it uses variable block sizes (like EMC Avamar), but variable takes time and post-processing.

When compression comes in the XIOS 3.0 release later this year, I hope to see our data reduction ratio converge with what we saw on Pure. As it stands, we fluctuate around 1.4 to 1 deduplication (which feels like the wrong word–dedupe seems to imply a minimum of 2:1). I choose to ignore the “Overall Efficiency” ratio at the top, as it is a combination of dedupe and thin provisioning savings, the latter of which nearly everyone has. We’ve thin provisioned for nearly 6 years with our outgoing 3PAR, so that wasn’t a selling point; it was an assumption. As a last note on this, Pure Storage asks the pertinent question: “The new release will come with an upgrade to compression for current customers. Can I enable it non-disruptively, or do I have to migrate all my data off and start over?”

Snapshots & Replication

I won’t say much on these items, because we haven’t historically used the first, and other factors have hindered the second. Given that our first EMC CX300 array even had snapshots, the feature arrival in 2.4 was more of an announcement that XtremIO had fully shown up to the starting line of the SAN race (it was competing extremely well in other areas, but was hard to understand the lag here). We may actually use this feature with Veeam’s Backup & Replication product as it offers the ability to do array-level snapshots and transfer them to a backup proxy for offloaded processing.

As for replication, my colleagues and I see it as feature with huge differentiating potential, at least where deduplication ratios are high. VDI or more clone-based deployments with 5:1, 7:1, or even higher ratios could benefit greatly if only unique data blocks were shipped to partnering array(s). For now, VPLEX is that answer (sans the dedupe).

XtremIO > Alternatives? It Depends

As I mentioned in the past, we started this flash journey with a Pure Storage POC. It wasn’t without challenges, or I probably wouldn’t be writing about XtremIO now, but those issues weren’t necessarily as objectively bad or unique to them as I felt at the time. Everyone has caveats and weaknesses. In our case, Pure’s issues with handling large block I/O gave us pause and cause to listen to EMC’s XtremIO claims.

Those claims fleshed out in some ways, but not in others (at least not without more hardware). Both products can make the I/O meters scream with numbers unlikely to be found in daily production, though it’s nice to see the potential. The rubber meets the road when your data is on their box and you see what it does as a result. No assessment tool can tell you that; only field experience can.

If unwavering low-latency metrics are the goal, XtremIO wins the prize. It doesn’t compromise or slow up for anything–the data flies in and out regardless of block size or volume. Is no-compromise ideal? It depends.

Deduplication is the magic sauce that turned us on to Pure, and XtremIO marketing said, “we can do that, too!” Without compromising speed, though, and without post-processing, the result isn’t the same. That’s the point of the compression mentioned earlier.

Then there’s availability arguments. Pure doesn’t have any backup batteries (but stores to NVRAM in flight, so that’s not a deal-breaker), which EMC can point out. EMC uses 23+2 RAID/parity, which Pure is quick to highlight as a weakness. Everyone wants to be able to fail four drives and keep flying, right?

From what I’ve heard, Hitachi will take an entirely different angle

and argue that magic is unnecessary. Just use their 1.6TB and 3.2TB flash drives and swim in the ocean of space. Personally, I think that’s short-sighted, but they’re welcome to that opinion.

Last Thoughts

In production, day to day, notwithstanding our noted glitches, XtremIO delivers. Furthermore, it has the heft of EMC behind it, and the vibe I get is that they don’t seem to be content with second place. Philosophies on sub-components may disagree between vendors, but nothing trips XtremIO’s performance. Is there potential for improvement, efficiencies (esp. data reduction), and even hybrid considerations (why not a little optional post-processing?)? Absolutely. And I’ve met the XtremIO engineers from Israel who aim to do just that. Time will tell.

This article originally appeared here.

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