Best Storage Maker

Dear Experts,

From your personal experience on Storages by means of:

- Support (response time, spares availability etc.)
- GUI / Management friendliness
- Performance and stability

Pls advise Maker and Model.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You don't mention budget, so here goes....

NetApp FAS2500 series.
mamelasAuthor Commented:
So Andrew,

I am looking for a small to medium size Storage.
I have offers from IBM and NetApp and I have also noticed that the prices are about 50% or more
for NetApp.

So, why should I pay this 50% ?. What features actually makes the difference?

Do you have personal experience from NetApp's support? because I
actually don't have personal experience but I have heard that the support is not
their strong  point...
Mohammed KhawajaManager - Infrastructure:  Information TechnologyCommented:
Besides budget, it would also be beneficial to know what will the storage be used for.  As an example, if you are going to be deploying a big data on bare metal then it might be wise to use fiber channel connectivity connecting to a SAN with SSDs for performance improvement versus NFS share for a VMware environment for a normal virtualization project.
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Mohammed KhawajaManager - Infrastructure:  Information TechnologyCommented:
OK...I see your response after I posted my comments.  A couple of things for you to keep in mind:

1.  Call both vendors directly and ask for a special bid, vendors will put you in touch with a reseller (do this even if you are dealing with a reseller)
2.  IBM StorWize is probably what you are looking at.  Remember that if you do not purchase the unified option then you are looking at SAN functionality only (block) where NetApp is unified (block and file).  This is useful if you want to implement VMware and want to use NFS shares for VMware Data Store
3.  IBM StorWize does not have the capabilities to show you usage/trending data for more than 10 mins (not sure if it is 5, 10 or 15 mins)
4.  NetApp provides software for backups and backups can be performed at the storage level whereas IBM can do it if you have TSM, otherwise, it will rely on VMware for the snapshots
5.  Overall better connectivity, functionality, features and reliability with NetApp.  Even though IBM StorWize is marketed as GUI even though some tasks requires CLI

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Are you quotations like for like.

Yes, we have personal experience of NetApp support.
mamelasAuthor Commented:
Thank you both for your replies!

From one side I have an offer of IBM Storwize V3700 with SAS connectivity and on the other side a NetApp FAS2552 with iSCSI.

Although both storages are branded ,and IBM has a long history and a variety of successful products, the NetApp FAS2552 is almost double the price of IBM.

The use of this storage will be currently for shared files, sql databases (the biggest DB is 120GB)  and for about 6 VMs.

Pls could you please specify what is a unify storage? (Block and file or Block only?)

Are these two models are comparable ?
Is the iSCSI controller the part that makes this price difference?

Finally will I really see a remarkable difference if I select the NetApp??
(If yes, where will it be?)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
SAS will be faster and perform better than iSCSI.

This very much depends on your requirements, and what are you using the SAN for ?
mamelasAuthor Commented:
Dear Andrew,

As per my previous post I will use the SAN as File Server but it will also store 6 active Win2012 VMs (with exchage and SQL Server etc)

So will change our infrastructure from physical to virtual and the Storage has major role on the design.

Generaly you prefer NetApp. The above mentioed models are comperable or not?
If there are comperable how should I benefit from NetApp in order to pay the price difference???
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
NetApp provides lots of additional software for VMware vSphere - you do not mention, what virtual platform, you will be using.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I thought you would find this recent EE Question interesting

IBM Storwize v3700 vs Netapp FAS2240
mamelasAuthor Commented:
Hi there,

Actually the platform will be VSphere.
And yes I confirm that NetApp has a more advanced software.....but.....

NetApp has two software bundles. The Essentials and the Premium one. The storage with the Premium software is almost double the price of the same storage that comes with the Essentials software.

So I am out of budget for the Premium one.

