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SAN

Posted on 2011-03-05
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14
Dear Experts,
I have a domain network of 200 users with windows domain and approximately 5 tera byte data.
I need a good solution for my company.
can you please advice with SAN comparison and prices.

Regards,
Sanjeev Kumar
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Question by:sanjeevkmrs
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gravit9 earned 125 total points
ID: 35044965
There are 3 different protocols for SANs:
1. FibreChannel (FC)
2. SAS
3. iSCSI

FC having the highest performance and iSCSI the lowest. Price is relative to performance. Based on your post I think iSCSI would be a good choice.

For each solution you will need a Storage array or subsystem (Controllers and disks) a switch and a card in the host to connect to the SAN.

Below is a summary of each protocol
iSCSI:
- You use standard CAT-5 wiring
- Use a standard good quality ethernet switch from Dell or Cisco
- Hosts connect using a standard NIC and MIcrosoft iSCSI software initiator, Qlogic also makes HW initiator cards, but are not as stable under heavy IO and failover
- Supports 1Gb, however, there is a new 10Gb iSCSI protocol, it can be faster than 1Gb, but price is also higher because it requires 10Gb CNA (similar to a HIC but 10Gb and uses Fibre cables) and 1 10Gb switch
- 1Gb iSCSI is the lowest price and lowest performace compared to other protocols, it does not mean it is crap, it is actually a very good solution for lower IO loads

SAS
- There are SAS switches available
- Better performance than iSCSI
- Requires SAS HBAs and SAS cables
- Available in 3 or 6Gb

FC
- Requires FC fabric switches
- Uses Fibre cables
- Requires FC HBAs
- FC can get expensive quickly, as each HBA is >$1000 and a 24 port FC swtich is about 10~15K ($)
- FC gives best performace and stability on heavy IO
- Available in 4 or 8Gb
- FC is usually used for heavy IO solutions (many servers

Storage HW is available with single or dual controllers, the main advantage of dual controllers is that you can balance the load on each controller giving you better performance, it also gives you multipath capabilities. The storage HW should come with a management utility.

If you choose the SAS solution, you can get everthing from LSI
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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 35114249
What type of SAN features do you want? What type of support do you want? Does the company need to have a long track record, or is a startup okay? Are you looking at at tier 1, 2, or 3 vendors? What about homegrown storage using off the shelf hardware and software? What type of budget? This is a very interesting time in storage, and cloud storage is becomming viable for many needs.  Answer these questions and we can give you some resources.
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by:dlethe
ID: 35135690
You can create a 5TB share and put it on a SAN for under $1000.  It can handle 1,000+ PCs, as long as they aren't doing much.  Or you could spend $100K.  
How about some constraints?   I take it you already have at least 100 users sharing something ... that would be a good baseline.   Describe what you have and say that you feel it handles X number of users.

Otherwise this exercise will be a waste of time for all, because have describe the proverbial, I have 200 users who are hungry and I need to buy food.  Can you please advise what is the best food with pricing? :)
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by:SelfGovern
ID: 35137517
The other thing to consider is... How are you going to protect the data from a failure?   5TB is going to take a lot of DVDs or many days to backup up to an online service (and many days to restore).

How long can you afford to be down if the storage fails (seconds, minutes, hours, days)?
How much data can you afford to lose if the storage fails (a transaction, a second's worth, a minute's worth, an hour's worth, a day's worth?)
How long do you need to retain backup data?   (weeks, months, years, forever)

5TB of data is past the point of slapped-together backup solutions, IMHO
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by:SelfGovern
SelfGovern earned 250 total points
ID: 35137532
The other thing to consider is... How are you going to protect the data from a failure?   5TB is going to take a lot of DVDs or many days to backup up to an online service (and many days to restore).

How long can you afford to be down if the storage fails (seconds, minutes, hours, days)?
How much data can you afford to lose if the storage fails (a transaction, a second's worth, a minute's worth, an hour's worth, a day's worth?)
How long do you need to retain backup data?   (weeks, months, years, forever)

5TB of data is past the point of slapped-together backup solutions, IMHO.
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Author Comment

by:sanjeevkmrs
ID: 35234360

I thought SAN is raid controller with Fault Taulence of a disk.
Users share data files. And it will be used for backup storage as well.
We cannot afford downtime.
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by:SelfGovern
SelfGovern earned 250 total points
ID: 35234656
You need to understand a lot that you are not aware of now.

SAN stands for Storage Area Network -- it's using some sort of storage controller that can share the disks among one or more attached clients.   The most common SANs are built on Fibre Channel or iSCSI interconnects.  FIbre Channel is a higher-performance, lower latency solution that's also more expensive.  iSCSI has tended to be lower performance but cheaper.

Yes, SAN storage normally has the disks in some sort of fault-tolerant RAID.  But if you don't set it up right, or if you have multiple disks fail before you replace and rebuild the bad ones, you'll still lose data.  Someone who lives in an earthquake zone could have many disks fail close to each other.  Use RAID, but understand its limitations (such as no protection against a virus, accidental or malicious deletions, and only some (or no) protection from multiple disk failures, etc.).

You need to purchase SAN storage that has dual failover controllers.  Make sure you understand how to set things up so that if any controller fails, the other still has access to all data.  There are ways to do this, and other ways that you lose touch with half of your data if one controller fails.

Please understand that if you put your backups on the same disk as your actual data... you don't really have a backup, you just have a copy.  If you lose your storage for any reason -- a firmware bug, a fire or earthquake, lots of other issues -- you have nothing, because all your data's gone and you have no way to go back.  Snapshots are not backups, but they will help you recover quickly from some errors (I'm aware of one product where if the storage starts to fill up, the snapshots start getting deleted.  Imagine a runaway process that's overwriting your files... and your only "backup", the snaps, start to go away to fill up more space...)

You also need to think about if you need to preserve archival data (tax info, contracts, employee records, ... ) for a year or more.   If so, disk is a poor way to keep it (electricity costs, and disk being expensive to acquire in the first place).  Tape is often the best archival solution.  Tape backup works in conjunction with your SAN to give you secure storage of archival data at a second location.
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by:1ly4me
1ly4me earned 125 total points
ID: 35340309
This is the best storage solution if your planning to deploy storage and backup.

http://www.dell.com/us/en/enterprise/storage/powervault-md3200i/pd.aspx?refid=powervault-md3200i&cs=555&s=biz

This is very easy to configure and implement. This supports RAID 0,1,10,5,6
RAID 10 is best for fail-over and redundancy. You can reduce the downtime and increase the availability.
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