Dell vs HP or Lefthand vs Equallogic

storage experts,
1. Nneed to know the good and bad about these two products, Ii am not an expert on storage and the model numbers are provided by sales rep from each vendors, my usable capacity should be around 10T after raid configuration.
from Dell EL: PS4000XV
from HP LH: P4000 SAN G2

2. What will be the good raid option for mission critical and non mission critical server storage ?

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For mission critical, RAID6 is a must.  Not only does it protect you during a rebuild in event 1 drive dies, but also the extra parity block prevents data corruption in event of a drive failure in combination with a bad block on a surviving disk.   So this provides both availability and integrity.  RAID5 is unacceptable.

I also recommend even for non-mission critical storage ... data integrity is too important.  It can take DAYS to rebuild multi TB volumes and you don't want risk of losing a 2nd drive.  Consider that you are probably going to be using same disks from same engineering run, same I/O load, same temperature, same duty cycle.  So whatever made first drive fail could likely make others in the same raidset fail.

What about applications? What are you using?    Mission critical means (to me) that you have to take hot snapshot backups using technology like VSS.   What O/S are you using, backup software?

We could spend a lot of time giving you useless info that does not apply to your environment, so best way to get a great answer is to invest the time in as detailed as possible description of what you do with the computers, databases, operating systems, etc. that will attach.

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ThushyaAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the response.
My environment  is with windows servers and few sql database as well oracle database ( both database wont move into VM for now ), so i am talking about 20VMs for standard windows servers with few web application - with windows services like file, print , web.when it comes to users i have about 1T of data used for home folders which are hosted on two file servers.

We do not use VSS copy at all and we do nightly backup only, also need your help on storage comparison if you can.

Before you get too far with HP, ask the HP rep what "Priority of redundancy" is, it's in the lefthand manual.  Long & short of it is, if one node fails, it automatically shutsdown the failover node,  sounds like you and I are working on a similar project.

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ThushyaAuthor Commented:
I am not decided to go with HP or DELL still in research for the  final answer(50/50), so far i do not have a clear cut between these product seems they both do the same thing in general.
for the LeftHand i found some strong points as here..
    * Pay-As-you-grow
    * All-inclusive pricing model
    * Intuitive storage management
    * High Availability (data protection)
    * Replication for Disaster Recovery
    * Linear scalability for both performance and capacity.

Not sure how the dell rep will counter these with their features and performance , need some comparison - so far no luck.

If you have any thing good or bad about EqualLogic( PS4000XV )feel free to put it here.


I haven't really made a final decision on my recommendation either, we are primarily a DELL shop, but HP makes some solid products.
That being said, I'm more onside with the Equalogics product.  During my research I've found that the EQL product has a far higher market share, and a ton of industry awards.  

I actually had a dell storage consultant come out and give us a demo of the PS4000 series,  and my only gripe is that they only sell them fully loaded or half loaded so you're somewhat limited in the drive selection, and you may end up buying more drive space than you need initially.  The configuration and management is all web based and looks really user friendly.  My skillset is more with Databases and business software and even I could understand how it all worked.

the PS4000E is the product I'm looking at, it's the same chassis & firmware, just different drives, E = Sata, X = 10kRPM SAS, XV=15KM RPM SAS

* Replication is really easy to setup.  
* Application Consitent snapshots - EQL has a little app you install on your servers that flushes the cache before a snapshot is taken.  
* The firmware has this really neat "phone home" feature, in the event of a hardware failure, the SAN will order the replacement part for you.

From what I read wrt the Lefthand device is they require < 5mS response time between nodes to do replication.

Each Node only has 1 controller (the Dell EQL box has 2)  so to get the same amount of uptime you need more nodes.  

The priority of redundancy comes into play because each node only has one controller, if a node dies and there is data sitting in the cache, it shuts down the replication node to prevent data  corruption.

ThushyaAuthor Commented:
very good information - thank you for sharing with me.

Do you know any firmware upgrade issue or snap shot space issue ? from what i understood,
1. that you need to shutdown the controller in order to upgrade the firmware.
2.There is a space allocation issue for snap shots in equallogic.
3. the hp LH  could increasing IO performance by adding more storage, not sure how euallogic can increasing the performance with space growth ( adding more storage space ).

1. I'm not sure about the firmware upgrade sorry.  I did find this EE Question that might help a little though

2. How so? You need to define a % allocated for the volume for the snapshots.  But it does allow you to do thin provisioning so maybe that is where the disconnect is coming from?

