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Dell Equalogic or HP Lefthand? Need recommendation on SAN

Posted on 2011-09-29
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I am planning the purchase of a 12 TB raw SAN that will be used with vSphere 5 and two DEll R710 servers for aq virtual implementation. I will be running 6 VM's at first to start and then I will virtualize Exchange 2007 for 150 users (by that time possibly 2010) next year.

I have looked at Dell Equalogic's 4100E and HP Lefthand P4300G2. My goal is to get the very best solution for my needs and I would like it to be scalable for several years to come with the ability to add drives as needed. The Dell has 12 7.2 drives while the HP has 8 15k drives.

I know that the more drives that the SAN has the more iOPS I will get, but will I achieve higher iOPS with faster drives?

Which unit is the better choice based on anyones experience?  

Thanks
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Question by:wayy2be
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paulsolov earned 167 total points
ID: 36833759
I would go with the Dell Equalogic as it has better integrations with VMWare.  I would also take a look ath the EMC VNX series as it plays much better with VMWare and scales well.  

I would opt for going to Exchange 2010 as it reduced IOPS requirements by quite a bit.
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by:wayy2be
ID: 36854016
If it were between the Dell Equalogic and the EMC VNX?  I want to use some of the SAN critical files and redirected My Documents and possibly email archiving later down the road. So if you were between the Dell or the EMC which would you choose and why?
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by:paulsolov
ID: 36858728
The Dell EQ4100E is an iSCSI only solution.  The EMC VNXe can do iSCSI, CIFS, NFS.  So you can esssentially make it a file server for you redirection of My documents directly to a share folder on the SAN.  You can use either NFS or iSCSI for Virtual Machines.

Whlie in the mix also take a look at Netapp.  It's snapshotting technology is superior but pricier units and a la carte licensing.
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by:wayy2be
ID: 36865434
I will only have budget for one SAN right now, what can I do to protect the data / VMs on te SAN should it go down? I was thinking about also purchasing a NAS just for the My Documents, files etc, what do you think?  Thanks
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by:paulsolov
ID: 36869005
It depends, most SANs do have snapshots but if the SAN goes down a good backup to disc scenario is always a good way to go.  For VMs something like Quest vRanger or Veeam Backup and replication.  You could also look at Backup Exec with an array of agents to backup Exchange, SQL, etc.. as well as virtual machines.
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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 36890676
The EqualLogic can do CIFS/NFS with the FS7500 unit add on, not that it is necessary. I have about 1 TB on my Windows 2008 R2 VM on Hyper-V with EqualLogic SATA storage on the back end. I think that it is easier to keep files on the Windows servers we know and love. I also get Windows capabilities like DFS Replication that I would not get with unified SAN storage.

From what I have read on the StorageMojo thread on EqualLogic vs Left Hand (the HP product you are looking at), HP has ruined it. There are a lot of unhappy Left Hand customers.

You will be able to run EqualLogic for a very long time. I just bought a PS4100X to run alongside my PS400E which is 4 years old, and it will load balance across all disks and all members. I expect that I will be running all of the same EqualLogic equipment 5 years from now, because EqualLocic has to this point continued to support the very latest firmware on even their oldest hardware; not a single piece of EqualLogic equipment ever sold has an announced end of life. My local sales engineer uses the original PS100 in his sales demos, and it runs the latest code.

Can you get a quote for the PS4100E? It has 16 drives in a 3U chassis.
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ID: 36891284
Here is a very similar question on EE, which is still being discussed

Flavor of Dell SAN, or forgo SAN for less expensive NAS solution

It discusses Dell Equalogic's HP Lefthand

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Virtualization/Q_27316639.html

and also an article from the EE discussion here

http://storagemojo.com/2009/10/21/ask-storagemojo-equallogic-vs-lefthand-more/
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by:gmbaxter
ID: 36896163
7.2k disks will be sata/near line sas. Always opt for 10k or 15k sas disks if you want decent performance.
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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 36899877
In general, 15K drives perform better than 10K drives which perform better than 7.2K drives. That said, EqualLogic started their business by displacing a lot of older FC systems running 15K and 10K drives with EqualLogic 7.2K SATA systems, so controllers do make a huge difference. My systems run pretty well on EqualLogic SATA drives, and next week I am finally adding some 10K SAS to the mix for an environment that has 10X the VMs and 5X Exchange mailboxes, running on two PS400E units, which is a total of 28 SATA drives in RAID50 with 4 hot spares.
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by:wayy2be
ID: 36921870
I am looking at Equalogic PS4100X with 10k SAS drives, 12 900GB drives to be exact. The HP Lefthand is a P4300 G2 SAS drives. I am trying to decide between the two and it ios not easy!  LOL Since I will only have one SAN to start this budget year, what is the best way to back up the data on the SAN?  What do you all think of these two devices?  Thanks
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ID: 36921881
I would go with the Dell solution and Veeam Backup and Replication.
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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 36922151
The PS4100X must be half populated if you only have 12 drives. That is still a lot more powerful than my 14 drive SATA units. You should be very happy with it.

