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Need like-minded opinions on SAN/Virtualization

Posted on 2014-07-14
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Last Modified: 2014-07-23
I'm about a quarter of the way through a Virtualization project.  I've settled on a SAN that we can afford, Netapp FAS2552HA with 14TB usable.  However now I'm at the VM point.. We use hyper-V, Vmware ESXi and XenServer in house and I want to consolidate all of those into a pay for application that we have support on.
Due to popularity and reliability I'm looking at Vmware.  I have $100k for this project.. so the SAN is going to eat about $70k of that.  So for the remainder $30k.. I'd be looking at the licensing for Vmware itself.. plus the hypervisor hosts correct?  I want to make sure that I'm not overlooking something here.. so I'm thinking 3 physical servers for the hosts, using the SAN with an iSCSI lun for backend storage.

We currently have between 10 and 15 virtual machines, we'd be looking at converting an additional 10-15 after this is done.

So I should take a tally of the resources allocated to current VM's, Plus what would be allocated to future VM's and verify that the new Host units would be able to meet that.
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Question by:Ben Hart
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LVL 124
ID: 40194837
FAS2552HA is an excellent choice....

Did you specify SATA, SSD pool ?

NetApp favours NFS for VMware, and have you looked at VMware vSAN ?

which is part of the hypervisor, and can use local storage in the Hosts, you will need at least 1 SSD and 1 Magnetic HDD per host, and recommended 10GBe networking.....

It provides more resilience, as the storage is "mirrored" across hosts storage!
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Author Comment

by:Ben Hart
ID: 40194893
We are sticking to 1.2TB SAS 10k drives in the head units.. the option we are looking at is just the 24 x hdds for the controller and that's it.

The Premium license bundle is supposed to cover all we'd need.  We're not looking at any data replication as of yet as that'd require an upgrade to my local FAS3020.

I have not started looking at Vmware in depth yet.. we just finished the SAN portion late last week.  our existing hypervisors all use local storage which is the one thing we're wanting to get away from.  the ability to move VM's between hosts will be a big benefit.
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LVL 42

Assisted Solution

by:Paul Solovyovsky
Paul Solovyovsky earned 1000 total points
ID: 40194906
The FAS 2252 is a very nice unit, currently have one on the shop table.  Netapp has currently more integration with Netapp vs HyperV or Xen.  One thing to keep in mind that the controllers have only 2 1GB interfaces, the rest are 10GB Ethernet/FC and you have to make a decision whether to do 7 mode or cluster mode but the performance on the new models is great.  You can use NFS or iSCSI for Datastores and most customers use NFS due to simplicity.  If you get the full package licensing you can have almost instantaneous restores due to flex-clone.
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LVL 124
ID: 40194916
Have you ordered your SAN, with looking at vSAN ?

I assume you want to use this with Hyper-V and Xen, so VMware vSAN is out of the question?

otherwise great choice, I've got three on delivery for the 17th!
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by:Ben Hart
ID: 40194948
Oh no no.. I did not know about vSan until you mentioned it actually lol.

We have no ordered the san hardware yet, but this particular model is quickly meeting the consensus of the rest of our IT dept.

And no.. the goal is to convert all the existing non-vmware vm's over to vmware. Ditching Xen and Hyper-V.
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LVL 124
ID: 40195687
You will definately WANT to research vSAN BEFORE your SAN purchase!
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Author Comment

by:Ben Hart
ID: 40196920
Problem with that is.. with SSD's the price will jump.  I need to buy a SAN, at least three hypervisors, VMware licensing, and a tertiary netapp shelf for my site.  I'm worried that 100k won't do it.
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LVL 124
ID: 40197802
You only need 1 x SSD and 1 x Magnetic HDD per host for vSAN.

it's also recommended to have 10GBe networking, you may find disks for servers, and vSAN licensing cheaper than purchasing a NetApp SAN.
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Expert Comment

by:Paul Solovyovsky
ID: 40197820
but than you have to call super micro for hardware support <--dealing with vSAN vs HP VSA right now..
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Author Comment

by:Ben Hart
ID: 40197886
yeah well 10gbe would be outstanding but again.. I only have so much money.  Honestly though our network is not the bottle neck.. our servers are.  I highly doubt we'd make enough of a dent in a typical 1gb ethernet connection to warrant 10bge.
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LVL 124
ID: 40197912
It's only recommended for vSAN and 10GBe, otherwise "rebuild" times could be long with 1GBe.

vSAN is part of the hypervisor, not a virtual machine or appliance!
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Author Comment

by:Ben Hart
ID: 40197925
the Netapp is not only dedicated for virtual hosting.  We're going to use it to replace all of our file servers.. hosting the vhd's is just one of the many benefits this thing will allow us.

