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SAN -- EMC, EqualLogic, online cloud ?

Our SANs (storage area networks) are getting old and we might replace with two openBox 2year old EMC SANS for about $20k/SAN with 24TB raw storage/SAN.

Does anyone have any other suggestions ?

  2. used SAN vendor
  3. etc
Avatar of symbiont_it


That is a tough question to answer with limited information.  What SAN's (Models) do you currently have?  What are they used for? Which model EMC are you looking to purchase?  $20k for 24TB is not a bad price but the question is will it work for your application?   Do you have any idea on you IOPS requirements?
Here is a link to a used SAN dealer that I have had bookmarked for a few weeks.  I have not used them myself yet but I liked what I saw when it came to pricing the the Equallogic line.
If you have $40,000 to spend on (approx 50TB) of sans, I think you can do better, if you are willing to buy used/refurbished.

For example, you can get a HP D2700 disk shelf (25x SFF disks in a single 2u enclosure) for about $4,000.

You can also get vmware's VSA for about $6000 with the essentials plus kit.

So 2x (4000 + 6000) = $20,000 for 2 disk shelves and licensing to run a "propper SAN OS" with all the features you'd want.

Then, you get 50x 652589-B21 (900GB 6g SAS 10k drives) for about $500 each (ignore what google says; get a quote from an HP sales person).

You'd end up with 25*900gb raw = 22.5TB raw, 19.8TB raid 6 with a hot spare per san.

Total cost = $4000 + $4000 + $6000 + $6000 + (50*500) = $45,000.

Note that all of this pricing is based on new equipment (except the drives which is based on new equipment with a reasonable discount off of list price). You could probably get all this equipment for under $35,000 if you are good at leaning on vendors.

Then, just add 2x 1u rackmount servers for $2,500 each (to run the VMWare VSA instance and connect to the disk shelves) and you have 45TB raw across 44 used spindles in 6u of space for $40,000.

Edit: price checking some things:

Here is the D2700 on ebay for $850 each (more than 10 available). You might want to get 4 instead of 2 and put 2 on each VSA instance if you are going to do raid 10.

Here's the 900GB drives for $515 each:

Also, as an alternative to VMWare VSA, you could get 4 copies of HP's VSA for $2800 each. (

4 copies instead of 2 because HP's VSA is limited to 5 virtual disks and 2TB per disk, so 10TB limit per node.

You could get this parts list:

4x D2700 (4x $850 = $3400)
56x 900GB disks (56x $515 = $28,840
2x (random 1u rackmount server with 10Gbps networking and 80-146GB local disk) (approx $5,000)
2x (free VMWare ESXi server) (free)
4x (HP VSA) ($4x $2800 = 11,200
68 items, $48,440.

And then build it like this:

Fill each D2700 with 14 disks and plug two into each physical server.

Install VMWare ESXi on each physical server and create two 9.9 TB raid-6 with hot spare on each physical D2700 set.

Install 2 copies of HP's VSA on each ESXi instance and give each VSA instance 5x 1.98 TB VMDK files (so each VSA would have 9.9 TB raw raid-6). Put all 5 of the VMDK files for each instance on the same D2700 set (so that each VSA instance is 1:1 associated with a 9.9TB raid-6). Make sure you use HP VSA version 9.5 or 10 (which have support for 10Gbps networking under VMWare). Version 9 and earlier are limited to a single 1Gbps network interface.

Install 1 copy of HP's FOM (fail over manager) on one of your ESXi instances.

Create a 5-node cluster (4 node cluster + failover manager) as a giant network raid 10+6.

HP's VSA is somewhat unique in it's ability to scale both up and out. If you have a 2 node SAN (2x9.9TB), you'll have the performance of 2 nodes and the capacity of N/2. If you have an 8 node san (8x9.9) you'll have the performance of 8 nodes and the capacity of N/2.

If you have a goal of closer to $40,000, you could remove 2 of the D2700's and 6 of the 900GB drives and go to 2x25 disk raid-6's and put all 10 VMDK's from 2 instances of VSA on one set of disks. This would cut about $4700 off, but it might hurt your iOPS performance.
>If you have an 8 node san (8x9.9) you'll have the performance of 8 nodes and the capacity of N/2.
Actually you cna do Network Raid 5 for N-1 reduction in capacity.

No real advantage of VSA over P4000 range unless you happen to have spare internal disk bays in VMware hosts that you want to use though. I prefer to  use dual controller SANs, although you pay more for the controllers at least you don't need double the amount of disks for redundancy.
The advantage of HP VSA instead of say a P4300, is price.

A P4300 7.2TB SAN is $20,000.
P P4500 28.8TB SAN is $95,000.

Also, since the P4300's just use DL380 servers, by using HP VSA instead of a P4300, you get to select exactly the hardware you want and you can put 10Gbps networking in there at cost, rather than buying two of their 10Gbps upgrade kits for $550 each, per controller node.
HP's website prices are indeed steep but nobody pays that. they get special bids.
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