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Storage, virtualization and Exchange 2010 deployment ideas needed

Posted on 2011-09-02
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Guys,

I am evaluating new file storage, Hyper-V virtualizaiton and deployment of exchange 2010 standard (moving from 2003 standard). Ultimately, it sounds like we need a SAN, however due to cost reasons, I'd like to stay with NAS if possible. Environment is 100% Windows with approximately 100 users.
We currently have 2 physical DCs, 1 physical Exchange (60GB DB), 2 physical servers (combined file data 600GB), BES 5 running on ESXi 4, Business Contact Manager 2010 running on the same  ESXi box. Additionally we have Symantec End Point running on Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 r2 .
My original thought was to go with HP Storageworks x1600 G2 6TB SAS model - BV864A, 2 HP switches E2910-24F - J9145A#ABA and 3 x DL 380 G7 639829-005 boxes (also ordering 12 x 4GB DDR 1333Mhz RAM). The problem with this idea is that all of my eggs would be in one basket. The other issue is the IOPS, so I'm choosing a NAS with approximately 10 x 600GB SAS 10K drives, plus I'm getting 6 more 600GB SAS for use in same storageworks or  in exchange if we decide to go with physical Exchange and Local storage.
If we use HP Storageworks x1600 G2, I can eliminate 2 servers as I could just combing File Servers directly on the Windows Storage Server 2008. Convert to Hyper-V following machines: SEP, BES 5, build a new VM for accounting, possibly virtualize Exchange... But  I also would like to provide some form of replication/redundancy.. Netgear offers ReadyNAS where you can replicate the 2 NAS boxes, am I able to do the same with Storageworks without 3rd party software ? Yeah, backing up is one thing, but when you have everything running on one NAS, we need some form or replication so if one box goes South, we are still fully functional on another one.... My concern with ReadyNAS is that it uses SATA and I’d like to stay with SAS.
Backing up VMs, I would probably use SCVMM or perhaps something else….
Dell recommended EqualLogic,  3 x R710 and 2 switches, but the cost of EqualLogic = 2 x Storageworks Units with 6TB SAS in each… Even with a SAN, I would still have everything in one basket….
I'm attaching results from Dell tool that we ran for 24 hours, it shows total storage including the OS and everything, realistically my file storage is 600GB, exchange is 60GB and my utility directory is 200GB, not including the actual VMs currently....
Any suggestions or recommendations ?
Sorry for a long post....
iops.JPG
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Question by:zanderkid
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kevinhsieh earned 250 total points
ID: 36477220
It's really hard not to have points of failure. In my network, if I lose any of my switches, it is going to be very disruptive, even though I can theoretically run things through the other switch, once I recable things. The EqualLogic is designed for 99.999% availability. Dual hot swap controllers, dual hot swap power supplies, hot swap drives, hot swap fans, passive backplane. Still, you can theoretically have a software glitch, or a power surge frying your equipment. Your replication environment can replicate corruption from one storage device to another. There is only so much you can do, and then you have backups...

I have run EqualLogic for 4 years, and I have had ZERO unplanned downtime or data loss.

From what I can tell, you can run everything on two R710, one EqualLogic PS4100X, and a switch (or two). Keep another physical server as a DC. You can have additional DCs as VMs. Your IOPs look high...does it include a backup window? Without backups distorting your stats I would think that a PS4000E or 4100E would have enough IOPS for an environment your size (based on the fact that I am using two PS400E for nearly 10X the servers and 6X the users).
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by:andyalder
ID: 36477902
StorageWorks x1600 G2 is running Windows so you can buy two and cluster them, gets quite expensive as twice the disk cost though. A cheaper redundant solution is to have a dual controller storage box such as the MSA2000 / P2000 although then you'd need a file server which you can of course virtualize for high availability. For just 3 servers you can use SAS host attach rather than iSCSI or fibre channel, that saves on having to buy SAN switches.
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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 250 total points
ID: 36477949
Another option would be to virtualize the shared storage, Each DL380 can have 16 disk bays and you can use that as iSCSI target (at the additional disk cost of clustering again of course). Several virtual san appliances available on the market. Then you'd just need 3 servers and they would be your shared storage too.
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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 36478045
You can use Starwind Software's iSCSI target to turn two Windows servers into a high availability SAN that is able to sustain a failure in either node.
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by:zanderkid
ID: 36478105
Yeah, makes sense. So, is Starwind Software iSCSI target something similar to SAN Symphony ?
I was just looking at SAN Symphony demo, I was all excited until I saw the cost, basically, their licensing will cost the same or more then a VNXe 3100 SAN and definetely more then the x1600

