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Entry level SAN suggestions

Hi All,

I want to setup a SAN at our company to make full use of the two ESX server we have.


All our kit is HP, so I have been looking at the P2000 and P4000.

This is all new to me so wanted to get some extra views/suggestions.

The P4000 is £25k, nearly triple the price of the P2000 £8k


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detox1978
Asked:
detox1978
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3 Solutions
 
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
P2000 series is a good entry level iSCSI SAN.
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detox1978Author Commented:
How reliable are they?

I dont like the fact it's a single piece of kit, but the sales rep said they are "bullet proof"  and I should only look at the P4000 if I go over four hosts, which we wont.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Ah, well you asking the right or wrong EE Expert on that, if you look through my EE posts, we've had more P2000 fail, than P4000s last year, but we have more customers with P2000s!

(because they are cheaper!).

Bullet proof - No, neither are!

and the issues we've had is total outages, failures, requiring ALL DATA to be restored!
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andyalderSaggar makers bottom knockerCommented:
Single piece of kit but dual controllers and dual ported disks so the only SPOF is the backplane and that's partially redundant since most of the circuitry is duplicated, if you physically broke it the paths to both would break of course. I wouldn't use iSCSI for just two servers, you can use SAS host interconnect with dumb SAS HBAs in each server for up to 4 servers for oodles of bandwidth.

Not sure you're right about the price difference though, at £8,000 for a dual controller P2000 you probably don't have any disks whereas the P4000 comes with disks in, also HP discount the P4000 heavily, see http://teammci.co.uk/diventi/news/promotions/hp-p4000-promotion for example. (you can get the price dropped through any reseller getting a special bid price. don't have to use web site above).
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Paul SolovyovskyCommented:
The P2000 has improved drastically since the G2 2012i but still is entry level.  The P4000 is not bad as well but requires either two nodes (RAID 1 - lose 50% of storage) or (RAID 5 - 3 nodes, lose 30% of storage) before you even start.

Take a look at the EMC VNXe 3100 and Netapp FAS 2220, they are better models in my opinion and are price compatible.
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detox1978Author Commented:
Thanks for the info.

HP are offering 50% cashback on the P2000, so we can get it for £3.5k.  There's no offer on the P4000 and with disk mirroring it means we have to double the disk (if my understanding is correct).
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andyalderSaggar makers bottom knockerCommented:
Nice cashback offer :)

P4000 node mirroring means RAID inside the box plus network RAID outside so yes, double the amount of disks when mirroring between nodes, or less than half the capacity quoted in the descriptions. Adding more units lets you use Network RAID 5 which wastes less space but of course that bumps the price up to buy those nodes.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Also remember HP CashBack offers, run month, by month! Check with Vendor!

they've been running many CashBack offers on SANs and Servers in the UK for years! (month by month!) to encourage depressed sales.

Just make sure you have valid backups to NAS, or local disk using Veeam Backup etc
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detox1978Author Commented:
I'd planned to use veeam replication each evening  to local storage on the hosts.

I like the phrase raid in/out  the box.
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detox1978Author Commented:
One of the main factos in choosing a SAN will be how intuitive and easy it is to manage.

I had planned on creating a 2TB RAID 10 partition and present it as one datastore.  Is this possible/recommended?

My thought process is it would reduce the management/training the SAN required.  e.g. I set it up and document.

Also, one of the limitations of the P2000 is it doesnt support clustering (RAID out of the box).   So if we wanted to expand the SAN it would have to be a new setup.

Does the NetApp FAS2240 (my reseller doesnt stock the 2220) or the EMC VNXe 3100 allow extra devices to be added at a later date?


thanks
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Paul SolovyovskyCommented:
The Netapp and EMC provide much more flexibility, not only can you add storage but you can make it your file servers as well (CIFS) and run your datastores on NFS or VMFS.  The Netapp will allow to snapshot your volumes and use 5%-10% for overhead and will dedupe your virutal machines by up to 25 to 50% on the fly.
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andyalderSaggar makers bottom knockerCommented:
If you want to expand a P2000 you just add a DAS shelf to it. It's not clever enough to do thin provisioning or deduplication but it's cheap and it works.
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Paul SolovyovskyCommented:
Andy: I agree but EMC and Netapp lowered their prices to compete, you should see very competetive prices especially towards the end of the year when everyone wants to make their numbers
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detox1978Author Commented:
How are the three devices for ease of setup and maintenance.  Is it ok to present a single 2TB datastore to two ESX servers?

I've asked my reseller to get prices for the other two devices.  If they are all pushing prices I might wait to see what they can up with.
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detox1978Author Commented:
Also, do the EMC and NetApp devices allow RAID out of the box.  And if so, how easy is it to setup at a later date/

i.e. if we bought one this year, we could buy another next year and connect and it would sync without downtime?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
We tend to present LUNs of between 500-800GB to the host servers, larger the LUN more VMs per LUN, and more problems if the LUN gets corrupted, all eggs in a single basket.

But if you need a server with a 2TB disk, you would need a 2TB LUN.

