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SAN ISCSI GBIT switch advice

First of all, i'm quite new to the storage world, so I hope I can get some advice on our new needs for our hosting servers.

We are expaning our services and therefore we are thinking of buying the following (we approx got a ¬ 20.000,- budget, give or take a few).

- 2 DELL 1950 web/mail servers
- 2 Webmux load balancers
- 1 DELL M3500i ISCSI san entry device (HA version)

We would like to create an HA enviroment for this budget.

I only got one main question left, which is the kind of switch is best for this. The best solution would be off course getting some redundancy there as well with 2 gigabit switches. The network will be mainly used for web hosting, but some of the websites are using quite large databases which data is on the MD3000i.

Can I safely setup a shared (or 2) gigabit switch for this situation. So for both ISCSI and other network traffic, or is it wise to keep this completly seperate. I only got a budget of approx 2.200 euro for the switches left. So i'm in doubt getting 2 Dell Powerconnect 6224 switches for both ISCSI and other traffic. Or for example 1 Powerconnect 6224 switch with redundant power supply + 1 or 2 cheaper standard gigabit switches for the other traffic.
Another possibility is getting 2 powerconnect 6224 switches, but one dedicated for ISCSI and one for the other traffic, but the redundancy is then gone.

What would you advice for network solution? What are your experiences with sharing gigabit switches with ISCSI traffic?

Also any other switch of any other vendor is off course also possible, but I like the support and services of dell.
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I'd certainly separate the iSCSI traffic from the normal LAN - you can do this with VLANs but I'd always go for physically separate if possible.

If you wanr peace of mind etc then look at the HP ProCurve range of swiches - lifetime warranty on them! Also HP have been in the networking arena a lot longer than Dell


Would the Procurve 2810 be sufficient you guess?

And how would you configure two of those? Seperate switches: 1 for iscsi san and 1 for local traffic.
The servers connected with one nic to the iscsi network and one nic for the local/public traffic. Or both connected to each other for redundancy? But in that case it would only be the md3000i which is connected to both switches since its best I guess to have a dedicated NIC for the iscsi traffic?

I hope my question is clear enough, i'm brand new to the vlan/multiple switch/iscsi scene.
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Thanks a lot for pointing me in the right direction!
We are now in the middle of finally completing the new server plan for our company.

While a few months passed I got a couple more questions..

We are probarly going for the EMC AX4 dual controller solution since we like a company with a bit more storage experience then Dell.

Our only single point of failure will become the switches... I am thinking of buying two HP 2810 switches, one dedicated for LAN traffic and one dedidicated for the ISCSI traffic.

Is it possible to set up some kind of failover vlan on the dedicated LAN switch in case the other switch goes down there is still one iscsi path to each server? So then iscsi will only go over the second switch if the other one died..

Leaves me with one question. I guess a NIC need to be dedicated for ISCSI? Or can i setup this second failover path with ISCSI traffic on the same nic as the LAN traffic in Linux?

Off course I can also get another 2 NICS in each server if this kinda implementatiopn is possible.

Just to get a complete picture our new situation we are thinking about:

- 2 Webmux Loadbalancers
- 2 DELL 1950 PowerEdge III servers (as webservers)
- 4 other webservers (not in failover/cluster setups)
- 2 HP Procure 2810 Switches, 1 for ISCSI and 1 for LAN (SPOF)
- 1 EMC Clariion Dual Controller AX4

The only thing I want to achieve if something goes down, the impact will remain low and it will keep running (slower off course).

Thanks in Advance!