Do you know what Starwind licensing ball park cost is ? My company tends to spend more in smaller quantities, but more often, that will come down to spending more then having a solid SAN solution at the end... I plan on getting a couple of proposals, having one as the high end solution where we utilize a SAN or NAS for everything and having a second unit to replicate everything to. I guess, if it comes down to it, I could keep my file storage separate, just do DFS. Get a third DL380 box and run Exchange locally, keep the VMs running locally and rely on backups. This way everything is separated, but what a major pain in the rear that would be, so that`s why I am still looking into SAN or NAS. I will look into Starwind, definetely something to consider. Once i know what it cost then I can measure against a SAN. Additionally, I plan to implement better DR, compress the data and dump it to either Iron Mountain or Unitrends.
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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 36478254
I believe that their single node CDP option is about $5K. They have a Hyper-V HA option that you can run in the Hyper-V nodes coming out Sept 15. I expect that it should list less than $10K for 1 TB, maybe around $7500?
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by:zanderkid
ID: 36478263
yeah, still pricey, but justlike everything else, gotta pay to play i  guess....
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by:andyalder
ID: 36478312
I thought HP/LeftHand VSA was expensive, $5000 for a single node 10TB license makes it cheaper than StarWind maybe. More options too - Network RAID 5 so you would only lose 1/3 of your space to high availability (on top of what you lose to local RAID).

HP have some weird pricing on VSA, it's cheaper to buy a hardware P4000 platform and get the bundled in VSA licenses sometimes.
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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 36478758
I have never gotten a StarWind quote, so don't quote me on the price. How many nodes do you need for LeftHand HA? I thought that it was 3+. That drives up the price a bit.
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by:zanderkid
ID: 36478828
Let me check with my vendors on the price of lefthand vsa, this looks like s solid solution. Technically, I could get 2 x Storageworks x1600 G2 units apply Left Hand VSA and there is my solution to fault tolerance.... I guess it comes down to the cost. I'm considering 2 or 3 server hosts for VMs and 2 NAS devices.
Regardless, our company has to have that or similar functionality. Still less then purchasing 2 x SANs, at least that`s my guess....
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by:andyalder
ID: 36478830
You can use one node but that's hardly HA. Two gives HA, with the option to either keep going or shut down if a node fails. Three gives the best of both worlds as you can use network RAID 10 with 3 copies so you still have redundancy with a failed node at a high disk cost. Network RAID 5 requires 4 nodes. It can be done on a LUN level, so you don't have to have network RAID 10 throughout, some can be network RAID 0 if node failure doesn't matter to the particular LUN.
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by:zanderkid
ID: 36478893
Well, I knew something was missing from that IOPS report, I pulled up teh original report the important section from what I printed was missing, this explains a lot now....
Servers Recorder: 7
Throughput: 37.1 MB/Sec peak
IOPS: 1005 avg and 1705 at peak (peak is at night when backups run)
Read/Write ration: 80%read / 20% write
Total Capacity: 2957.7GB (but that includes OS and everything)
Free Capacity: 605.1 GB Free

In terms of DC having high IOPS because it has it`s also a host to SEP VM (MS virtual Server 2005)running on it.

I'm a little confused by 2 or 3 nodes, if I was able to get 2 storageworks unit and had either 2 or 3 VM hosts (DL 380 g7 boxes), how many nodes would this all mean. The way I understand CDP is continuous data protection, so if it`s written to 2 NAS boxes like storageworks, that should be good enough for us.
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by:andyalder
ID: 36478979
LeftHand VSA was to put on the DL380s and not buy any separate storage. It's a virtual appliance that makes use of the internal disks of your VMware / Hyper-V hosts so you would have not have to buy the X1600s. You can have it on physical rather than virtual hosts but then it's called P4000. Debatable whether LeftHand or Equallogic is the better of the two.
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by:zanderkid
ID: 36478992
either one solution is still a far cry from what i currently have...Looking forward to speaking w my vendor on Tuesday, I will be sure to post back what the cost is....
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by:zanderkid
ID: 36479045
I found another far more affordable solution for software san - stormagic.com
can be integrated into esxi too.
2virtual appliance licenses w 2TB $1,990 w 2 HA licenses included.
4TB - $2,990
Thought I'd share with you guys, I found it on techrepublic.com right below the LeftHand article LOL
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by:andyalder
ID: 36480140
Yes, I said there were others, some listed at http://www.vmware.com/appliances/directory/cat/6693 plus of course there's VMware's own one http://www.vmware.com/products/datacenter-virtualization/vsphere/vsphere-storage-appliance/overview.html (which won't install on Hyper-V)

Still double disk cost for the mirroring Vs a dual controller hardware setup though, but you can buy a lot of disks for the $5K that something like a MSA2000 costs.
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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 36480853
Looking at the StorMagic website, what it says (and doesn't), and considering the fact that I have never heard of them, I would be very convered about their long term viability. The market is pretty crowded, and I don't get the impression that they have a lot of traction in the marketplace.
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by:zanderkid
ID: 36480919
You are correct, although it cost more, I would be more comfortable with the established company. I will also reach out to Vmware, their solutions sounds very good....
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Author Closing Comment

by:zanderkid
ID: 37082805
Thanks guys, I appreciate the help and apologize for delay. Still debating, but leaning toward just getting a NAS for file storage and Exchange arhived data and perhaps manual failover for Local VMs due to budgets. Thanks again.
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