Most of my data protection is via snapshots and replication. I have thankfully never lost any data on my EqualLogic SAN.

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by:wayy2be
ID: 36925979
That is correct, it is half populated. Is Veeam expensive?
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by:wayy2be
ID: 36934534
Today I looked at NetApp FAS3210, one with a single controller and one with the high availability package which has 2 controllers. Both come with Flash Cache. 24x450GB drives SAS 10k. What do you guys think of NetApp?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 166 total points
ID: 36934543
I am a little biased, because I think they are fantastic! VMware and NetApp a "marriage made in heaven"!

Many different licensed options, to aid your VMware environment.

If you use a NetApp filer, very fast backup and restore, using SAN based Snapshots of the LUNs or NFS. So maybe no requirement for Veeam Backup and Replication.

We deploy most of our implementations on NetApp filers and HP SANs. I'm sure paulsolov will be along shortly with a few comments!
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by:wayy2be
ID: 36934567
Thanks for the reply. I am sooooo confused between the three (Equalogic, HP Lefthand and NetApp). I was quoted two different scenarios based on business need. One FAS3210 2 shelfs, one with 24x1TB 7.2k SATA drives (for archival data) and the other shelf has 24x300GB 15k, 3Gb SAS drives. It has HA with dual controller and OnTAP essentials which I am assuming is software?

The other FAS3210 is a single controller with Flash Cache and 24x450GB 10k, 6Gb SAS drives. Both devices are $45k and $42k respectively.

How do they compare with Equalogic and HP?
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by:paulsolov
ID: 36934619
I am biased as well since we're a Netapp partner.  If you're comparing to Lefthand and Equalogic you may want to look at the FAS 2040 that would take the same shelves.  The 3210 has a lot of room to grow but the 2040 can do pretty much anything you want at a lower cost.

If you want to migrate CIFS (windows shares) to the Netapp it is just a license with no extra hardware needed..just join Netapp to the domain and you're set, create shares using Windows Computer Management mmc.

Netapp will also do FC, iSCSI, FCOE, NFS for VMWare, typically we sue NFS for simplicity and snapshot technology on it can't be beat.  Equalogic and Lefthand both use copy on write which means that you're using a lot more storage for the snapshots vs Netapp.  Deduplication on Netapp with Virtual Machines and CIFS is around 50% and has snapmanager tie ins for Exchange, SQL, Sharepoint, etc..

How does the 3210 cluster compare in price to EQ and HP?
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by:kevinhsieh
kevinhsieh earned 167 total points
ID: 36934852
Disclosure: I am an EqualLogic customer. I haven't used NetApp, HP, or EMC.

I can tell you that the EqualLogic pricing model is much simpler than NetApp. You pick your model and the size of your drives and you have a single price. There are no separate license fees, replication licenses, snapshot licenses, host licenses, thin provisioning license, professional services setup (you can buy setup, but you don't need it), separate UPS device, etc. Every new feature they have released has been made available to every customer on maintenance, regardless of the age of the equipment. Maintenance is cheap too, I pay just a few thousand annually for year 4, 5 maintenance. NetApp and EMC are notorious for making maintenance so expensive that you can't afford to keep your old equipment under maintenance. I think that it is a plot for force you to buy new equipment and generate sales commisions.

EqualLogic has been completely backward and forward compatable for 9 years. You can't find much EqualLogic equipment on eBay because it is all still in use. You never do a rip and replace or a forklift upgrade. I would use the first generation 9 year old EqualLogic PS100E in my production environment with my brand new PS4100X and older PS400E if I could get my hands on one.

I have heard that the NettApp stuff is pretty good, and they have lots of nice features if you can afford them. The NetApp snapshots are more space efficient, and they have dedupe, which isn't available in EqualLogic (yet).  My understanding is that the VMware integration is about the same for both platforms.  $45K (why would you ever buy a system with just a single controller) seems like a lot of money for 6 servers and 150 users. You can almost buy 2 EqualLogic units for that much and put 1 in a DR site.
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by:paulsolov
ID: 36934857
I have used Equalogic, Netapp, Lefthand (before and after they got bought by HP), EMC...

