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Synology DS1812+ SAN vs. More expensive ones (Equalogic, NimbleStorage, etc.)

Dear Experts,

I found that the following device is capable of snapshotting, iSCSI , VMware VMware vSphere 5 with VAAI, etc. and can provide several TB of storage with fault-tolerance RAID.

http://www.synology.com/en-us/products/spec/DS1812+

1) So it appears that just like with the more expensive devices, this will support VMware VMotion and HA using iSCSI targets (can someone confirm?).

It seems one could use this device in production for a small number of servers/applications/users...

2) So I am wondering... what is really the difference between this device and a more expensive SAN, when put in a small environment of 2~3 virtual servers and 5~10 employee ?

3) Lastly, is there any other product with a low price point that would allow using all the SAN-based features of VMware that performs better than this Synology device?

Thank you for your insights!!
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hector2488
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hector2488
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
The model you have selected is only on the HCL for 5.1, the latest version of vSphere is 5.5.

Check the VMware Hardware Compatability Lists HCL here

The VMware Hardware Compatibility List is the detailed lists showing actual vendor devices that are either physically tested or are similar to the devices tested by VMware or VMware partners. Items on the list are tested with VMware products and are known to operate correctly.Devices which are not on the list may function, but will not be supported by VMware.

http://www.vmware.com/go/hcl

1. If it's on the HCL for VMware vSphere 5.1, it will support VMware HA and iSCSI.

2. The difference, is more expensive SANs can have

1. Dual Controllers
2. Dual Power Supplies
3. Hot Swap Controllers
4. Hot Swap Power Supplies
5. Dual or Quad Network Interfaces, 1GBps or 10GBps
6. Jumbo Frames, VLAN support
7. Specialised File Systems
8. Faster Processors in the SAN for Faster I/O
9. The use of different types of disk, SATA, FC, SAS, SSD
10. Better integration with VMware vSphere vCenter Server for Storage Management.
11. Additional of more disk shelves.
12. Larger number of spndles
13. Better support with the VMware, e.g. VMware Storage Partner.

3. You may want to consider and have a look at the HP P2000 series.

We use Synology units to archive e.g. Backup, and they can be slow.

2-3 virtual servers, should be okay, what servers?
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hector2488Author Commented:
* Does this mean that if we run vSphere 5.5, it won't work ? Only 5.1 ?
* HP P2000 becomes quite pricey with the controllers... is there another cheaper alternative for a very small setup (3~4 servers, 2~3 users) ?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
It's not certified for use with ESXi 5.5.

So, it either does not work, or has not been tested yet.

It's possible that it could still work, with ESXi 5.5, as it's certified for 5.1, but any support issues, it's unlikely that VMware Support, will support you.

or it could be so new, it's not been tested yet with 5.5, but this is unlikely because it's works with 5.1 (on the HCL), but sometimes older hardware is not tested with the latest to encourage you to purchase newer models.

ESXi works with most iSCSI devices, but Synology Support would have definitive answer.

It's a Support Risk you must analyse, if a Risk to your organisation.

You could also look at Qnap, Drobo, depends on your budget.
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kode99Commented:
Isn't 5.5 around 3 months old?  I would put the question to Synology if you need this now  but I think it is just a matter of time.   Since these are sold to a wider market than strictly use for storage for virtual systems the approval is likely less of a priority than it would be for SAN makers who specifically target that market.  Same goes for Qnap who are comparable and actually a bit more geared toward the 'higher end' of these low priced units.

The top end models from both Qnap and Synology support SAS drives and some pretty high throughput,  though also feature upwards of $8 - 10k price tags.

My concern might be with growth and I think a DS1813+ is likely somewhat minimal.  You can add an expansion unit but it's still only a Atom processor and it is software raided.  Though it depends on the demand of your applications,  it does aggregate 4  1 Gb ports.

The higher models bump up the power quite a bit,   more expansion, option for 10GbE and Xeon processors, EC ram,  SSD cache drive.  Again Qnap is a close match though most of their rack units are only available with redundant power supplies which sets the price point higher.

A unit like the Qnap TS-EC879U-RP is a bit under $4k for 8 bays,
http://www.qnap.com/useng/index.php?lang=en-us&sn=862&c=355&sc=526&t=690&n=4789

or a Synology RS3412xs for about $3k without redundant power and it is a i3 not a Xeon,
http://www.synology.com/en-us/products/spec/RS3412xs

The i3 units offer a fair performance step above a Atom unit.  Though for under $1k the DS1813+ is inexpensive and pretty compelling for a small shop.  I think it is also the lowest model that does HA as well.

One other significant difference is in support.  Though you can get 5 year warranties on the business products,  some people are not thrilled with the support level.  Though they will log into units etc. it may take some time but I don't think they bill for it.  At this time I don't think either Qnap or Synology offer paid support options.  They want the equipment vendors to provide the front line support.  So its low cost but if you buy from a online vendor (who probably provides zero support) it could be frustrating.

That said I've not had any issues with either companies units that required support.  I have not used them in a virtual environment myself though I do have both Synology and Qnap units in use as NAS and also for some of the built in applications.  A few in pretty harsh situations  (had to clean mud off one but it was still working fine).
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hector2488Author Commented:
kode99, this is exactly the type of information i was looking for, THANKS!
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