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NFS Appliance for Virtualization Use?

Posted on 2009-04-17
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Hi,

I would like to purchase a fast NFS storage appliance to serve four VMware or XENserver servers.  I would like at least 4 TB of storage.

I am currently running Windows 2003 Enterprise NFS with attached Lacie 5 TB eSata drives on a separate Storage Area Network running at 2 Gbps.  I have not been satisfied with this setup.

Off site replication capability would be great also.  I am wiling to look at a bare bone kit and purchase drives if it would bring the cost down.

I am looking for something under $6000.  

Is anyone using something that they can recommend at this price point?
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Question by:cirigliano
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by:Paul Solovyovsky
Paul Solovyovsky earned 640 total points
ID: 24176091
You may want to look at Openfiler, it provides NFS and iSCSI and it's free.  You can use off the shelf hardware.  Unless you're buying a NetApp I haven't seen too many SANs that provide snapshot capability at a decent price point.  The nice thin with openfiler is that you can purchase support, the basic software is free.  For snapshot capability you can look at replication software for the actual virtual machines because even with NetApp you have to mount and restore the VMs.  If you have WAN connectivity and use Vizioncore's VReplicator or doubletake you can run your VMs from the DR site and replicate back when you're ready.

My $.02
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by:markzz
ID: 24176329
Paul has hit the nail on the head.
Basicly you aren't going to getmuch for 6K.
Openfiler is free, you'll need your 6K for the hardware. Avoid solutions like Lacie drives, they can't deal with any significant IO.
A DL385g2 would server you well but consider they are not purpose built hardware and may not deal with the IO you require.
If you require a big boys solution you'll need more $.
I'd suggest you have a look at some of the smaller Netapp filers. If you can't afford the replication license for the Netapp (OH it's netapp to Netapp) then vReplicator is a great option and works a treat. (just don't run your LUNs out of space.  
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by:larstr
larstr earned 600 total points
ID: 24178791
The only VMware certified NAS device in that price range is probably the iomega StorCenter Pro ix4-200r. The 4TB edition costs $2799 and will be ready to ship 22/4 (this product was just announced).

Performance of this appliance is still unknown, but since it's only using SATA drives it will  not be superb.

If this is only for a testing environment you could also use a non-supported solution as mentioned above such as openfiler or opensolaris and spend the money on hw.

Lars
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by:Paul Solovyovsky
ID: 24179105
Lars:  I was looking at the same device and it scared a bit..anything by Iomega usually does. I agree with you for using this in a testbed environemnt, at least with openfiler or freenas you have some hope in troubleshooting since you have a linux kernel.  With the Iomega stuff if it dies you usually lose your data.  Reminds of a MyBook USB HD on steroids

markzz - Check out the new DL380 G6 models, up to 16 SAS drives and 144GB RAM just came out a week or two ago.

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by:markzz
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Paul
Had a read about the DL380g6, the new Intel CPU's are finally competing with the Opteron, unfortunatly we are an Opteron shop so for vMotion etc Intel are out of the question at least until we have a fully masked CPU if this will ever occur. Actually I don't want fully masked CPU's as it impacts the performance greatly.
Lets hope AMD are soon to follow up with their new offering so HP can repackage into the g6.
Sorry cirigliano for hijacking the topic.
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by:larstr
ID: 24180637
I don't have much experience with iomega except USB disks that I've used for personal use, but I doubt that they would bother to certify a product for ESX if it had such bad quality. Still, the performance is probably not good enough for 4 hosts.

Another option I started thinking a bit of is that if we look at other options than NAS devices. You can now also connect shared storage directly with SAS cables. Some devices even have a SAS switch built in and all you need in the server is a SAS hba with an external connector.

The IBM DS3200 is such a device. It comes with a 3 port SAS switch per default that can be upgraded to 6 ports. If you don't have multipathing as a requirement it means that you can have 6 hosts connected to the storage device. This works fine with VMotion etc and is also a fully supported solution. HP MSA2000 also has a similar model, but I'm not sure it supports non-blade systems yet as it doesn't come with such a built in switch.

Lars
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by:Paul Solovyovsky
ID: 24181065
The HP MSA 2012i (iSCSI) is a good bet with SAS drives.  Cost is reasonable but I think it will still be above $6K.  One of the Dell iSCSI SANs may also be a decent choice.
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Author Comment

by:cirigliano
ID: 24181315
Thanks for all the great suggestions.  Keep them coming and I am sure this will help others also.
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markzz earned 760 total points
ID: 24181576
Guys
I'm always quite careful recommending any SAN solution which can't be sully supported.
If an esx server fails and you have vMotion the servers restart on another piece of hardware. When a SAN fails everything fails including the ESX servers.
Ever taken the san away from your hosts?? It's very, very ugly.
cirigliano, don't short change your virtual environment. There is no cheap production ready SAN solution, they just come in varying degrees of expensive.
I personally would look at one of the lowend HP, Netapp, EMC solutions. (Dell on sell rebadged EMC)
cirigliano you at this point need to take what has been discussed here and start talking to vendors.

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Author Closing Comment

by:cirigliano
ID: 31571729
Thanks so much!
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