You have to enumerate which features you want, which ones you need, and which ones you are nice to have.  With Netapp you don't rip and replace since the Ontap is the same, the 10 year old units I have in my lab are the same as the version running on most of my customers (newer Ontap is only on newer models).

At the end of the day all major brands will give you a decent unit but some offer more features, others better price point, bundled packages, etc..
Best thing to do is make a matrix of features, cost, price/performance, etc..
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by:wayy2be
ID: 36939498
$42-45k is way over what I am looking to spend. The HP quote came in at $19k for a P4300 G2 8TH MDL SAS and the Equalogic came in at $27 for the PS4100X 10TB 10k SAS drives. I plan to start with 6 servers as VMs and then migrate Exchange and a SQL box over to VM, plus I need it do be scalable for several years out. I agree, why would the vendor even offer a SAN with a single controller, who would buy that?

I plan to pick up a NAS as well for achiving files that will not be used often and kept fopr regulatory purposes. I orginally liked the idea of Tier 1 and 2 storage on the same box like NetApp suggested but I think I like a seperate NAS box for archiving and storing user files (redirection of My Document folder, etc). What do you all think there?

I plan to do disk based back up down the road, Dell told me that if your full back up is 1TB and you wish to replicate this out to another offsite SAN you need double the disk space of the backup on the sending SAN, so I need 2 TB free on the SAN that I am backing up to and then this SAN will replicatre out to a offsite SAN. Is this correct?

I definately need to build a matrix, I am doing that right now :)  So if it were you, what would you purchase from the info above and would you opt for Tier 1 & 2 storage in one box or a seperate NAS box for archiving, folder redirection, user files etc?

Thanks all, I really appreciate everyones help and input.
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ID: 36939503
I would have a look at the HP P2000 series.
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by:wayy2be
ID: 36939573
Why the P2000 series?
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ID: 36939706
Cheaper, if you are on a budget.
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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 36940039
The Dell EqualLogic does require additional space on the sending group for outbound replication. It also requires a high bandwidth connection, or a WAN optmizer (Riverbed, Silver Peak, etc.) to work well.

The Hyper-V 3.0 Server will have replication built in, and it should be free. EqualLogic supports the SAN offloading features in VMware, and I expect that they will for Hyper-V and Windows Servr 8 as well.

http://www.windows8update.com/2011/09/30/windows-server-8-hyper-v-3-0/
(note, there is an error on how much RAM a current Hyper-V guest can have. A Hyper-V VM can currently have 64 GB RAM)

How much did a Dell EqualLogic PS4100X with 12 7.2K SATA drives come in at? Pricing varies with capacity, but it should have enough performance for you.
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by:wayy2be
ID: 36983620
The Equallogic PS4100X with 12 x 900 GB 10k SAS drives (total 10.8TB raw) came out at $27,500. The other box, the NAS is a Dell NX3100 with 6 2 TB 7.2k near line SATA drives. It would be running Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition and configured as a RAID 1 and RAID 5. This box was quoted at $6800. Remember the NAS I plan to use for archiving of documents, users My Documents folder redirection, shared files and possibly email archiving storage.

So knowing all of the above what do you all think?  Thanks for the help on this, I truly appreciate it.
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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 36984038
I would start with the SAN. Budget for the NAS, but you can add that later, if needed. I just bought my PS4100X with 24 900 GB drives for about the price that you are being quoted for the half populated PS4100X and the NX3100 put together. Something to think about. I got good pricing because I am part of a group that has negotiated good discounts because of our overall volume, but you are now in Dell's 4th quarter (October-January), so it's a good time to buy. I would much rather have the nice SAN than half the SAN and a NAS. A five year old NAS these days would be Windows 2003, which is a bit long in the tooth. A 5 year old EqualLogic is better today than it was 5 years ago because of the software inprovements that have been made over the years. The EqualLogic is also going to be a lot more reliable than the NX3100.

