Maintenance DELL EMC VNX switching to Unity Hardware
The first generation Dell EMC VNX reached the end of its life on December 31, 2019 and contained the following EMC models VNX5100, 5300, 5500, 5700 and 7500. This now leaves only the second generation of Dell EMC VNX models, the VNX5200, 5400, 5600 5800 and 7600 being actively supported by the OEM. Companies that have this equipment are looking for reliable third-party maintenance providers (TPM) to manage and extend the life of these storage arrays, or have decided on a program and migration path to move to the Dell EMC Unity platform.
Decisions about how to hire a TPM provider to support this equipment can be daunting for those who have only dealt with OEM support. This is mainly due to the fact that companies with software/update rights have received their guarantee in the past. The question that should be asked is “will you still be able to get software or firmware patches for your legacy equipment?”. Because if the need is for hardware replacement, technical expertise or a web-based support portal to answer your questions at your disposal, then a good TPM could be the answer to help reduce the cost until you're ready to change for a new data storage platform.
Maintenance planning DELL EMC VNX
Many companies are still in the process of deciding the best way forward. Long-term commercial viability must be considered before deciding to invest in a new capital purchase or engage in a new operating partnership with a TPM provider. During this time, many will begin to maintain their EMC VNX hardware on their own and will inevitably be forced to make a decision due to unexpected challenges that occur with their storage hardware. Most good TPM providers will be extremely reluctant to deliver on time. Instead, they will be inclined to start building a relationship with the customer to fully understand the larger goal and help achieve the ultimate goal.
This may also include a redeployment of current hardware assets in a company's research or testing area that has reduced risk, but still has a need to provide services. Another possibility may be to provide residual value in the current storage infrastructure with a phased decommissioning approach that allows partial support, partial return on investment and a gradual process to move to a new storage platform to meet business requirements.
Dell EMC Unity Hardware
The Dell EMC Unity platform consists of the unit300/300F entry level up to the Unity 600/660F flash arrays and 350F to 650F models. These were the next inline storage models in the VNX lineup, certainly if you were a first-generation VNX owner. The Dell EMC Unity platform will not reach end-of-life until the end of January 2023, exactly the same period when the second-generation VNX will reach end-of-life.
The availability of hardware parts for the Unity line is currently quite scarce and expensive. This takes companies that are forecasting or comparing with current OEM support quotes to a potentially unrealistic route for many. This trend will change and will change rapidly as storage technology advances and Unity hardware parts become readily available.