SANs -- Dell EqualLogic vs Microsoft Storage Spaces ?

I am thinking about dropping our EqualLogic SANs at some point and doing the Ditch the SANs: Storage Spaces Is a Workable, Cheaper Alternative talked about on since I am an all Microsoft shop.

Do you have any articles showing why EqualLogic SANs are better ?
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I haven't read the Microsoft paper, but the first question is why do you have EqualLogic in the first place, and what are your storage needs going forward? The Microsoft environment describes using servers for SOFS, which means that they are using SMB to present storage to Hyper-V. If you have other needs, then what they are describing probably isn't applicable.

EqualLogic is a deadend technology with much better alternatives in the marketplace. Rumor has it that Dell will stop selling it (at least in its present form) within a few years.

Windows Storage Spaces isn't a direct replacement/competitor to SAN, and I don't have enough information about your environment to say if it is a good fit. One thing to be wary of is that Microsoft doesn't have a good track record at storage technologies (look at what happened with their String Beans iSCSI target software, which is to say that they haven't done anything with it), and that they have introduced technology in the past only to later pull it if it doesn't get a lot of traction.

Best to start off with what you believe your storage needs are, and then to look for technology to meet those needs.

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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
If you are a Dell shop then:
 + (2) R720 with a pair of Dell 6Gbps SAS HBAs and two x540T4 PCIe 10GbE
 + (1) MD1220 (2U 24 drive) or MD3060e (4U 60 drive) JBOD
 + (2) NETGEAR XS712T 10GbE or alternative 10GbE switching

Depending on your storage needs the above setup will yield an aggregate of 40GbE per switch for the two Scale-Out File Server nodes to your compute (Hyper-V). Your compute would require two X540T2 NICs as well.

The above storage solution utilizes one SAS cable (Four 6Gbps SAS channels per cable) per HBA per node. That's four cables in total connected to the JBOD for an aggregate of 96Gbps of ultra-low latency bandwidth between SOFS and the JBOD.

We have Hyper-Converged solutions that only have two nodes and one JBOD set up. Both SOFS and Hyper-V run in this configuration.

We have two SOFS and two Hyper-V node cluster configurations running a single 60-bay JBOD delivering multi-tenant services (IaaS) to Cloud based clients.

NOTE: We use Quanta or DataON JBOD enclosures depending on our needs. They allow for more nodes and JBODs to be connected simultaneously. The Dells, unfortunately, have a limited number of SAS ports per controller.

Why more SOFS nodes and JBODs? With 3 JBODs set up we can run Storage Spaces in enclosure awareness mode. If one enclosure drops off for any reason SS keeps moving along until the problem is repaired.

The Storage Spaces/SOFS solution set is very flexible, scalable, and affordable relative to the big storage vendors out there. Me thinks that Microsoft's Data Centre push is the reason behind it eh? ;)
I'd go ZFS before M$ storage spaces.
andyalderSaggar maker's framemakerCommented:
Who do you phone when it goes wrong? Microsoft because it's their software or Dill because it's their hardware? How long will it be down because ms and dill bounce the fault between them compared to a single vendor (hardware+firmware) solution?
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:

Storage Spaces is pretty unique. It's driven by Microsoft's need to run data centres full of storage but not foot the bill for huge SAN arrays.

There is a Windows Server Catalogue page of approved hardware for a SS solution.

Our preference is for Quanta and DataON for non-Tier 1 solutions. We've done a lot of testing, and have deployed to on-premises and data centre based clients, prior to being confident in our solution set. That get's expensive _fast_ as we do not deploy anything we've not tested first.

As can be seen, Dell has their products on the SS list and Microsoft chose them for their Cloud Platform System.

A lot of planning and foresight has gone into SS especially with the upcoming Windows Server 2016 feature set (should they all make it into RTM). There are a lot of big storage vendor aimed features that will allow us to deploy SS solutions sets at a fraction of the $/GB cost of the big box vendors.

As an FYI we have a solution set for IaaS vendors that has been in production for close to two years now that works flawlessly. Backend is 10GbE to start with 40Gb SMB Direct (RDMA) and 56Gb SMB Direct (RDMA) over InfiniBand as options.

Solution can scale from 60 drives (4TB, 6TB, or 8GB NearLine SAS) in one 60-bay JBOD to three JBODs, four, or more. With three or more we get enclosure resilience. A full enclosure of drives can fail and SS keeps moving along until that enclosure is brought back up or replaced.

Storage Spaces' cost per IOP, cost per GB/Second (throughput), and cost per GB can't be compared.

Check out Storage Spaces Direct (S2D). Our v2 data centre product will be based on S2D with an all flash option providing millions of IOPS to tenants. Storage fabric via RoCE while storage to compute would be RDMA via InfiniBand.
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