Whatever you do for document storage, use a domain based DFS path to reference it. That way you can change to a different server in the future without needing to change anything client-side.
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by:wayy2be
ID: 36989989
What speed drives on your PS4100X? I need both thye SAN and the NAS so I plan to purchase both. Sounds to me I need to beat up on the DEll rep for pricing :-)
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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 36990067
900 GB 10K SAS. For my file storage, I just have a Windows 2008 R2 VM attached to about 1 TB of SAN storage via the iSCSI initiator inside the VM.
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by:wayy2be
ID: 37035654
I am starting to lean toward NetApp. I heard there is a new model, 2240 coming out in December that has all the protocols backed in as opposed to ala carte. Anyone have any info on this (NetApp dealers)?
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by:paulsolov
ID: 37035828
I will be having a briefing within a week or two with our Netapp partner rep.  November 1 through 4 is Netapp Insight in Vegas, we should know what the new details will be...one more week and we'll know.
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by:wayy2be
ID: 37037618
Sounds great... please let me know if you can
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by:wayy2be
ID: 37111733
The 2240 was offically announced. I dont think there is any pricing yet? Anyone know?
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by:paulsolov
ID: 37111782
Check website, 2000 series now starting @ $7500 to compete with the other vendors

FAS2040 will start under $7500, FAS 2240 under $16K


http://www.informationweek.com/news/storage/systems/231902558
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by:wayy2be
ID: 37150739
Thanks. I know a few of you all are NetApp resellers, what should I expect to get for 35k in a 2040 or a 2240? I understand that all the protocols are now included? I want to be sure that I am getting a good deal/
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by:paulsolov
ID: 37150776
I haven't had the full scoop on the protocols yet, having Netapp rep come in to discuss in 2 weeks but I would look for the SnapManager for SQL, Exchange, VMWare, etc.. if you'll be using it which I believe is application pack and Protection Pack includes Operations Manager, Protection Manager, etc..

I would reprice with a local dealer review what you want to use it for and see what packages serve you best.  The most expensive options comes with FlexClone which allows you to mount snapshots as read/write and split it afterwards if needed and Multistore which allows you to create virtual Netapp filers on your system and have each running as a standalone Netappp.

I've heard that SSD shelves will be coming out by end of year as well..
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by:wayy2be
ID: 37211356
Hi all, Paulsolov and hanccocka, what should the price be (ball park) for this config:

NetApp      DS4243-1511-24S-QS-R5      DSK SHLF,24x450GB,15K,3Gb SAS,IOM3,QS,R5      1                  
NetApp      X5526A-R6      Rackmount Kit,4-Post,Universal,R6      1                  
NetApp      X6558-R6      Cable,SAS Cntlr-Shelf/Shelf-Shelf/HA,2m      4                  
NetApp      X6561-R6      Cable,Ethernet,2m RJ45 CAT6      3                  
NetApp      X800E-R6      Power Cable North America,R6      4                  
NetApp      CS-A2-INST-4R      SupportEdge Standard Part Replace 4hr,Install      1                  
NetApp      FAS2040-S2-R5      1
NetApp      FAS2040A-12X1TB-BASE-R5-C      FAS2040A,12x1TB,Base,R5,-C      1                  
NetApp      FAS2040A-HA-SW-R5      FAS2040A,HA CFO Software,R5      2                  
NetApp      SW-BASE-PK-S2-C      SW,BASE Pack,S2,-C      2                  
NetApp      SW-CIFS-C      SW,CIFS,-C      2                  
NetApp      SW-FLEXCACHE-C      SW,FlexCache,-C      2                  
NetApp      SW-NFS-C      SW,NFS,-C      2                  
NetApp      X5526A-R6      Rackmount Kit,4-Post,Universal,R6      1                  
NetApp      DOC-2040-C      Documents,2040,-C      1                  
NetApp      X800E-R6      Power Cable North America,R6      2                  
NetApp      CS-A2-INST-4R      SupportEdge Standard Part Replace 4hr,Install      1                  
x
x

Thanks
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by:paulsolov
ID: 37211511
I'm not sure, I haven't seen the new SKUs yet with new pricing.  Contact your local rep. and get a quote.  Be carefull in locking in since it will lock you in with a vendor but you can always give CDW a call and try to get a few numbers together.
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by:wayy2be
ID: 37224539
Thanks for your reply. I think I am leaning toward the NetApp. However I never set one up and cannot afford implementation. Can you point me to any resources that would help?  I plan to connect the SAN to two Dell switches and run vSphere 5. If I was able to get the above for $38k would you think that was a good or great deal?
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by:paulsolov
ID: 37224961
You should be able to get a better deal on the 2040s. The 22240 comes with all protocols (nice that you have NFS and iSCSI for VMware) but do not have snaprestore or flexclone (nice to have) out of the gate.  for this price you may be able to get the  2240 filer and if you need help I offer consulting services if interested.

What concerns me is that I don't see an app pack, protection pack, or anything else..looks like an old quote to me
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by:wayy2be
ID: 37226936
Actually this is a new quote!  I totally agree with you.
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by:wayy2be
ID: 37295671
Going with NetApp.  Thanks all :)
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by:paulsolov
ID: 37295939
Did you choose the 2240 or 2040?
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