Is the essential software bundle capable to help me more with the management of the Vmware's VSphere platform ??
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Is the essential software bundle capable to help me more with the management of the Vmware's VSphere platform

What do you get in the Essentials ?
mamelasAuthor Commented:
-Included Software      Data ONTAP Essentials:-

Efficiency: FlexVol®, deduplication, compression, and thin provisioning

Availability: Multipath I/O, MultiStore®

Data protection: RAID-DP®, Snapshot™, and Open Systems SnapVault®

Performance: FlexShare®, Storage QoS

Management: System Setup, OnCommand System Manager, OnCommand Unified Manager

Storage Protocols: All supported Data Protocol licenses included

-Extended Value Software (optional)-      
OnCommand Balance for NetApp
Premium Bundle includes:
SnapManager Suite

Software Description:

SnapRestore: Fast restore of Snapshot copies in seconds

SnapMirror: Simple, efficient, and flexible disaster recovery

SnapVault: Disk-to-disk backup software for complete backups and online archives to primary or secondary storage in minutes instead of hours or days

FlexClone: Instant virtual copies of databases or virtual machines

SnapManagerSuite: Application and virtual machine-aware backup, recovery, and cloning

OnCommand Balance for NetApp: Advanced analytics for physical and virtual environments (Note: not included in Premium Bundle)
Mohammed KhawajaManager - Infrastructure:  Information TechnologyCommented:
SAN is block which means that you are presenting a LUN to the host and this done either via fiber channel or iSCSI where as file is that you are presenting a file system as a storage which is NAS. Unified storage can proxide both SAN and NAS features and thus they are very expensive.  V3700 is a SAN only and IBM StorWize does have unified but in V7000 only and would be much more expensive than NetApp.

I would concur with Andrew and recommend NetApp even though i manage V7000 and V3700.
mamelasAuthor Commented:
Dear Mohammed,

Thank you for your asnwer.

From the above post I understand that NetApp is a Unified storage (SAN & NAS) while the IBM V3700 operates
only as a SAN.

But do I need a storage that supports NAS protocol and Why?
(i cannot tell the difference between LUN and File System on a Virtual Infrastucture and how this affects me in the above described enviroment)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Because it's the recommended, platform when using a NetApp with NFS, less over head.

So, either iSCSI or NFS.
mamelasAuthor Commented:
Dear Andrew,

I am still confused.

From one side I have the IBM that supports SAN (Block)
on the other I have NetApp that supports SAN (Block) and NAS (File)

What's the difference between Block and File?

Is it possible to create a Datastore on both? if yes what's the difference?

pls give an expample of what you can do with NAS and cannot with SAN.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
A SAN cannot do NFS and CIFS (WIndows Shares).

Yes, ESXi datastores can be presented to both via iSCSI (block) and NFS (file).

here you go...

If you do not need to use the NetApp for anything else other than ESXi and VMs, use iSCSI and the IBM!

e.g. Windows Shares, and NFS for central storage.
mamelasAuthor Commented:
So the NAS requires a Server that supports File Storage service while SAN is independent?

If I want to map a drive or a partition of my storage on a Windows Server do I need NFS feature?

Please define difference between block and file (the link actually did not helped me that much)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
A NAS does not require a file server, it is a file server, via Windows Shares (CIFS) and NFS. NFS is compatible with ESXi.

SAN only does iSCSI.

If you want to Map a drive from Windows or Linux/Unix you will need CIFS (Windows Shares) and NFS.

If you want to add a disk, to Windows, you would add it via iSCSI.

Basically the difference is NAS -  File I/O access via a Network, and Block I/O - SAN, like direct attached storage but via a protocol, e.g. iSCSI of Fibre Channel.
mamelasAuthor Commented:
Please advise the below scenario if it is correct or not.
If I want to Share Files (docx, xlsx, pdf, png etc) across the network.

With NAS:
- I have to create an NFS file system
- copy required documents  
- provide user access level
- Now all servers/clients that are on same network will have access to the NAS
  (depending on the rights that they will have)

With SAN:
- I have to create a LUN
- Assign the LUN to an ESXi host
- Format the LUN to VMFS
- Install Operating System that supports File Services (i.e. Windows Server)
- Create a Shared Folder on the Operating system and serve the
  Shared Documents through this server

Is the above mentioned correct?
NAS can share data without the need of a File Server while SAN requires an attached
server with operating system that supports File Services???
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
With a NAS

You don't create the NFS File System, the NAS file system already exists, your Configure either

NFS or CIFS (Windows Share)

mamelasAuthor Commented:
Thank you so much!!!
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