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SAN comparison

Posted on 2011-02-13
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Need to add a san to the existing environment.
received quotes for the following.
HP P4000 G2 with 60 7.2k disks
EMC NS-120
Netapp DS4243
Dell EqualLogic PS6500E 48 7.2K disks.

I know it's a wild mix but within a tight budget and looking for a product that offers the best value. easy to manage and expand, high performance.

please share your thoughts.
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Question by:electric4us
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Paul Solovyovsky earned 800 total points
ID: 34885559
The Netapp DS4243 is a shelf and not a head unit as it can be attached to any number of Netapp controllers.  What Netapp are you looking at?

What type of front end are you going to run of the SAN? Virtualization, SQL, Exchange, etc..?  Any high IOPS applications would typically require better drives than SATA 7200.  SAS 10Ks are usually a good match.

Dell usually provides a good bundle of software at a decent cost but only does iSCSI.  Netapp provides great flexibility because you can do CIFS, iSCSI, NFS, FibreChannel all on the same unit and can be upgraded easily. The Netapp has great technology for deduplication and application specific integration (vmware, sql, exchange) but may cost extra .  The HP P series is the Lefthand SAN and unless you purchase the RAID5 configuration and you want redundancy it eats up a lot of storage, although it only does iSCSI.  Overall not a bad unit but only performs iSCSI as well unless the newer units have a front end box that can do CIFS.

How much storage do you actually need and what are you going to use it for?


"If you don't know what you don't know you're not going to find an answer"  Perform an audit of your applications, get IOPS numbers, and performance data in general.  From that point you'll be able to spec. out a systems that not only fits your budget but your environment.

My $.02.
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by:electric4us
ID: 34885638
Netapp FAS3140 is the unit I believe. the issue with netapp is, once you start adding the software licenses, the price grows exponentially. I don't think I would need CIFS, I can use a windows install for sharing file instead of paying an expensive CIFS license cost. how good is the base software pack?

part of the storage would be used for a VM environment and part for a demanding application(MySql) which require faster IO. the HP p4000 G2 is said to deliver 4K IO/s at a minimum without counting the cache. how valid is their claim when they say larger number of spindles can meet or exceed 15k sas drive performance?

what is your opinion about the other options?
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by:Paul Solovyovsky
ID: 34885682
The FAS3140 is a nice unit.  Netapp will be offering a free protocol shortly so it's worth a look at.  Depending on IOPs you may be able to take a look at the 2040 and faster drives.  Base pack works well, will give you FC and iSCSI and still performs single instance and dedupe on Tier1 data.  Snapshots are also included but will be non quiesced.

I've had issues with vendors stating that spindles in the end all be all.  If you're creating a raid set for the LUNs and create a LUN afterwards the LUN may reside on several drives.  What I've seen happen is that if the application that's pointing to the LUN starts to have heavy usage the whole raid set takes a hit.  This is where SATA 7200RPM drives will kill you no matter how much spindles you have.  Creating seperate raid sets should resolve the issue but I would be wary (my opinion only).

Another issue I've seen with Lefthand is that it's using regular HP servers and what I've seen happen in a drive failure is a rebuild of the SmartArray take a bit and then the VSA rebuild would start.  I have seen some rebuilds fail but it was a year or two ago so I'm not sure about reliability of current units.

For VMWare the Netapp seems to be a good fit. You can create iSCSI LUNs that you can thin provision and run deduplication.  Typicall space savings range from 30-60% on small to mediam size servers.  From the same system you can hang off a fibrechannel HBA and connect your SQL cluster for best performance, and the DS4243 can allow you to use SAS and SATA drives in the same enclosures so you can create tiered storage to accomodate IOPS.   Most of the other SANs either include thin provisioning or deduplication but not both.  I'm not sure what the new line of EMC storage is provding but worth a look as well.

Note: My company resells and installs Netapp in conjuction with VMWare but I have had experience with HP and Dell units as well.  Hopefully other members will chime in with their experiences and expertise.


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by:Fadi SODAH (aka madunix)
ID: 34885911
I use in one of my offices SAN storage IBM DS3000 series
http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/storage/disk/ds3000/index.html 
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by:electric4us
ID: 34893875
Now I'm comparing DELL Equallogic PS6500Eand HP P4500.
Please share your thought
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by:andyalder
ID: 34895824
P4500 is pretty much infinitely expandable, you just add more of them. Network RAID is wonderful, you can take a storage node offline and it keeps on going although it'll take quite a while to re-sync when it comes back on. Do you want offsite mirroring as well as local replication?
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by:electric4us
ID: 34897954
I don't plan to do any mirroring at this point. just some local replication.
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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 800 total points
ID: 34898331
Well, I can only point out the benefits of the HP P4500 as don't know the rest, you get 5 * DL180 nodes in your P4500 G2 60TB MDL SAS Scalable Capacity SAN, you can add more as you like. You don't really replicate in the normal sense, you write to one which replicates at whatever network RAID level you like so you can treat it as RAID 5 across the 5 boxes. The drivers should read from the right one though rather than you querying a node and it then having to query another node for the data. Or you can have some other LUNs that are split across just two nodes in RAID 1 style, or even some RAID 0 or 6. Then you've got the normal hardware RAID on the controllers.
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by:electric4us
ID: 34898646
we'll be configuring this as RAID10 for performance. I was looking for some input on the Equallogic unit.
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by:andyalder
ID: 34898792
Hardware RAID 10 yes, but I was talking about the *network* RAID level which I don't think Equallogic has except for simple replication. Some explanation at http://forums13.itrc.hp.com/service/forums/questionanswer.do?admit=109447627+1297790606189+28353475&threadId=1432327
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by:Jerod Sanderson
Jerod Sanderson earned 400 total points
ID: 35003765
We use the Dell EqualLogic ps4000's.  They setup very easy.  Using RAID-50.  300GB of SQL Databases & Logs replicate in 10-12 minutes.  In my opinion the EqualLogic can take the place of a SAN admin job they are so easy to configure and manage.  It takes no longer than 5 minutes to create a Volume/LUN and have it allocated to your server and create a replication schedule.  
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