But yeah.. obviously 10gbe will be faster at everything ;)

vsans being cutting edge and awesome are overkill for us.
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LVL 124
ID: 40197964
But vSAN could be cheaper than a full blown SAN, and all the SAN management, and performance!

You may need to do some sums...
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Author Comment

by:Ben Hart
ID: 40197976
Could be cheaper yes.. but will it provide me 14 TB of usable storage?  Like I said the Mass storage is not only just for the virtual machine related stuff :)  I can't store file data on hypervisors.. lol that's just the opposite of what we're trying to do.  

You are way more experienced in virtualization than I am that's for sure.  But if I went with vSans I'd have to get a real san in addition.
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LVL 124
ID: 40197989
So you want to use the NetApp for CIFS and iSCSI/NFS ?

or ALL VMs ?
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Author Comment

by:Ben Hart
ID: 40198025
CIFS, NFS and iSCSI.. And all my VM's will be stored on it.
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LVL 124
ID: 40198064
Okay, vSAN is not for you.

I would look at the costs, and to reduce costs, you could switch from SAS to SATA disks, and a 4xSSD SSD pool for the NetApp.
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Author Comment

by:Ben Hart
ID: 40199701
here's what I've got so far:

Netapp FAS2552 24x1.2TB SAS
10gbe uplink to core switch
2 x Proliant DL360p Gen8 3 x 600gb SAS, 2 x Xeon E5-2643V2 (6 cores) 32GB ram for Hypervisors
Possibly each Hypervisor with port channel/bonded links to core switch
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LVL 124
ID: 40199723
Looks good, and vSphere Licensing... ??
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LVL 14

Author Comment

by:Ben Hart
ID: 40199947
Oh yeah.. duh.  The Vmware software obviously ;)

You think that'd be a decent setup?
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LVL 124
ID: 40200010
Only three servers now?

What VMware licensing have you selected?

Do you need local disks in your ProLiants ?
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LVL 14

Author Comment

by:Ben Hart
ID: 40215243
sorry Andrew.. yes three servers and we've been quoted for the Essentials Plus package.  Each of the servers will have a 300GB raid 1 w/hot spare.
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LVL 124
ID: 40215394
If you are wanting to save money drop the local disks in the servers, they are overkill, use the SD card slot in the ProLiants to install ESXi on!

Waste of money! Unless you can think of a use!

Here is the VMware KB on installing 5.x on USB/SD:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2004784
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LVL 14

Author Comment

by:Ben Hart
ID: 40215418
That wont lower the performance of the hypervisor?
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LVL 42

Expert Comment

by:Paul Solovyovsky
ID: 40215436
hypervisor is memory resident so it doesn't matter where it's loaded from.  Reduce cooling by using SD card
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LVL 124

Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 1000 total points
ID: 40215449
The Hypervisor, is read from the SD card, goes memory resident, and then the media is never used again! (well okay, configuration changes are written, and occasional read!) - but as a Test to confirm, SD/USB media was removed and ESXi OS and VMs continued without issue! - but this is just a magic trick, it does not mean, boot and remove!!!

So your expensive 300GB SAS disks, will be spinning doing nothing, other than failing!!!

We've been installing ESXi (what used to be called embedded!) on SD/USB flash drives since 2004!

Most server vendors now have internal SD or USB flash drive slots for this purpose.

I've seen more issues with disk failure in that time, than SD or USB failure, and issue with RAID failure, and re-installing ESXi!
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LVL 14

Author Comment

by:Ben Hart
ID: 40215487
Thanks guys! I never thought about using flash media for this project.  Much appreciated.
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