Expand our IBM DS3500 with spare slots or buy new IBM V3700 enclosure?

hi guys,

We have a virtual environment and are using an IBM DS3500 SAN. We definitely need to add more storage. As it stands, the enclosure has 96 slots. We've filled 85 of those mainly with 600Gb 10K disks. The remaining 11 are empty.

So here's the dilemma. Our external consultants recommended that we sort of move away from buying disks for the DS3500 and focus on a new enclosure like a V3700. The reason being that the DS3500 is a discontinued product and if anything went wrong that obtaining controllers, disks or components will be difficult.

I don't get that as we have things like HP Proliant SAN's that we use and are around 7yrs old and we can still purchase content for them.

The cost different between buying 11 disks in the current enclosure and having to buy a new enclosure is like a £4500 difference.

Any ideas on your recommendations guys?

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Gerald ConnollyConnect With a Mentor Commented:
But if you go down the V3700 route you probably wont have to pay any maintenance for a couple of years, its probably more power efficient and gives off less heat.

If you factor in all those things how close does it make the numbers?
Do you have maintenance on the DS3500?  I believe it supposed to be supported by IBM until sometime in 2019.
Gerald ConnollyCommented:
It sounds like you need to do a cost-benefit analysis / Total Cost of Ownership over a 5 year period taking into account maintenance, warranty, power consumption, cooling, replacement costs (manpower etc) etc etc
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andyalderConnect With a Mentor Commented:
DS3500 isn't anywhere near the stage where parts are hard to obtain. If you do get rid of yours chances are it will get broken down for spares so that means another couple of controllers added to the supply chain.

Don't trust your maintenance company to have the spares in stock? Buy this from eBay, test the disks thoroughly and put them in your spare bays and keep the controllers as spares. The batteries are probably naff but new ones are still being made (you can use Dell MD3000i batteries if you can't find IBM ones).
Which model HP SAN's do you have?  It's highly likely they are in the same situation as the IBM is.

I know we had one HP SAN, don't remember the model, that was purchased right before is was removed from marketing and within 2 years we could not get any parts.  We have had the same issue with NetAPP SAN's.

I personally would find the drives for the DS3500, wait a couple years and then look for a replacement.  By then something new will be out that has better performance, more capacity and a better price ratio.

Although you can't by DS3500 parts from IBM, you can by from 3rd parties.  In fact whomever holds your current maintenance contact probably has what you need.
YashyAuthor Commented:
Hey guys

Thanks a lot for your feedback.

So basically, whenever a disk of ours or some hardware goes down, we literally phone up IBM straight away and they send us the disk replacement instantly. Our consultant guys are the ones who say that by investing more in the DS3500, we may run into some issues. So yes, IBM do store disks for replacement etc, but then they will be 2nd hand almost every time as the disks themselves aren't really made anymore for this SAN. Of course, in order for the disks to work they have to be IBM as the firmware is key in order for it to be read by the controller.

The cost would be around £4950 for 11 x 900GB SAS 10k disks. If we went for a v3700 enclosure and 24 disks, we could apparently pay £10050.

giltjrConnect With a Mentor Commented:
As long as you have your DS3500 under maintenance with IBM, yes, if a drive (or any other component) fails, you call up and it is replaced.

If you don't have a maintenance contract with IBM, then you are on your own.  Have you talked to IBM?

IF, big IF, a disk is used, be assured that IBM has put it through a re-certification process to verify there is nothing wrong with it.
How long can you hold off on this?  IBM has a habit, most companies do, of announcing replacements on a set schedule.  For the Small to Medium business storage systems its about every four years or so.  The V3700 was announce Nov. 2012, about 4 years ago.  So they should be ready to announce the replacement.  

The good news is when the announce a replacement the current model's prices drop.

The bad new is when they announce the replacement within a couple of years, or sooner in some cases, model it replaced will be withdrawn from marketing.

So if you get a V3700 now, within a couple years you could find that IBM will no longer market it.

It's not just IBM that does this, most hardware vendors do.
YashyAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your help on this guys. Basically the premium will go up on the support contract with the DS3500 within the next 18months as it is a totally discontinued product.

Going with the v3700 is going to end up costing us less in the longer term.
IBM put their support contract price up but I bet the 3rd party companies haven't put theirs up, it's a competitive business and parts are cheap at the moment for that box.
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