NetApp, Equallogic, HP or EMC? Which would you choose?


I'm looking to replace an estate of aging servers and networked attached storage with a virtulised environment. I've been out to a number of suppliers and they have come back with several proposals and I've gone through them looking at the finer details and I've kind of come to a decision on which one I want.  However I wanted to see what other, more knowledgeable, people make of the various solutions based on their experiences with the hardware etc.

Our scenario:
The solution will include a second data centre based about 300 metres up the road from out main data centre and the two are currently connected via 1 Gb fibre, 10 Gb fibre may be possible in the near future.  The second data centre will house a BC/DR set up so that we can continue operating with minimal downtime in the event of failure of the first site.  I will have a isolated network that the iSCSI traffic will flow across that is separate from the normal LAN traffic.  The total spend is £150K.  I am looking at 2 hosts at each data centre, they will both handle between 10 and 15 VMs each.  VMware as opposed to HyperV because of the better functionality.  Total storage required will be around 8 TB

The proposed solutions:

1) 2x Dell Equallogic PS6110E. 1 based in each data centre, these will be part of the same SAN rather than active/passive etc.  The hosts will be Dell R720 with 192 Gb memory (2 at each site with Intel E5-2680 chips etc)

2) NetApp FAS2240HA with dual controllers at site 1 with NetApp FAS2240 with single controller at site 2.  Again 2x Dell R720 at both sites.

3) 4 x HP StoreVirtual 4530 - two at each site.  These will act in Active/Passive mode as we've been told that we need a third site for the active/active role to work correctly.  4 x HP DL380 servers (similar spec to Dell).

4) 2 x EMC VNXe 5300 DPE - one at each site. Again same spec servers.

Some solutions have recommended VEEAM to supply replication and backup (eg the HP solution) and others using their own solutions or VMware (eg the Dell one).

I realise I have not included much information but I'm really after people's thoughts especially if they have used any of these systems for real and what they think of them. Have they wished they put something else in place, or perhaps are quite happy with their choice etc.  I hope you can advise.

Many thanks


Ah, time for another cuppa.
Who is Participating?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Dell Equallogic and Dell hardware, you'll get ProActive Maintenance for FREE, and compared to the other solutions, better price versus performance.

replication via Veeam is good, but is considered poor mans replication compared to Site Recovery Manager, or vSphere Replication, or NetApp SnapMirror (which is extra but very good), or Dell sync.

A great fan of NetApp kit (long time), and recent (3-4 years) convert to Dell kit, because of the support and tools, which always seem to cost more money with NetApp!

So I would select 1 or 2.

I would recommend hp and emc and finally dell products. Also you should consider VEEam or if you have 1GB/10GBe link you can go with VMware SRM. i don't know very well netapp but since i had problems with that products a few years ago its not  an option for me anymore.

Choosing a SAN it always depend on your environment and the costs aswell.
In the interest of full disclosure: I work for a NetApp partner, so I'm hardly impartial.

Here are a couple of good points about NetApp. I can't comment on the other gear.

NetApp controllers can serve iSCSI, NFS, CIFS, FC and FCoE from the same box. This is a future-proofing capability, because even if you don't think you are going to use some protocols, you might in the future. E.g. vSphere on NFS over 10GbE works extremely well on NetApp and it cuts out a couple of layers of complexity. On the downside, you might need to license some of these features. A word of advice: licenses are substantially cheaper when bought together with the controller, compared with buying them later. So try getting the Complete Bundle if you can.

SnapMirror is rock-solid and allows you to implement SRM later if you wish.

NetApp has space efficiency features like deduplication that work very effectively in vSphere environments. Combined with NFS storage, dedupe savings appear as free space in the datastores.

You can test DR relatively easily by using FlexClone. It allows you to create writeable clones of your replicated data, run up the VMs in isolation, test, then delete the clones. All the while, your replication from PROD continues unaffected.
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