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Looking for new central storage NAS

Posted on 2010-08-29
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
Hi There,
We currently have a HP DL320S 1.2TB Storage Server NAS that we are looking to replace. We purchased this NAS a year before even thinking about virtualizing and now that we have virtualized most of our corporate office we are finding the performance to be pretty crappy on this NAS as a central storage to the point that my virtual desktop users complain about delays and lag. (which I have pin pointed down to Long Physical Disk Queue's).
Right now we virtualize approx 10 servers and 10 desktops (not using View, we just have Wyse terminals that connect to XP RDP sessions directly). We have two ESX servers connecting to this NAS via NFS.
We are looking to make a change. I have a budget of around $14,000. I don't need a TON of storage space (2TB would be fine), I care more about IOPs & performance. Any suggestions? I am pretty happy with NFS and I hear that these days High End NAS's can compete with High End SAN's... any thoughts? I am not partial to any brands.

We are on ESXi 4.1

Any tips would be great. Thanks for you help.
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Question by:jeremywatco
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12 Comments
 
LVL 42

Expert Comment

by:paulsolov
ID: 33554865
I don't believe the DL320S is on the HCL list for ESX but glad that you got it to work, just wondering if you are running NFS over top of Windows or NFS native (since running over windows makes it a lot slower).  I would take a look at VMware HCL list since it will tell you whether it will support NFS or iSCSI or both.
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LVL 42

Expert Comment

by:paulsolov
ID: 33554877
You may want to take a look at the Netapp FAS2020, it can do iSCSI out of the box (you can use vmware iscsi initiator and it will do dedupe as well).  For added cost you can do NFS as well, the prices have dropped on these unit and it's a SAN/NAS and can do NFS/iSCSI/CIFS/FC depending on what you need in the future.
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Accepted Solution

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pamiken earned 500 total points
ID: 33554884
I would look into iscsi technology.  It uses standard gigabit ports and you can team several ports together for redunduncy and load balancing.  

Dell makes some fairly inexpensive iscsi solution (md1000) that you could put 15k rpm sas drives in with your budget.  

Personally our budget isn't as high as yours but I really like the drobo elite.  They use their own proprietary raid array that allows you to use different drives and dynamically add drives later.  The performance has been outstanding for us.  We use it for 8 virtual machines and they are io intensive.  You could get one with 2 Tb for about $4-5k.  
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Author Comment

by:jeremywatco
ID: 33554897
At the moment we are using NFS on top of Windows. Our issue isnt the performance of NFS itself rather the actual Array. Its one 1.2 TB array comprised of 9 Spindles doing Raid 5. The Physical Drive Queue is high. Network performance to the unit is great.

We used to be an HP (Compaq) shop however in the past year have started Migrating everything to Dell. So staying with Dell (or Equalogic would be awesome).
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:pamiken
ID: 33554946
Wow, 9 spindles with a Raid 5 array.  I'd be nervous as the raid 5 only allows 1 failure and assuming you bought the 9 drives all at once, they came from the same manufacturing batch.  Chances of 2 drives going bad are much higher.  Also raid 5 performance isn't the best

I would think about using a raid 6 or 10 going forward.  The md1000 is their entry line that can store 16 drives and runs off their perc external raid cards.  Performance of the percs are pretty good.  

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Author Comment

by:jeremywatco
ID: 33554950
The MD3200i line seems like its well within my budget as well. Any experience with those?
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Expert Comment

by:pamiken
ID: 33554961
I haven't had any experience with the md3200i.  However, I am a partner with Dell.  If you wish I can ask my enterprise rep what his recommendations are.
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Author Comment

by:jeremywatco
ID: 33554973
I can do the same however I'll get a Dell Biased answer if I do that.
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Expert Comment

by:pamiken
ID: 33554999
Very true.  I'm partnered with pretty much every vendor.  Most of the equipment I buy is usually Dell or Lenovo.  I would think that the md3200 is fine as the md1000 was decent.  

But you should look at the Drobo Elite.  I have a lot of small businesses that are very budget minded and they are super easy to setup and performance has been great.  

We bought one last year and was impressed with them and now have rolled them out to several other customers.  

Plus with your budget, you could get several of them and eliminate the single point of failure with the array.  Just another thought.
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Author Comment

by:jeremywatco
ID: 33555029
Just out of curiosity... how much are comparable NetApp units?
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LVL 42

Expert Comment

by:paulsolov
ID: 33555097
Check with a vendor, the FAS2020 is the unit for smaller installs and you can use SATA drives.  The main advatage is that you can grow the array as you business need change.  If you're using the same workstation image on the same LUN or NFS volume we've seen 60-85% deduplication so Netapp perspective it's not how much space you have is how the storage takes advantage of it.

The other advatage is snapshots which are not copy on write (as most storage vendors you would need 2X time the storage, one for the data and one for the snapshots).  Netapp uses pointers so the snapshots are almost insteneous and no write process are being done.  You can get up to 255 snapshots which take very little space compared to other vendors.

The units are VMware HCL and fully supported.  If you get a single head unit (you can grow to 2 controller active/active if you wish in the future) you may be able to get it in the 14K range although you'll start with SATA drives and iSCSI.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:nappy_d
ID: 33555317
Take a look at the QNAP line of devices if you are budget conscientious.   They are also on the HCL of VMWare...

http://qnap.com/Products.asp
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