SAN Decisions

fitz

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#1
Ok.. so, technically this is hardware.. just not personal/desktop hardware.. but since it's not really Windows based...

Anyway, I've been pushing to bring in a SAN at my current place of employment and finally are moving forward in researching/bring in vendors/etc.. and are looking to two possible names right now for bring in a SAN - the "big dog" EMC Clariion CX3-10c or a CX3-20c or a StorageTek 5320/6140 combination to do an iSCSI/NAS Gateway (5320) into the 6140 (FC) SAN.

One of our requirements right now is to push an iSCSI solution now but have the option to move to Fiber in the future if needed. This rules out an Equalogic solution (although I like their higher-end SAS models).

Other needs would be the need to support a VMWare cluster (so, it would need to be on the VI3 HCL). Beyond VMWare, we may be moving our Exchange storage onto the SAN along with our backup solution and check/document images (I work for a financial place and we have over 4TB of tiff/gif images over the last 5 years worth of data.. and growing exponentially as our customer base keeps expanding!). For most of the static data (ie: images and backups) we would probably be looking at a shelf of 500GB FC/SATAII drives, the other shelf(or shelves) would probably be a mix of some 73GB 15k FC drives and 15k 143GB FC Drives for the vmfs volumes and Exchange logs/store.. beyond that would also probably move our main file server onto the SAN (even if we move the physical file server into a Virtual machine like I want to).

The two solutions (CX3-20c and the Sun StorageTek solutions) that we have quoted out right now are running right around the US$100k range with ~8-10TB raw storage.. including various software packages (ReplStore/etc on the EMC side).

So, I guess I'm just asking for opinions on anyone that has worked with either of these solutions (or any SAN in general). Also, has anyone had any experience/input on a Dell (rebranded EMC) solutions vs a EMC Direct solution (both from a support and quality standpoint?). Price wise, i'm sure I can give Dell a call and they will undercut any EMC solution.. but, since we are almost entirely an HP shop and have been most of my adult working career, not sure how well Dell is supporting their EMC. I've also heard rumors that while Dell will sell it initially cheaper, they charge you more later for software/hardware/firmware upgrades.. was wondering if there is any truth to that.

BTW: if acronyms such as iSCSI/FC/HCL/SAS/SATAII scare you.. then run away.. as fast as you can! :)
 

kcnychief

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#2
No experience with SAN's here unfortunately, but this should be a decent thread to track if you get replies :D

On a somewhat related note however, from the Business Standpoint I think Dell is top notch for their support and customer service. I don't know of any cases where they charge more down the road - things are built into warranties which are paid for/laid out up front. They have the best customer service in the business IMO.

Good luck to you sir.
 

fitz

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#3
thx.. not sure how many people here actually have experience with SAN's.. but it's worth a shot to get other opinions..
 

Mastershakes

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#4
As long as you have Physical drives on the ESX Hardware (VM) that have the OS partitions - you should be OK

We have 1 client that in order to save money decided he wanted his VM Dev Infrastructure all hosted on the SAN. By all, I don't mean the backend DBs and such.... OS as well.

We strongly recommended they not do this .... but they did it anyway.

So now, whenever the SAN experiences so much as a hiccup (a split second loss of connectivity) the whole house of cards comes falling down. Bunch of dead VMs. It's simple to restart them all - but hell to explain to the client why a network blip brought down their entire dev environment.

As far as who to go with ? When they ship me DOA EMC SAN cards - it takes next to no time to get another one shipped out no questions asked. I made a small DB aways back that contains most of Dell's troubleshooting flowcharts and how to answer each question in order to get the part shipped that day. :)

I would base my decision on cost if that is a factor. Otherwise, it's a coin flip having only experience on EMC.
 

fitz

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#5
As long as you have Physical drives on the ESX Hardware (VM) that have the OS partitions - you should be OK
I'm assuming you mean the console/ESX OS and not the guest VM OS partitions (in other words, no boot from SAN - which is something I don't plan to do).
 

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