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Dell EMC Unity XT vs IBM FlashSystem comparison

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Comparison Summary
Question: When it comes to performance and pricing, what is the biggest difference between Dell EMC Unity and IBM FlashSystem?
Answer: EMC's Unity is not comparable to the performance of an IBM FlashSystem option, but it is fairly close in performance profile to the just released Storewize V5100 model 424. If you provide the initial amount of storage you are going to purchase and your expected capacity growth rate, plus any workoad/performance info you have on hand, and we will give you a very quick TCO and performance comparison.i
Featured Review
Find out what your peers are saying about Dell EMC Unity XT vs. IBM FlashSystem and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
564,599 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"The high performance is very valuable, as well as the enterprise reliability features.""We have been able to consolidate storage into Pavilion. Pavilions are our only SANs because it is a bring your own disk solution. When new drives come out, we are able to take out half of the drives in the system, put in new drives, move our VMs over to the new drives, take the other drives out, and populate those with new drives. Then, we are suddenly twice as dense as we were before. NVMe flash is only going to get denser and cheaper so we can make use of that every couple of years by just throwing newer disks into it at a fraction of the cost of a new SAN.""There's lots of flexibility in how we use the resources while also maintaining a small footprint."

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"I like how it separates the iSCSI drives from the standard shares. It has two different routes to it. I know most of the other solutions do this, but I just like the way that Dell EMC does it.""The most valuable feature is the integration with vCenter.""The most valuable features include snapshots, Thin Clones, and deduplication and compression.""Integration is easy with this product.""Initial setup is a simple process.""When I have an issue and need technical support, I reach out to them either through chat or by submitting a service request, and the response is good.""The high availability of Dell EMC Unity XT has been the most important feature.""This solution is easy to work with and easy to maintain."

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"Most of the features for the reduction in data compression are useful. It is also very easy to use and administer. Its performance is also good.""IBM FlashSystem is a powerful effective storage solution. Additionally, it is user-friendly, anyone can use it.""The power systems are very reliable if you are running 24/7 operations. For ongoing mission-critical applications, it's the best solution.""One of the valuable features is the performance, it is one of the best in the market.""One of the most valuable features is that it's very easy to use and configure. It used to be more difficult, but now it's almost flawless.""IBM's technical support do excellent work.""Installing FlashSystem is very easy. It takes less than half an hour, and I can handle it all myself.""The installation is nice and easy."

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Cons
"The rail system that Pavilion uses to mount up into a standard Dell or APC cabinet extends further back than normal rails, and they cover up the zero PDU slot. So, I don't like the rail system that comes with the device. That is my biggest complaint.""In our current configuration, we can only run the line controllers in high availability, active-standby mode, whereas we would like to see active-active implemented.""I would like to see the management layer improved."

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"It could be improved in the area of management flexibility. For example, I really need to set read-only access for LUNs, and there's no such option with Unity XT.""It could go faster. Make it bigger, better, and faster at a lower price, and I am there.""In terms of what could be improved, I would say the deduplication part, because for large deduplications, you need an extra appliance to do it in order to avoid having problems in performance. I think that could be improved, because everything should be included in the product, not with an appliance from the outside.""One area of improvement is replication. We are also using Oracle virtual machines, and when you are using systems from other vendors, the process of replicating from Unity through OLVM is more laborious than when we were using VPLEX.""The interface and configuration could improve.""In terms of what could be improved, I would say its capacity and its connection.""Currently, the protocol SNMP is not implemented. That's a problem, as we follow this protocol and I can't check the integrity of this equipment.""I have a problem because between the Unity XT and the PowerMax, sometimes we need another product between these two products. There could be better integrated and the capacity of the size could be larger."

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"The price is very costly.""The technical support in my region is satisfactory but it could improve. Support is very important for customers and downtime is very critical for us. We would like onsite or complete technical support which can help us to minimize our downtime or if problems occur.""The pricing could be improved, but I think it's getting better and better with each version. IBM needs to implement NAS storage again, as this is a big flaw. Dell EMC is very good at this and if you compared them based on NAS storage, Dell EMC would win right away. IBM's solution for NAS storage is very complicated. We don't have a storage box that provides file sharing from itself, we have to put software on it and go through a whole complicated process. It should be simplified.""Sometimes the performance is effective but it gets resolved in the process.""Their technical support needs improvement in terms of reachability for the clients and response times. They should be more responsive and have more online platforms for support. They should make more technical information available online. There could be some kind of documentation community.""A big area for improvement is that the data reduction pool feature is not recommended for use in a production environment because it has stability and performance issues.""They can improve its initial configuration. The initial configuration is currently very difficult. There are multiple choices or alternative ways to configure based on the use case and what you are targeting out of the device, that is, more capacity or more performance. These multiple alternatives cause a lot of confusion. They should increase the processing part of the nodes. Currently, you can cluster up to eight nodes. From my experience and the workload that I am facing in my environment currently, I would like to see either a bigger or stronger node or a larger number of nodes that can be clustered together. We formally communicated to them that we need to see either this or that, and they are working on something.""The product needs to improve their scalability."

