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NetApp FAS2020 questions

I am looking at getting a SAN for a virtualization project. I have been looking at an EMC NX-4 and also Netapp FAS 2020. I have spoken with some people about the EMC, but just spoke with a rep about the 2020 today. I have a questions about a dual head unit. What does this mean exactly? Is this like having a dual controller?

I was a little confused because on the NetApp I will need twice as many disks with dual heads. What advantages over an active/active configuration on an EMC does this offer? Disadvantages?

Also what kind of extra space do I have to plan for on the NetApp and EMC for things like snapshots? I know on the EMC there is a seperate array that is used for their OS. I know that I have seen things about the NetApp boxes to plan for a lot of spare space if running iSCSI and CIFS/NFS. How much space should be planned on?

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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
Dual head is a dual controller unit.  It is active/active meaning it can host its own LUNs, CIFS shares, etc.. and also take over for the second controller when needed.

Each head requires its own OS (ONtap volume) install.  This allows each head to be independent.  It requires 4 disks but I normally make it 50GB and the rest you could use with the aggragate.  Basically you lose 3 disks per controller but you gain 40-70% on Virtual machines due to deduplication as well as CIFS (at least 40-75 as well).  

The advantages over EMC is that you have deduplication by default as well as snapshots taking minimal space.  You can do CIFS on the the same box as well as iSCSIs.  

Get each vendor to come out and give you a demo, install as a pilot in your environment and kick the tires for a bit.
ryan80Author Commented:
I dont know if I just didnt understand the rep, but it sounded like it is going to cut my usable drives in half with dual heads. He said that I would need 12 1TB SATA HDDs to get 4TB usable in RAID 6, and the same with the other tray of 12 450 GB SAS HDDs to get 1.4 TB usable. Do you instantly lose 50% with dual heads? The EMC had a vault pack of 4 450GB SAS drives which the OS uses which is a lot less than 6 SAS and 6 SATA drives. But maybe I just misunderstood.

I am having some difficulty getting assitance from NetApp. It is a small sale for them and I am also looking at EMC. When I told them that, the NetApp rep seemed very hesitant to refer me to a reseller. He basically seemed to be saying that it was not worth their time to work on this with a reseller if it could possibly go to EMC. I have to say that I was very turned off by this attitude. I know that it is only going to be a 30-45K sale which is small for them, but I felt like he was telling me that unless I could garuantee that it would be going to NetApp that he really wasnt going to try. I have a lot of questions and he told me that he doesnt know if a reseller is going to want to help me. I didnt even bother asking about a demo unit.

Ill have to wait to see what the pricing is on the FAS2020 if I ever get a quote. The quote I have for the NX4 has dedupe and CIFS with it.
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
In general you lose about 50% with any SAN. What I normally do is move the second controller OS to the second tray and only use 1 spare so you would lose 3 drives (3 drives ininitally used 1 for OS, 1 for parity and 1 for dual parity, and 1 or two for standby.  The OS volume can be decreased to 50GB which gives most of the drive usable for data and I typically use a single drive for standby).  

Keep in mind that there is manufacturers drive size and real drive size (base 10 vs base 2 1000 vs 1024 so by default you lose some storage).  

If you need a VAR shoot me an email (in my profile), if my company can't help we can guide you to a VAR in your vicinity.  The way dedupe works with EMC is different then Netapp and has a higher performance penalty from what I've been able to tell but not having hands on I can't give you a verifiable answer.

$30-45K is a decent size sale, if a Netapp rep. can't find the time to help you need to find a good reseller that will assist, I have done many of these.  I can run a report and tell you what your usable is if you contact me.

Just let me know.

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