We generally start with smaller LUNs, LUNs can always be grown, more difficult to shrink.

All SANs, does not matter which vendor, need configuring.

Also look at Dell. Dell UK are giving very good deals on the Dell Equallogic PS4100, lots of features, and you can purchase Direct from Dell, with no middle-man, adding on his bit!

Dell have very aggressive marketing, so will price match to get a deal!
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detox1978Author Commented:
We will only need 2TB of disk space in total, so I thought it would be a good idea to present it as a single datastore to the ESX hosts.  That way none of the team would need any SAN training.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You only need 2TB, I would maybe opt then for a P2000, at £3.5k.

I think you will still need to complete SAN training, for when you have issues, although for could always post here on EE!
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detox1978Author Commented:
My only concern with the P2000 is the none clustering ability.

Is there anyway around this?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
But you do not need clustering if you use Veeam Replication to Replicate to another standalone ESXi server!

depends how much you want to spend, if you have a clustered SAN, you will still need to Backup VMs in case of SAN failure.

So if it's single point of failure you are trying to avoid, you could purchase 2 x P2000, Veeam Backup and Replication, Replicate VMs to 2nd P2000 and a ESXi host.

or, just purchase another ESXi host with 2TB local storage, and replicate VMs.

vSphere 5.1 now has VM Replication.
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detox1978Author Commented:
I bought vSphere around a month ago, are the 5.0 licenses usable on 5.1?


I've spoken to Dell and they said the Dell Equallogic PS4100 would be 10-12k for a single device.  We'd need two for clustering out the box.  but I guess we wouldnt need to buy them both at the same time.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Why the need for clustering :- availability? single point of failure?

If you have valid Support and Subscription, 5.1 licenses will be available to you shortly.
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detox1978Author Commented:
It's more about where we can go with the solution.  Availability and Single point of failure are the next logical step to seperating the VM's from the hardware constraints.

Clustering also mean we dont have to get the 4 hour fix care packs, which can cost almost the same price as the kit.  Next business day is usually free.

The P2000 is more than likely what we will get as the price is very good.  And if we ever wanted to expand, hopefully technology will have progressed, so the price of current kit will drop.  Or we get better kit.
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detox1978Author Commented:
vSphere 5.1 now has VM Replication.

How does this compare to Veeam B&R as we are only running the trial?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
It's the same product that is in Site Recovery Manager.

Functionally the same.
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detox1978Author Commented:
Thanks for all the info.  I have some demo's booked next week so will leave the question open incase they raise anything.


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detox1978Author Commented:
It's looking like we'll go with the P2000 - largely because of the 50% off makes it under 3k.  And we can add disks as and when they are needed.

How does the P2000 handle ESX thin provisioning.

We are unlikely to go above four servers, so the reseller said we should use SAS cards.  What are the benefits/downside to them over iSCSI.


many thanks
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
iSCSI multiple devices and hosts can use the P2000 if required, more flexible.

The SAS version performs much better!

Thin provision disks can be used on LUNs, it's just a configuration change, when creating the VMs disk.
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detox1978Author Commented:
Just to clarify, all our servers are thin provisioned on local disk.  Will it take up the full thick disk size on the SAN or the thin provisioned size?

Also, can I create a 2TB RAID 10 disk and presented it to three ESX servers?  I'm a bit confused how the ESX servers can failover if the datastore containing the disks isnt presented to all servers.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
thin provisioned size, if that's what you require.

you can create a 2TB volume (LUN) and present that to three ESX servers.

the RAID setting is defined by the Virtual Disk you create of all the disks within the P2000.

The LUNs must be visible to all ESX host servers.
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detox1978Author Commented:
Yes, we are definately looking to only consume the thin provisioned size.  I wasn't sure if ESX reserved it in someway.


What's the difference between a LUN and Datastore?
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Paul SolovyovskyCommented:
A LUN may be a Datastore but a Datastore is not always a LUN.

There are two types of Datastores: NFS and VMFS (LUN - ISCSI/FC)
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detox1978Author Commented:
Thank you for the excellent guidance.

I have the prices in for the P2000 and Equilogic.  We will hopefully be ordering in the next two weeks.
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detox1978Author Commented:
Just a quick update.

We look like ordering an iSCSI P2000 and have been recommended buying two of these switches.

Are they ok?

Cisco Switch SG500-28
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, adequate.
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detox1978Author Commented:
great thanks....
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detox1978Author Commented:
Ok, when I told Dell they weren't getting the business on price, they took 3k off... so now it looks like we'll be getting an EqualLogic PS4100X and 2 PowerConnect 6224 switches.

The switches at cost 1k each.  Are they any good?

And I've declined the Dell install, is this something I would be able to do myself?  I'm fairly competent with networking.


Cheers
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, the Power Connect 6224 are very good.

Stack the Switches, and then connect SAN/ESXi Servers to them.

Network Stack
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detox1978Author Commented:
Are they easy to configure?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, and I'm always here to help, with many other Experts!
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