Inexpensive Storage
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October 29, 2018

Inexpensive Storage

Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Exablox

We are using Exablox in two ways. First, as a SMB file share for departments in the college, and second as a datastore for our VMware ESXi environment.
  • Exablox is simple to setup and relatively easy to use.
  • Exablox is priced very competitively and is a good value for the cost.
  • Exablox has good customer service.
  • Exablox is still in its infancy as a company and in some respects the product feels like a version 1.0.
  • Integration with VMware ESXi has some bugs that need to be figured out.
  • We purchased Exablox specifically for our ESXi environment, so we are hoping to get the wrinkles worked out to see a greater return on our investment.
Exablox was much less expensive than other storage arrays and I think there are a lot of reasons to purchase them. I believe that as the product matures, it will be a great option for storage.
For SMB file storage Exablox is great, but as an ESXi datastore it still needs work.

Using Exablox

50 - IT, Faculty, Staff, and Students
3 - Basic networking knowledge, SMB file sharing, ESXi configuration, and NFS datastore familiarity.
  • Esxi datastore for running College websites, databases, DevOps, and internal IT tools.
  • SMB file share for department files and faculty data.
  • Not really anything innovative, Exablox was purpose built for certain things, and that is how we use it.
  • We have been experimenting with product called OneXafe from StorageCraft that uses Exablox as a primary target for backups, which includes dedup and replication. Exablox makes a perfect platform for those backups and for replication of those backups to their cloud.
The price for Exablox was very appealing. If we can resolve the NFS datastore issues we are seeing in VMware, this is a perfect solution for a ESXi datastore. Once that issue is resolved, I will give Exablox a higher rating.

Evaluating Exablox and Competitors

Yes - We replaced a NetApp FAS SAN. The NetApp was due for replacement due to age. It was running standard spinning disk that was relatively slow. The Exablox gave us a SSD solution at a great price.
  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Existing Relationship with the Vendor
We did not have a single most important factor in our decision, it was performance (all-flash) at a great price. So really it was Product Features at great Price.
I think we would have made the same decision. Exablox was the perfect fit for us.

Exablox Implementation

Straightforward and simple implementation. We completed the implementation in less than 2 hours.
Change management was minimal - Adding Exablox to our environment had little impact on our management processes. For change management, the typical adding of a device to the server room (power and network) and the change to add a datastore in VMware were all that were necessary.
  • We did not have any issues during implementation.

Exablox Training

Exablox was very easy to learn. I would definitely recommend others to train themselves. No need to pay for training.

Configuring Exablox

Exablox is storage. As such, it is purpose built to perform certain functions. Configuring Exablox was just right for a storage product. It was easy to configure.
Spend some time getting familiar with the configuration pages in the browser to see where things are. Once you know where to go to configure the storage it is very simple.
No - we have not done any customization to the interface
No - we have not done any custom code
We did not do any customization.

Exablox Support

Exablox has been very responsive to our requests. They communicate very well and are extremely knowledgable.
ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None
Yes - As part of the purchase, we included 3 years of premium support. Because of the way the University handles budgets, we are rarely able to get additional funding after the initial purchase. Therefore, by policy, we always purchase 3 to 5 years support as part of the initial purchase.
Yes - The issue we have been seeing with our Exablox is a bug. Our Exablox 5210 is a brand new product and, as such, has a few wrinkles that are still being worked out. Exablox as been very responsive as we work through through the concerns.
We had a file share issue, which was more of a user training issue, connecting Exablox to our Active Directory domain. StorageCraft sent someone to our office to work through the issue with me.

Using Exablox

Again, the initial install, setup and config was simple through a web browser.
ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
Familiar
None
  • The initial configuration was simple. Upon powering on the Exablox you get an IP address. The remainder of the config is done in a browser using a setup wizard.
  • Setting up SMB shares and NFS share was a simple matter of going to the Shares webpage and filling in a few settings.

Exablox Reliability

We have not tried to scale Exablox so we are not familiar with this.
Since the day we installed Exablox we have not had any down-time. The storage resources have been available 100% of the time.
SMB file access has been very responsive. We have not seen any slowness. Also, in using Exablox as tier 1 storage in our VMware environment, the VMs performed great. No slowness issues.

Integrating Exablox

Exablox has a built-in web interface to configure Active Directory integration. Just fill in your AD information.
  • The only "integration" we attempted was using Exablox with ESXi.
Integration with VMware was as simple as creating an NFS datastore. Very easy.

Relationship with StorageCraft

StorageCraft was friendly and open in our discussions. They were anxious for us to run a POC to see if Exablox was a good fit.
StorageCraft has visited with us a few times since the purchase. They occasionally call as well to see if things are working and to ask if we need help with any support issues.
We negotiated pricing. With a limited budget we were able to find funding, and StorageCraft worked with us to get the product at the right price.
Be honest and straightforward and you can expect StorageCraft to do the same.

Upgrading Exablox

Yes - We have upgraded a couple of times. The upgrade went very smoothly. The storage did need to reboot, but to the end user there was only a small delay in accessing files.
  • The biggest benefit for us was the tighter integration with ESXi.
  • We are not looking for anything specific, but we are excited to see where StorageCraft can improve in the future.