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Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "This is hardware. They have a singular array that you can populate with your own disk, or you can buy the disks through them. For controllers, you pay for the components inside of the SAN, but there is only one chassis that they work with."
  • "The licensing fees are very reasonable."
  • More Pavilion HyperParallel Flash Array Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The price of Dell EMC Unity XT is higher compared to other solutions. The price should be less expensive."
  • "Pricing for this product is manageable, though slightly higher than comparable products."
  • "The solution is very expensive."
  • "The solution is very expensive."
  • "This solution is a good price for what you get."
  • "Here is our major complaint with pricing. Dell EMC comes to us and gives us a price. We are like, "Well, this doesn't even compare to what we got on the last project." We say, "No, you should bring it down to this level." Then, they come back again and we are sort of in the middle again. I am like, You already sold us other stuff at a better price. We are not going to just say, 'Yes,' because we are out of time.""
  • "I liked the price point when we purchased it."
  • "We looked at HPE Nimble but the price of the Unity XT was very good compared to the competition."
  • More Dell EMC Unity XT Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The integration is already included in the license cost of IBM FlashSystem. The integration is very easy. You get the IBM storage core with all software, firmware, and upgrades. EMC provides the features in the box, but they are not free for customers. There is a licensing cost for features. We have yearly licensing, but IBM has also provided a new option where you pay as you go. They provide a big box, and I pay, for example, for 10 terabytes. If I exceed 10 terabytes, IBM will charge for the new storage after 10 terabytes. It is a good opportunity in the market for using the storage as a cloud and paying as you go."
  • "They've been much more aggressive in the last five, six years than they were before that."
  • "This is an expensive product and if the price were reduced it would be better."
  • "Among IBM, Dell EMC, and Pure Storage, IBM is the cheapest. The price is also based on our location, the size of our entity, and our regular annual purchases from them. We are a very big IBM customer, so we normally get very high discounts. We are not a big customer of Pure Storage. We don't buy that much from Pure Storage per year. Everything is included in the price. There is no extra license for different functions."
  • "Its price is very good."
  • "I find the pricing of the solution to be very reasonable."
  • "You purchase it as a bundle and the price is comparable."
  • "The solution requires a license and could be less expensive."
  • More IBM FlashSystem Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Answers from the Community
    Miriam Tover
    author avatarBobWhitcombe
    MSP

    As with any engineered solution, it depends on your needs.  


    However, the bottom line is that for their target markets Dell EMC Unity will generally have a better price at parity performance over IBM's FlashSystem.  


    Both are focused on All-Flash arrays and Dell EMC Unity is where I start with VMWare. If I have a dedicated IBM DB2 application, I would lean toward the IBM FlashSystem. 


    The problem in the VMWare environment is that IBM has done a poor job prioritizing this area and has several I/O bottlenecks and interface driver issues. I expect future resolution, but does that happen before current platforms evolve?

    author avatarreviewer1243038 (CEO/co-founder at a tech services company with 1-10 employees)
    Real User

    Depends what you're expecting. Full compatibility with VMware environment - DellEMC only, IBM FS has problems with iSCSI connections to vsphere 7.02 - it's not supported (FS5200 and vsphere 7.02 server with Intel cards - doesn't work fast (10Gbe - 300MB/s instead of 1,1-1,2 GB/s), no solution for now from IBM and VMware (08/2021). Integration - DellEMC and VMware are one company - everything goes smoothly. Space reclamation didn't work well on IBM systems when connected to vsphere (vsphere 6.5 and V7000 models). When using Microsoft virtualization - no difference - it's more complex to start system but when properly configured - it runs well (fast). But of both of them I would choose HPE systems,:-) (Nimble or Primera):-)

    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer: 
    We have been able to consolidate storage into Pavilion. Pavilions are our only SANs because it is a bring your own disk… more »
    Top Answer: 
    This is hardware. They have a singular array that you can populate with your own disk, or you can buy the disks through… more »
    Top Answer: 
    The rail system that Pavilion uses to mount up into a standard Dell or APC cabinet extends further back than normal… more »
    Top Answer: 
    Dell EMC PowerStore is a unified storage platform that has the added benefit of being scalable. The automated management… more »
    Top Answer: 
    As with any engineered solution, it depends on your needs.   However, the bottom line is that for their target markets… more »
    Top Answer: 
    The most valuable features include snapshots, Thin Clones, and deduplication and compression.
    Top Answer: 
    The performance is very good and we use this product to enhance our core system.
    Top Answer: 
    The cost is pretty high in terms of licensing. We pay at least $100,000 USD in licensing fees for the storage. We have… more »
    Top Answer: 
    This product lacks some of the options we wanted. For example, expansion was difficult and it required a lot of patching… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Pavilion HFA
    EMC Unity, Dell EMC Unity
    IBM Storwize
    Learn More
    Overview

    Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform

    The Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform™ dramatically accelerates what organizations achieve by delivering universally unmatched storage performance, in an incredibly compact solution while reducing data center costs and complexity. Unrivaled flexibility for multiple data types and protocols, along with broad ecosystem integration, ensure that every customer has choice and control.

    What is the Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform

    The Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform is comprised of the Pavilion HyperParallel Flash Array™ and Pavilion HyperOS™. The Pavilion HyperParallel Flash Array leverages a unique, switch-based architecture to create a multi-controller solution that delivers an unmatched combination of high performance, ultra-low latency, and storage density. Pavilion HyperOS is a powerful, purpose-built storage operating system designed to unlock the power of the multi-controller Pavilion HyperParallel Flash Array, which delivers scalability and flexibility that no other solution can offer.

    Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform Data Sheet

    Download the Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform data sheet. Updated: December 2020

    Dell EMC Unity, powered by Intel Xeon processors, delivers the ultimate in simplicity and value, enabling your organization to speed deployment, streamline management and seamlessly tier storage to the cloud.

    Dell EMC Unity’s All-Flash and Hybrid Flash storage platforms optimize SSD performance and efficiency, with fully integrated SAN and NAS capabilities. Cloud-based storage analytics and proactive support keep you available and connected.

    IBM FlashSystem products are enterprise computer data storage systems that store data on flash memory chips. Unlike storage systems that use standard solid-state drives, IBM FlashSystem products incorporate custom hardware based on technology from the 2012 acquisition of Texas Memory Systems. This hardware provides performance, reliability, and efficiency benefits versus competitive offerings.

    Offer
    Learn more about Pavilion HyperParallel Flash Array
    Learn more about Dell EMC Unity XT
    Learn more about IBM FlashSystem
    Sample Customers
    Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), Statistics Netherlands (CBS)
    Draper, Rio Grande Pacific, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
    Celero, Friedhelm Loh Group, Clarks, Mingkang Natregro Health Food Group, Sofia, Etisalat Fights Fraud, UF Health Shands Hospital, Generali, Elecon Engineering Company Limited, Ventiv , Technology, CPFL Energia, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., SciQuest, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, Paddy Power, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, Interconnect Services, Severstal IP-Only AB, PVU Group GmbH
    Top Industries
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company29%
    Comms Service Provider22%
    Government7%
    Manufacturing Company6%
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm21%
    Healthcare Company17%
    Manufacturing Company13%
    Energy/Utilities Company7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company30%
    Comms Service Provider26%
    Government6%
    Manufacturing Company5%
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm30%
    Government11%
    Healthcare Company9%
    Comms Service Provider9%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider28%
    Computer Software Company28%
    Financial Services Firm6%
    Government5%
    Company Size
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business72%
    Midsize Enterprise3%
    Large Enterprise26%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business27%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise49%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business18%
    Midsize Enterprise18%
    Large Enterprise64%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business34%
    Midsize Enterprise15%
    Large Enterprise51%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business22%
    Midsize Enterprise21%
    Large Enterprise57%
    Find out what your peers are saying about Dell EMC Unity XT vs. IBM FlashSystem and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
    564,599 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Dell EMC Unity XT is ranked 5th in All-Flash Storage Arrays with 19 reviews while IBM FlashSystem is ranked 7th in All-Flash Storage Arrays with 28 reviews. Dell EMC Unity XT is rated 8.8, while IBM FlashSystem is rated 8.4. The top reviewer of Dell EMC Unity XT writes "We can do both block and file storage on one unit without purchasing a separate device". On the other hand, the top reviewer of IBM FlashSystem writes "Good performance, energy efficient with a small form factor, helpful support". Dell EMC Unity XT is most compared with Dell EMC PowerStore, NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS), HPE Nimble Storage, Pure Storage FlashArray and Dell EMC PowerMax NVMe, whereas IBM FlashSystem is most compared with Pure Storage FlashArray, Dell EMC PowerStore, HPE Nimble Storage, NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) and HPE StorageWorks MSA. See our Dell EMC Unity XT vs. IBM FlashSystem report.

    See our list of best All-Flash Storage Arrays vendors.

    We monitor all All-Flash Storage Arrays reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.