Looking for some storage advice

I'm IT for a small/mid-size business that currently has 3 HP DL380 servers and a VMWare Essentials license for those servers. We have only a handful of VMs on each machine (2 - 5 each) and data is currently stored on local SAS HDs in the server. However, the business consumes a fair amount of data and I'm about to run out of space on two of these servers (One in the next few months, and another one in about a year.)

I've currently stayed away from SANs due to the high cost, but I realize I may need to go that route and push for approval. I've also considered just getting another server and adding the SAS HDs again as well (although I will probably need to revisit my VMWare licensing, as well as Veeam) (Does it even make sense to buy a SAN without the accompanying vMotion licensing?)

I'm looking for advice, factoring in cost, as to what you feel I should focus on as a good viable solution. Thanks.

Thanks.
ruhkusAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You've got many options, NAS, iSCSI SAN, or vSAN ?

or you could use a SAS SAN, but this would only connect to two hosts.

Depends on your overall budget?
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Bryant SchaperCommented:
Before you head down the SAN route, maybe you should look at other options.  Enterprise NAS solutions could be cheaper, and I am not sure how mature VMWare vSAN has become, but it could be another option.
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ruhkusAuthor Commented:
Thanks. I didn't think a NAS would even be in the picture to run a few VM hosts, possibly a Windows domain controller?  I started looking into vSANs, but I think I'd lean towards a NAS if it's a legitimate option.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
No not a WIndows Domain Controller, a device like a Qnap, Synology, Thecus....

I would look at Synology, using NFS.

and then you've got HP MSA SANs (iSCSI), or Dell Equallogic iSCSI SANs.
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ruhkusAuthor Commented:
This may actually be simpler than I thought. I actually already have a Synology DS1815+  on which two years ago I set aside some space and was able to connect via iSCSI initiator to one of my VM hosts. I didn't end up doing too much with it, but I did see it booted a test VM fine. I let it be though, as I didn't think of it as a legitimate option for storage.

That being said, do you think this type of setup would work better than I thought? I see there's quite a few threads regarding NFS vs iSCSI that I'll have to peruse as well, unless per your comment, you feel NFS is the way to go.
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Bryant SchaperCommented:
We use iSCSI with an EMC. but NFS is perfectly acceptable too.  I have actually had vendors curious as to why why we choose iSCSI over NAS, and I couldn't tell you anymore.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
This may actually be simpler than I thought. I actually already have a Synology DS1815+  on which two years ago I set aside some space and was able to connect via iSCSI initiator to one of my VM hosts. I didn't end up doing too much with it, but I did see it booted a test VM fine. I let it be though, as I didn't think of it as a legitimate option for storage.

That being said, do you think this type of setup would work better than I thought? I see there's quite a few threads regarding NFS vs iSCSI that I'll have to peruse as well, unless per your comment, you feel NFS is the way to go.

If setup correctly, NFS on Synology can be a viable workload for some VM workloads.

Remember that iSCSI is an Overhead for a Synology NAS, because it performs the NAS function native!

So I would conduct some VM workloads tests, and compare NFS versus iSCSI.

and also many are now converting iSCSI SAN to NAS NFS based solutions!
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andyalderSaggar maker's framemakerCommented:
One advantage of an HP MSA such as a 1040 is that you can reuse the disks currently in your servers, the SAS host attach variant also supports four hosts rather than two (there's a fanout cable for that).
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ruhkusAuthor Commented:
All good info - I like Synology so I''ll look into that, as well as the HP MSA. Thanks.
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