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Need 3rd Opinion on SAN config

Posted on 2013-01-16
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We are about to purchase a new SAN.  I've got two different quotes with two different configs from Dell Compellent and EMC.  Both vendors say the solutions are rated for 2000 IOPS but I've got one vendor saying the others isn't going to do 2000 IOPS so I'm hoping to get a 3rd opinion.

Here is the Compellent config:

SC8000 Controller
38 x 1 TB SAS  7k HDD
10 x 600 GB 10k HDD
10GB Fiber Channel Over Ethernet (Connectivity to the network)

The rest is software and cabling


Here is EMC's config

VNX5300 Controller
19 x 2TB SAS 7k HDD
9 x 100GB Fast Cache Flash SSD
20 x 600GB SAS 10k HDD

The rest is software and connectivity.


Please give me your opinions.  This should be around 30TB of storage and 2000 IOPS.   The EMC is about 28k less in cost that the Compellent and I'm trying to compare apples to apples.  

Thanks...
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Question by:pclark6127
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Expert Comment

by:Paul MacDonald
ID: 38783304
I would expect EMCs to be faster for cached data.  After that, the two are probably about the same.

If 2000 IOPS are a firm number for you, ask both vendors to produce documentation that proves they're reach it, and make that a condition of acceptance.  In other words, if the system you select doesn't perform, you get to send it back at their expense.
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by:dlethe
ID: 38783320
Quoting out IOPS without qualifying them by RAID level; I/O size; HDD make/models; number and type of HBA ports; whether reads or writes; in optimal or degraded mode is pretty much useless.

Heck, I can get a single laptop HDD to give me 2,000 IOPs if I write a C program to insure 100% cached reads and small enough I/Os and do pass-through commands bypassing much of the O/S code.

Have both vendors qualify these numbers.
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by:dlethe
ID: 38783346
.. then in parallel, learn YOUR requirements.  What RAID levels do you need?  What is your mix of read vs write vs random vs sequential and what I/O block sizes?

Maybe system "A" is faster overall, but maybe system "B" is faster on your specific types of I/O.
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gsmartin earned 500 total points
ID: 38788286
Let start by saying that I am and ex-EMC (Clariion) customer, but admittely haven't used VNX.  I personally prefer Compellent over EMC any day.  Currently, I have two original Compellent FC SANs plus one Dell Compellent FC/SAS SAN.  Compellent is a very flexible SAN and better Technology and replication capabilities than others.  

FYI...  None of my SANs have 10k drives.  It's either SSD, 15k, or 7.2k.  The latest Compellent SAN I purchased from Dell has 200Gb SSD, 300Gb 15k, and 1TB 7.2k all in 2.5" form factor.  When you need performance on standard HDDs, spindles count matters.  Sometimes you need to trade of between drive size and performance, but always choose performance.  Dell Compellent has a lot of great things coming out for their SAN regarding Cache and other features.

You will find that overall Compellent Software and features are. Very easy to use and tie in very well to their software (not bolted on) like some others.  

To factor out your performance consider the following IOPS per drive:

SSD SLC Drive = 5,000 IOPS minimum
15k Drive = 180 IOPS
10k Drive = 100 IOPS
7.2k Drive = 75 IOPS

With the right Compellent configuration you will get the best use out of your overall SAN with their Automated Teiring and storage virtualization capabilities plus no Fork-Lift upgrades.  Also note, the series SC8000 controllers support a good amount of cache on each plus will support future growth of upto 384 drives.  Which I believe is signficantly greater than the EMC VNX model you are considering.  However, you may not require that amount growth, but at least it says something about the controller performance.  

Keep in mind the decision you make now is a long term commitment at least 5 years or more. So choose carefully it's not always about price.

This is a good forum thread I came accross last night comparing the two vendors.

 http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2246101
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by:gsmartin
ID: 38788292
Please ignore the iPhone typos and verbiage errors.
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Author Closing Comment

by:pclark6127
ID: 38934447
Good feedback with additional resources for me to look at.   Thanks...
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