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SAN versus Local storage

Posted on 2014-10-23
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Last Modified: 2014-11-15
Hello,

I am currently provisioning equipment and resources for a client of mine and I could use some advice.

The environment:

Company: Software developers with 100 employees

Requirements: ESXi server(s), lots of RAM & Storage

Comments: Super fast disk access is not a requirement (i.e. 7200 RPM drives are sufficient).

Problem:

HA, sharing of data storage, load balancing are not necessary; most important requirements are ability to backup, and having necessary resources available

Since the main purpose of the servers is to do testing, no serious controls are required (except like I was saying backups and some level of redundancy with hard drives)

To meet the needs, I will be purchasing the appropriate  vmware licenses and server(s) as required.

Now the question is how to go about identifying the type of storage that would best serve the company

I have a reasonable understanding of the SAN, which basically leaves me with 2 options:

1. Purchase a SAN and communicate to SAN via ISCSi (fibre channel is too expensive for the size of the company); Due to the size of the company, I am looking at the HP P2000 SAN; Server(s) would be diskless

2.  Purchase servers with appropriate local storage;

I am not certain which way to go would be  best. I understand the benefits of both, but possibly, based on requirements local storage would be sufficient. I can definitely purchase enough local storage in each server to meet the requirements.

Does anyone have any suggestions / recommendations as how to proceed?

Thanks in advance.

Mark
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Question by:mbudman
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Wilder_Admin earned 250 total points
ID: 40399381
In this scenario for the cost reason i would decide to take local storage only. The need of a san in this scenario is not needed. You need space and not any feature what is depending on a san technology.

If the part of using vmware already decided stop reading.

If not check Hyper-V with the Virtual Storage Technology. In your case makes sense to use. I am actually a vmware fan but in this case you should check this feature. Then you have both in one concept. A kind of san and local storage.
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LVL 118
ID: 40399392
Have you considered the SAS attached version of the P2000 which is faster than the iSCSI version ?

You will only require a SAN, if you want to use VMware HA and vMotion.

What would you do if a Host Server failed, e.g. PSU, motherboard, RAM etc, what would you do with the VMs?

What downtime can you afford ?
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Assisted Solution

by:Stampel
Stampel earned 250 total points
ID: 40399453
If as you say you do not need HA you definately not need a SAN nor attached bay.
You could definately buy HP/DELL server with 8 to 16 internal Disks of 300GB 2.5"   SAS drives
In a few words, save the money of external storage for internal disks to keep it much more simple & solid !
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Expert Comment

by:Zacharia Kurian
ID: 40399463
So there would be 100 users and they would be doing only software development.

HA, sharing of data storage, load balancing are not necessary; most important requirements are ability to backup, and having necessary resources available.

My recommendations are as below and I am sure that others would point out their recommendations too.

Things you need to make sure with regard hard ware (storage & servers);

1. Make sure that the Vendors (HP, IBM etc..) have an authorized service center in your location.

2. The supplier of the hard ware has a good reputation in terms of price, delivery and after sale service. Moreover make sure that they do have handful of good technicians/engineers in their support department.

Storage Hard Disk:
Since you pointed out that you do not require much of RPM, you could make use of LFF HDDS (large form factor & size is 3.5) instead of SFF hard disk (small form factor 2.5"). But bear in mind that there is not much difference in price (this is only my point of view, as I am located in Middle East).

Enclosure for storage:
As per your comments, you do not require Fiber Channels. I am mostly using IBM due to 2 main reasons. 1st they do have a very reputed service center at my location. 2 They do replace parts in 24 hours (but in your case this would be different.)

IBM v3700 series will suit your needs with LFF HDDS (capacity of HDDS depends upon your clients requirement). It has built in ISCSi and an option for Fiber channels.

Servers:

I will be purchasing the appropriate vmware licenses and server(s) as required.

You do not need many servers, since your intention is to virtualize with VMware. My recommendation would be IBM servers (preferably M4. The number of CPUS/Cores/ RAM, depends upon the number of VMs your clients requires)

Do not forget to plan about UPS in their server room.

Wait for others to comment their recommendations (each one will have their experiences with each vendors like HP, IBM etc..)
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 40404052
If you are buying HP servers the SFF disks could be migrated to a P2000 later should HA become a future requirement, the LFF disks are harder to re-use since the caddys are different. That may require you bought the more expensive SAS disks though since the ProLiant SFF SATA caddy doesn't have an interposer in it to make the SATA disks dual-ported.

You can always achieve HA using the internal disks anyway by using a virtual SAN appliance, that mirrors one machine's internal storage to that in another machine vis iSCSI.
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Author Closing Comment

by:mbudman
ID: 40444928
Thank you for your assistance.

Mark
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