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Question of SAN Deployment

Posted on 2007-11-26
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Hi there,

*** Newbie with SAN technology here ***

Our foundation is in need of better storage management and redundant services.  We're looking at a cost-effective SAN solution to accomplish the following;

 - Allow for redundant Exchange server and SQL databases.
 - Allow for easy future expandability.
 - Host up to 4 hosts only

My question is;  Would the following list of hardware be enough to accomplish our goals?

 - HP Procurve 4208VL switch with gigabit ports - We can't afford a fiber frabic so we will go with ISCSI.  I just don't know how the performance will be like running through this switch.

- Our HP DL380/385 servers with onboard teamed gigabit NICS - I can buy HP ISCSI license for these NICS.  They are very cheap compared to buying FC based ones.

- HP StorageWorks 1200 - http://h18006.www1.hp.com/products/storageworks/aio1200/index.html  Is this thing good enough to do what we need it to do?  I chose this one because it's using 2.5" SAS drives.  I would like to avoid 3.5" SCSI drives if I can.

Also if there's a good Dell equivalent I'll be happy to hear it.  Thanks a lot!

PS:  We're a non-profit foundation so please...don't suggest HP EVA series stuff.  :)
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Question by:RHADMIN
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9 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 20357107
AiO1200 uses 3.5 inch SAS, not 2.5 inch; if you want 2.5" you'll need Dl380G5 storage server which has 8 bays and if you need more you add a P800 plus MSA70 to it for another 25 SFF slots. Also doesn't come with MS iSCSI target, have to buy seperately.

You will have to un-team the server NICs for iSCSI since it uses MPIO for redundancy/load balancing rather than teaming but that won't be a problem since you can dedicate one to LAN and one to SAN that way. You can run iSCSI without the iSCSI acceleration pack but then everything gets processed by the CPU so it's not so fast.
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by:RHADMIN
ID: 20359364
Hi Andy,

OK so for Exchange redundancy I'll need the following then?

 - 2x Proliant DL380 series servers.  
 --- Both have Windowes 2003 + Exchange installed in clustered mode
 --- Both servers have the P800 Smart Controller installed
 --- Both servers have have the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target installed
 - 1x MSA70 for storage.
 ---This storage will contain the Exchange mail store for the above servers

The weird thing is according to the HP site the MSA70 doesn't support clustering nor storage mirroring support.  http://h18004.www1.hp.com/storage/disk_storage/msa_diskarrays/drive_enclosures/msa70/specs.html

So we have redundant Exchange server running but we don't have redundant mail store.  Is it just a matter of buying a storage container that can do that or am I missing something?

Thanks
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Accepted Solution

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andyalder earned 500 total points
ID: 20359639
No, the MSA70 hangs off the DL380G5 Storage Server and this gives you iSCSI SAN storage for your 2 DL380G5 Exchange servers. The 2 Exchange servers don't need P800s in them, the P400 that they come with is fine for local storage.

http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/12559_div/12559_div.html - only because you want SFF disks. If you're happy with 3.5" SAS then the AiO1200 is fine.

Still waiting on a dedicated hardware iSCSI box from HP like the 1510i (http://h18006.www1.hp.com/storage/disk_storage/msa_diskarrays/san_arrays/msa1510i/index.html) with SAS support instead of 3.5" SCSI. I'm sure they will release something along those lines soon.
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Author Comment

by:RHADMIN
ID: 20360404
Gotcha...thanks for the information Andy!
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Author Comment

by:RHADMIN
ID: 20360537
HP is funny...

They really got my hopes up when I saw this package;

http://h71016.www7.hp.com/MiddleFrame.asp?page=config&ProductLineId=450&FamilyId=2569&BaseId=16563&oi=E9CED&BEID=19701&SBLID=

Picture shows the unit using SAS 2.5" drives but the MSA30 uses 3.5" SCSI.   :(
Well maybe they are coming out the SAS 2.5" drives soon as you say...the picture could've been sneaked on there by accident?  :D

One can only hope!
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 20360772
What they've done there is put a MSA20 SATA-only enclosure under it, they look the same as the MSA60 SAS/SATA enclosures. There should be a SAS model coming out real soon, hopefully next week. All they have to do is put a SAS interface in it since it's modular and the chips are available since it's PCI bus internally even though a funny-shaped connector.

You might look at www.doubletake.com to do real-time replication between the servers and scrap the SAN idea entirely. More reliable than clustering and much cheaper since standard Windows and Exchange rather than Enterprise versions.
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 20360955
You're getting the size wrong still, that pic is 3.5" disks, see the pics at http://h18006.www1.hp.com/storage/disk_storage/msa_diskarrays/drive_enclosures/index.html

The clustering support bit is whether the MSA is directly clusterable rather than through a MSA1510i or similar controller head. The MSA60 and 70 may eventuallly be clusterable directly with a firmware upgrade since there is a spare hole in the back for a second interface and SAS is multi-initiator anyway, the backplane is already dual-pathed even though most of the disks are single path at the moment.
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Expert Comment

by:pmanno
ID: 20818533
I was considering a similar solution, using the aio1200 and an MSA60, but I found something that I considered to be a problem.  The aio1200 does not have many expandability options:
(1) x 8 full height PCI-Express (x8 connectors) (occupied by P400 controller) (1) x 8 half-height PCI-Express x1

Whereas the aio600 does:
(3) x 4 PCI-Express (x8 connectors). (1) 64 bit
133MHz 3.3V PCI-X. (2) 64 bit
100MHz 3.3V PCI-X

For an iSCSI SAN, I wanted as much redundancy as possible because if the ethernet switch that is the SAN fails, you get a corrupted mail store (or so I've read).  So you want to have at least three NIC's in the thing (Data network, iSCSI #1 and iSCSI #2), plus the P400 (or P800), plus a SCSI card to connect to a tape drive for backup.  You cannot have that many cards in the aio1200 and that, to me, is a show stopper.

Thoughts?
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Author Comment

by:RHADMIN
ID: 20818554
yeah our thoughts are that we're going with Exchange 2007 with SP1.

With the release of SP1 late last year Exchange server can FINALLY have true fail-over clustering.

So we scrapped the whole SAN idea and are just going to use 2 regular HP DL300 series servers.  Both will run Exchange 2007 SP1 and they will run in cluster mode.  :)
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