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What Storage (SAN) to go with?

We are thinking of purchasing a storage solution for our office. At this point we are thinking about getting a XServe Raid System from Apple. The Xserve  Raid by apple seems to be a SAN.(is it ?). Also, someone has suggested that we go with a HP MSA 1000. We need to of any of these devices because one would be at the headquarters and another one at the branch office so that we can replicate data for backup.  We have 2 windows servers at each office.

One reason that we might go with the Xserve Raid by apple is that it uses SATA har drives that are cheaper then SCSI drive that MSA 1000 uses. But the upfront cost of the HP device seems to be cheaper.  What advantages does the MSA 1000 have over the apple XServe Raid System?  
4 Solutions
Duncan MeyersCommented:
>The Xserve  Raid by apple seems to be a SAN.(is it ?)
Sure is. Very cheap. Lots of TB for your $$ - just don't expect it to be fast.

What is your environment?
How many servers do you expect to attach to your storage?
How much disc space do you need?
What applications are you running?
How many users?

Do you need hardware based replication or will server based replication do the job? Which then raises the questions of how much data can you afford to lose (RPO - Recovery Point Objective) and how long can you afford to be down for (RTO - Recovery Time Objective) ? You can have zero data loss and synchronous replication, but it costs serious money to do properly.
I heard that NetApp released new low cost product lines for small offices “storevault”. If it includes the same functionality, you can conceder looking at it:


I know that NetApp comes with iSCSI (SAN over Ethernet) for free. You might conceder trying it out before you purchase the FC license for your system and invest in your SAN infrastructure.

I know that storagevault comes with most of the great feature of NetApp storage such as:

- RAID-DP, (double parity) technology prevents data loss in the event of a second drive failure.

- Snapshot, technology provides point-in-time images of the entire file system.

- FlexVol, which allows capacity to be allocated on the fly without disrupting users or applications.

If you go for HP don't get an MSA1000, get an MSA1500, then you can have either SCSI or SATA disks or even mixture of both (in seperate enclosures)
netcompAuthor Commented:
What is your environment? 20 Windows Xp workstaion, and 4 Macs, 2 win2k3 DC Servers, one linux file server  

How many servers do you expect to attach to your storage? 3 servers .One linux and one Windows 2003 server which

would have exchage, maybe another one that would hold data.

How much disc space do you need? 1.5 TB would do for righ now, but we may need anohter TB within the next 2 years.

What applications are you running? Mostly files, we are thinking of implementing exchange server, which I think we might  want to attach it to storage ( is that a good idea) ?

How many users? a total of 35 on both offfices.

I am little hesitant about going with the Xserver since apple is not in the storage business.
Connecting exchange to the SAN is highly recommended; because you will free up CPU and memory of the server to Exchange and let the SAN storage take care about your I/O overhear (CPU and Memory). And you will be able to scale is without user interruption and in much efficient way that local storage on the server.

One thing you should conceder is to ask about the Usable capacity (That is after RAID, OS overheads) because most of the storage vendors publish the RAW capacity and not the actual usable capacity.
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