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Shared storage for a VmWare HA deployment

Posted on 2011-02-23
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
Hi Experts
I am virutalizing about 3-4 servers and overhauling the network.
I am considering different options for a shared storage and wanted to know about your experience with that.

Proposed plan:
Vmware HA solution with 2x dell R510's
Shared storage for storing VM file's

Present storage = 700 GB - no SAN
RAID-5 disks on Dell PowerEdge 2900 (multiple PE's)

Requirement
a) 1-2 TB (Max)
b) Enterprise support plan.
c) Friendly Customer service (I really need to put this down...)

Considering options

a) EMC VNXe Seris.
http://www.emc.com/products/series/vnxe-series.htm#/1

b) OpenFiler with some JBOD's / Raided / HBA's
http://openfiler.com/
I called OpenFiler. The product looked really good.
There was this really rude lady. She tried to sell me a support pack and then asked me to email support. I was in the middle of my question @ why do I need to email support for a pre-sales question when she hung-up.

c) AxStor San looks really good, but I am not sure if they sell it in East Coast -US
http://axstor.com/

d) HP Storage works (no idea about costs)
http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF06b/12169-304616-3930449-3930449-3930449-4118659-4118705-4118707.html

e) DataCore San Melody ($11,000 - 2 TB)

f) Starwind iSCSI ($4000 - 2 TB)

Other links / ref:
http://communities.vmware.com/thread/236440
http://serverfault.com/questions/24036/cheap-but-highly-available-shared-storage
http://communities.vmware.com/thread/95031


Let me know about your experience with this.

Thanks
Sunny
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Question by:sunnyc7
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Accepted Solution

by:
Pete Long earned 250 total points
ID: 34962110
I only ever put in HP storage works so I'm biassed - they are expensive - but replacement parts are a phone call away and drives are replaced next business day. I've only had performance problems once (with one customer) and HP released a firmware fix to rectify that (I probably support 75 to 100 HP Sans so that's not a bad rate!)

Storage works stuff at G2 is now pretty easy to setup - the web console is quite straight forward, disk initialisation is slow (typically 16-24 hours for about 1.5Tb) but you can allocate the drives and use them while this is happening - you just lose a bit of performance (not really noticeable to be honest).

They are available as SAS (Thought there is no SAS switch yet, so to do more than 8 connections and you will need to go fiber (before I'm corrected yes there is a SAS switch but its only for blade enclosures at time of writing). There is also a Fiber version - and this you can scale up with HP/Brocade fiber switches. I wouldn't consider iSCSI for production- I've only ever deployed one - it was a nightmare the person who insisted on it was politely moved elsewhere and it was replaces with a SAS one.

Pete
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Assisted Solution

by:dlethe
dlethe earned 250 total points
ID: 34962222

1-2TB max?  Why spend all this money if that is all you need?  Get some 1TB enterprise class SATA disks and do 3-way RAID1.  Who needs a "shared" subsystem.  direct-attach the disks to  your server.  Buy a Dell with a few drive bays, the PERC H700 (dont forget a battery backup for the RAID).

K. I. S. S. l

You don't need any of these external options.  They add unnecessary complexity, cost, points of failure, support overhead, and downtime.  
I say choice g)  -- none of the abovee

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Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 34962284
Actually - no need to buy the PERC.  Just get yourself a SAS-2 RAID controller like one the LSIs that is in the HCL, and the latest seagate constellation SAS-2 family disks.  You can mount them internally if there is room, or in a relatively low-cost SAS-2 enclosure.  This will run several hundred percent faster then every one of those options you mentioned and cost 50% to 75% less money, and be more reliable because internally all of those other options certainly wont have a battery-backed up controller, and the disks you get for those price points will probably do about 1/3 as many random I/OPs as you would get with a n-WAY RAID1.

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Author Comment

by:sunnyc7
ID: 34963933
Thanks for your comments @ peterlong and delthe

looking at MD3200i - ISCSI SAN - 4 TB config'd for now.
http://www.dell.com/us/en/enterprise/storage/powervault-md3200i/pd.aspx?refid=powervault-md3200i&cs=555&s=biz

With dell powerconnect 5424 layer2 - iSCSI optimized

Costs around $11-$12k

I agree with Pete @ phone call away.
We are dell partners - i have account managers and support @ phone call away.
And they overnight it.
and i am pretty comfortable with their SAN / Server support till now.

Restructuring the network and centralizing all storage + planning for growth.
Hence moving away from SAS/Raid-1 or RAID-5 based solutions.
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Author Closing Comment

by:sunnyc7
ID: 35043302
Going for MD - iSCSI
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