ESXi 4.0 Storage

Good Afternoon,

I am hoping that I can be giving some direction.  I currently have two Dell Power Edge 2970 Servers running ESXi 4.0.  I want to implement a third party backup solution (currently looking at PD Virtual or Veeam) and need to purchase an additional storage medium to store the backups that are created (currently using Ghetto script to snapshot each machine every night and placing it on the ESXI host machine).  We are a small company of around 50 users and I do not have it in the budget to purchase a fiber SAN.  I was looking at either a product  from Buffalo or Thecus.  Wanted to see what others are implementing on their networks.  

Thanks!
krhoades7601Asked:
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JohnGrunwellConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I have one currently in place the 8 bay, i store ISO, programs, and nightly backups using the iscsi.  I haven't needed it for the vm host yet but I have tested to make sure it works.  If I was going to buy another one it would be the 12 bay this wasn't out when I purchased mine. Also supports 2.5 n 3 tb sata drives which are decently priced if the storage capacity needs increased and since its beyond raid you don't have to configured and you can mix and match drives.
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JohnGrunwellCommented:
Look at the Drobo, you can also try a 30 demo to see if it works for you.  it has iscsi port and supports vmware
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JohnGrunwellCommented:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Qnap, Synology and Iomega are good solutions, but be careful because your backup speed will be limited by the speed of NAS you purchase.

Check this Question and User, that is complaining of slow backups because or this.

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Microsoft/Server_Applications/Q_27395451.html

A NAS, which many disks or SSDs is better, low numbers of disks = low performance, and poor backup speed.

Veeam Backup and Replication is the World Leader.

Checkout my Article

VMware ESX/ESXi Backup Guide

You could also re-use old hardware with many disks as a Backup Vault!
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
A word of caution, do not get too excited about the IOmega VMWare certified NAS for NFS and iSCSI!

Many have asked for it to be removed!

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krhoades7601Author Commented:
I am looking at a video on Drobo site now.  Have you had any personal experience with the Drobo?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, Drobo, Iomega, Qnap, WD, Netgear, Synology, Thecus.

We use the Drobo 800i stacked full of SSDs!

But our favourites is to "roll-your-own NAS"!
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krhoades7601Author Commented:
I really would like to try the Drobo.  So am I right in my thoughts on how the actual hardware should flow.......

ESXi host
  1.  Should I set up a vswitch
  2.  Create an ISCSI datastore to the Drobo
  3.  Run backups to the datastore created on the ESXi host

Should I put the backups on their own network?  Has anyone done this?  or should I keep them just on my main network?
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JohnGrunwellCommented:
all depending on the traffic of your network and if you have slow times during night and if you want to run backups during the day
I have done both ways
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
For Backups I would setup an iSCSI Storage Network Just for Backups.
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JohnGrunwellCommented:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Which means

1. Dedicated Primary NICs (maybe dual)
2. Dedicated vSwitch
3. Dedicated Physical Switch
4. Connected to Dual Ports on Drobo
5. Datastore on Drobo 800i (if that's the model)

The above will give you the fastest restore and backup. You may also want to consider the purchase of a proper third party backup product like Veeam Backup and Replication, which would allow you to run Virtual Machines from Backups without Restoring, good for DR.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
and Jumbo Frames may help as well. (if your network supports Jumbo Frames).
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