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Recommendations for Fiber Channel SAN ~ $15,000?

Posted on 2011-05-07
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Hi, can you please recommend a Fibre Channel SAN at around $15k budget range?

Will be used with VMWare (2 host servers, 8 virtual servers out of which 2 are SQL database servers)

Thank you
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Question by:darkbluegr
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by:David
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2 physical servers need to share some storage?   Implementing a fibre channel SAN for just that is overkill, unless you need a lot of disk.  So how many TB do you need to share, and what is the estimated I/Os per second and/or throughput.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
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ID: 35713463
Have a look at the HP P2000 G3 MSA arrays or NetApp FAS2000 series.

NetApp have extra software functionaility for SnapManager for VMware (Backup Product), Snap Manager for SQL (at addition at costs).
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by:darkbluegr
ID: 35713478
It's highly recommended from vmware and also from our vendor (financial/brokerage applications) and we would like to have room to grow. Also need to have redundant storage in case one of the machines fails.

Not sure about exact throughput figures as it's a new implementation and I don't have past data..

Thank you!
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NetApp would be ideal to add a second filer that you can then use Snapmirror to mirror the storage to another netapp filer for DR, very efficiently.
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by:justadad
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I would agree a Fibre Channel SAN seems like overkill in this scenario.  A shared storage solution would be possible using iSCSI over gigabit Ethernet or NFS over gigabit Ethernet depending on the amount of disk needed.  The Fibre Channel cards usually are more expensive than all of the local disk any single server would need.

As an example  you could look at VMWare certified devices from QNAP.
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andyalder earned 500 total points
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SAS host connection is also an option, not a dumb SAS enclosure but one that has dual internal controllers such as the SAS attached variant of the P2000 MSA hanccocka mentions. better bandwidth than iSCSI and fibre channel but limited to 4 direct attached hosts*. HP used to sell them along with a pair of DL380s as a packaged cluster, not sure what special bundles they do at the moment.

*more hosts if you use SAS switches but they're not widely supported.

Dell MD3200 is also an option but I think that's limited to two hosts rather than having four host ports per controller.
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by:David
ID: 35715569
Vmware has a vested interest for you to buy as much hardware as possible to make their software look good.  Your vendor has a vested interest to buy as much hardware as possible from them, do they not?

You have NOT addressed how much usable storage you need, nor have you commented on specific I/O requirements (IOPs, throughput)   You only mentioned a budget.  It is not possible for anybody to tell you what you need.

Ask  your vendor how many TPS or IOPs they calculated as a basis for determining what you need?   If they did the work, they should be able to tell you.  You do not need a "SAN" for 2 hosts.  Heck, many FC RAID subsystems have 2 host ports to begin with, or you can put together a late-model used server and go iSCSI for a fraction of the price.

But it all comes down  to usable storage and meeting some element of throughput or I/Os per second. Without that info then it is just pointless suggesting anything.
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by:Paul Solovyovsky
ID: 35717722
I agree with @dlethe..my take on this is "If you don't know what you don't know"..how will you be able to come up with a solution.  Once you define what you need the answers are fairly simple.  
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by:driskollt
driskollt earned 248 total points
ID: 35721599
If you need to factor in growth, then you might want to look at a proper FC/FCoE SAN.

If this is just dedicated to 2 servers and never expanding to more, then listen to the other people.  FC adds a lot of cost and a lot of features that you probably don't need.  A lot of arrays also have the ability to add FC later down the line if you need it.

$15k isn't a lot of money for something redundant.  If you want FC, you'll end up spending a lot of that just for the FC support (HBAs, FC ports on your array, Possibly FC switch if you aren't going to direct connect).


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by:darkbluegr
ID: 35741016
The vendor recommends an "enterprise-class" SAN, utilizing 15k RPM SAS drives, they say 10k RPM drives is an absolute must, but 15k RPM drives are recommended, especially when using virtual machines. We will have around 8 vmware virtual servers total, running on two physical servers.

Are there any suggestions for reliable SAN arrays without the added cost of FC that can use 15k RPM drives, and could later be upgraded to FC?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
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NetApp Filers.

You can license what technologies you need, iSCSI, CIFS, NFS, Fibre Channel.

you can mix and match different shelves of SATA or FC disks.
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by:David
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How much does downtime cost you, and what is the CPU utilization?

A VERY inexpensive alternative is to simply get a native SAS-2 RAID controller (supported by VMWARE), direct attach the disk drives, along with perhaps a pair of quality SSDs.   You would certainly get much more I/O capability then adding the overhead and latency of a SAN, but you would have to add more cores and RAM, potentially.  Use an external JBOD SAS-2 enclosure.

Then as budget permits (or even do the math, budget probably permits now) ...  you can hook up another SAS-2 HBA on the other host into the same array, and give it some of the virtual machines by just configuring whatever disks it needs directly.  Get dual-ported cards so that each host has 2 cables into the array that has 4 external ports.

Don't share the same LUNs or disks between each machine today, but in event of a failure you can buy software or manually just remap the other arrays/machines to the surviving host.  

Both systems will only be hot with their own data, but it will get you going.
Phase 3 would be to add the software to facilitate automating VM failover, or even turning one of those systems into a NAS or SAN / iSCSI dedicated server.
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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 500 total points
ID: 35741574
P2000 that hanccocka mentioned - you can replace the SAS host-attached controllers with fibre host-attached ones without any change to the rest of the disk system, after all the connection to the hosts is logically the other end of the board to the disk stuff. You can also use both SFF and LFF (if you have an additional enclosure) and mix SAS and SATA. No SSD support yet though.

If you want to go the path that dlethe suggests and use internal SSDs then you could still have them in a virtual SAN by using something such as LeftHand VSA to present them via iSCSI (but it's expensive software).
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