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Storage Comparison

Posted on 2004-10-29
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I am looking for some opinions about different storage solutions. (SANS) I am looking at three different vendors. I have done my research and seen demos of all systems. I would like some opinions from  those who have used the solutions. I have a mixed network of Windows 2003 and Solaris 9 (V440s). There will be several Oracle databases on the SAN. About 12 server to start and then growing. My main concerns are ease of management and performance and eventual integration with Netbackup. In the beginning I will still back up over the LAN and not the SAN.
I am looking at a Net APP FAS270, HP EVA 3000 and EMC CX300.
Net App is pushing ISCSI  and trying to sell the point theirs can do either IP or Fibre.
HP talks alot about their disk virtualization which is different then EMC and Net App hardware RAID of LUNs
And EMC - well they are pretty much standing behind their name.
Anyone have any experience with any of these systems that can give me to good, the bad and the ugly?
Price is a factor but willing to spend a little more if the benefits are worth it.
Thanks!
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Question by:pmg2004
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Duncan Meyers earned 1000 total points
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My main area of expertise is EMC's Clariion range, so I'll sound off about that :)

To my mind, the biggest advantage of EMC's kit is true path balancing and fail-over with PowerPath - the software looks after the distribution of I/O's from server to storage over multiple paths (you would typically fit two fibre channel HBA's in each server for redundancy). EMC also handles RAID 5 extremely well. Where you might use RAID 1/0 in another vendor's box, you can use RAID 5 in a Clariion because of the way that the Clariion uses its write cache. Clarrion also employs what EMC call modified RAID 3 write where the Clariion will attempt to write out an entire RAID 5 stripe in one operation - rather than four (read data, read parity, calculate new parity, write parity, write data) as is usual with a RAID 5 write.

Clariions use MetaLUN expansion - you can add a chunk of space to any existing LUN - you don't have to expand an entire RAID group.

Clariion arrays supplied by EMC are usually set up to dial home back to EMC in the event of a problem.

Both Solaris and W2K3 will happily co-exist in the same SAN - nothing unique there but worth mentioning.

SnapView is the business for backups. You use it to take a snapshot of a LUN on the Clariion. You then mount the LUN to your backup server and backup across the SAN. You can script the whole process - it works a treat. I've set up SnapView with BackupExec 9.1 and Netbackup 4.5 without any dramas.

Management of a Clariion array is done via Navisphere - you point a web browser to the array and off you go. It's a  reasonably intuitive bit off software, too.

I'm not yet convinced about iSCSI - from what I've seen, there is still no failover/multipathing mechanism for it from any vendor and I'm far from convinced that the performance will be up to snuff. It'd be brilliant for a DR site or similar. I'll wait a little while to see where the technology goes I think.

EMC also publish a whole heap of Oracle specific stuff at http://www.emc.com/techlib/

I guess that it applies to whichever SAN you go with - make sure you plan out the layout of your LUNs and RAID groups well. You need to consider things like: the mix of LUNs on a RAID group (ie busy, not so busy, quiet), seperation of log from databases and so on. Have a look at http://www.emc.com/techlib/abstract.jsp?id=1444 - it's a damn good read and most of it applies to other vendor's kit as well.  
 

 
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by:Duncan Meyers
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I liked my EMC response...
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