3. I think you will find that the HP IOP performance is worse than the EQL's ask your Dell rep for some of the performance whitepapers.

Don't forget with the Equalogics equipment, to add more space you add an entire chassis, it's own set of controllers etc. So if you had two chassis you would have 4 x controllers, each with their own network interfaces to the iSCSI fabric etc.

Couple point and clarifications to add:

for 10TB usable you probably are looking at (2) starter SAS units
Here's a usable capacity calculator:

2 Starter SAS will give you 32 disks, 11.23TB usable (after formatting etc etc, before replication)
4 total modules 2GB or controller cache, and 8 GbE interfaces.

synchronous replication indeed required less than 5ms (really should be less than 2-3) but asychronous (remote IP Snapshots) have no specific latency requirements (Internet/ even slow WAN is fine).  Synchronous replication under 5ms is normal in a GbE interface.  To do multi-site (campus SAN) you typically would require a fiber GbE connection between buildings.

It is true that the LeftHand SAN provide high availability with multiple modules.  But looking for a high performance (SAS) 10TB solution, you would not likely be looking at a single module solution from any vendor.   One node in a cluster failing only brings a volume offline if it is not 2-way (network RAID) replicated, OR if you have your volume configured for "REDUNDANCY instead of AVAILABILITY).  That setting is usually for folks where it is the utmost importance to have 2 copies at all times, and to NEVER allow functionality without 2 live working copied.  I've had no customers use the "REDUNDANCY" mode for volume replication.  Most place an emphasis on high availability.

The LeftHand units are available with either 15,000 rpm SAS, or 7200 RPM MDL SAS.  The SATA drives have been deprecated

Full disclosure I am an HP reseller (as I'm sure many of the other posters here are Dell and HP reps).  I've seen articles saying Dell/HP is better faster etc etc.  In all reality they is going to be a negligible performance delta between the EqualLogic and HP LeftHand products.  It really comes down to the number of spindles in your array.

The best compromise of high availability, data protection and performance with a LeftHand configuration would be modules configured as RAID 5, and critical volumes configured with Network RAID 10 (formerly 2-way replication).

I'd be happy to help with any other question you may have:

Nice thing about LeftHnd is the marketing bundles you get that include VSA so you can also make use of the internal drive bays in your host servers.
ThushyaAuthor Commented:
Could anyone here point out the features, ports and best out from equallogic ? I dont mind going with equallogic if it is justifiable.
ThushyaAuthor Commented:
Thank you.
Why didnt you consider NetApp?  I have found it to be great and it's NAS is one of the best I've ever seen?
ThushyaAuthor Commented:
for some reason - we are between Dell and Hp so NetApp not an option for now & thanks for the option.

I understand.  I find IT departments though that are pidgeonholed into a specific vendor set because someone is not on the approved vendor list are stagnant and lack proper leadership.  Dell and HP will spend a lot of money wooing the executive management teams with lunches and outing to win the contract while the NetApps of the world prove their worth by actually being efficient and doing what they say they will do.  I would go back and push the issue personally, but that's me :)

I think one of the challenges for SMB and MID sized shops shopping for a SAN is they are often new to the technology, and don't have dedicated staff to managing and implementing JUST the SAN.

Dell and HP have done a great job in bringing products to market that are cost effective, all inclusive, and easy to shop and compare.  Look at a quote for an HP LeftHand or EqualLogic solution.  You have the SAN, and the support option.  How many PAGES is an equivalent NetApp quote?  Every feature is a line item SKU, and it's very confusing particularly for someone newer to storage.  Netapp took their enterprise model, and try to sell it the same way to the midlevel and SMB market.

This is often why you see the question Dell EqualLogic vs HP LeftHand.  Those 2 companies have hit it out of the park to put together a functional solution, that is easy to use and scales nicely.

NetApp, EMC, Hitachi etc etc use the enterprise model of selling, but just use their SMB/MID model numbers.  They don't just need different SKUs for the mid/smb market, they need to package, market, and sell the products differently.

Someone new to SANs doesn't necessarily KNOW if they are going to use replication, clustering, snapshots, thin provisioning etc etc.  So if they have to go back later and buy licenses for these things, they've lost a bit of their price negotiating power once they've selected a vendor.  So why not get the system with all the features they may want already turned on...
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