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renndabull
Contributor
Contributor

Equallogic vs LeftHand

Hi all,

I'm in the process of designing a VI3 infrastructure using a SAN and 2 HP DL380 G5 ESX hosts. I've leaning towards the Equallogic PS100E but have started looking at LeftHand. Anyone have any input or advise on using LeftHand (maybe the DL320 or DL380 option) for a VI3 system running about 10 VM's, Vmotion, HA, etc.? LeftHand seems to be about half the price of the PS100E and doesn't use proprietary hardware.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!

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26 Replies
waynegrow
Expert
Expert

I do not know anything about LeftHand, but all I hear is good things about Equallogic and the easy of setup, use and reliability. You get what you pay for.

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simmonsco
Contributor
Contributor

We just installed VI3 using 2 DL365's and 3 Lefthand DL380's. We have not gone into production yet but so far I have been very impressed. When all is said and done we will have about 12 Vm's and 2 physical servers (Exchange and Sql) using it has storage. The only problem we have had so far was a hardware issue on one of the DL380's but didn't affect anything except that box until it was replaced.

Message was edited by:

simmonsco

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renndabull
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks for the input. I guess I'm al bit fuzzy on how the DL380's work together, do you have to have a minimum of 2 for redundancy, or can you just use one with dual storage conrollers, processors, power, etc? About how much was the (3) DL380 lefthand config? Is the Lefthand software just installed on harddrives or imbedded in conroller cards? I want to stay below the 30+K quoted for the PS100E.

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JDLangdon
Expert
Expert

One thing that has impressed me concerning LeftHand Networks is their tech support staff.

Jason

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simmonsco
Contributor
Contributor

Yes minimum of 2 for redundancy. It also doubles your processors etc. Each box lists for about 17K. You can get them a little cheaper than that though. The software is installed on the drives. I also have to agree the 2 times we have called support they have been outstanding. These things are so easy to figure out though that you might never need to talk to them. Go to the site and check out some of the Webinars they have they were very helpful in our buying process. They also have a daily demo webinar that is what got us seriously looking at them. I would give them a look we were in the same boat as you between them and equallogic and I do not regret the decision one bit.

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williambishop
Expert
Expert

My first question would be---you are planning to scale this how far? A lot of vendors offerings kind of fall into niches of performance. I'm not particular to any one brand, much like OS's, it should be "the right tool, for the right job". You have a couple things to look at. The first is what is currently installed. ...i.e. It makes precious little sense to install an iSCSI device into an enterprise that has a large and well established and finely tuned fc fabric. Building from scratch, I personally would look at equallogic, but that's just me. Your second thing is going to have to be "my dream realized".....meaning, find out how each vendor and each of their offering fits into the space. A helpful link is:

http://storagethoughts.blogspot.com/2006/10/array-vendor-chart.html

The map at the bottom places(pretty accurately) where each vendor falls in each category. Always pick your solution based on what you INTEND it to end up as. If you shoot too low, then when you are fully engaged, performance will suffer-- if you shoot too high, you are shooting fleas with howitzers(expensively).

--"Non Temetis Messor."
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christianZ
Champion
Champion

Well I tested the software solutions too.

Was impressed from e.g. SanMelody (I guess the LeftHand solution looks similar) - but then I thought about redundancy and higher reliability and saw all those what you need to achieve it i.e. 2 servers with many disks, additional licences for mirroring / failover / snaps, complexity of hardware connectivity (server, networks, disks) and not to forget SanMelody software runs on windows server - is that ready for enterprise ??

The other hardware is based on stronger unix kernel, included all the redundancy (connections, compact flash with os, networks) and features in one box.

The fw upgrade is simple here in comparison to sofware updates on windows server when in addition the os updates would be needed too.

...And now you can see that such solutions aren't implicit inexpensive.

Just my opinion.

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christianZ
Champion
Champion

...in addition I saw the Webcast from Lefthand - the SAN/IQ storage software is based on linux and doesn't need any host os.

All that looks interesting but I guess one volume here can only use the spindles of one server (e.g. max 12, as R5 on internal raid controller) and therefore it could not give enough ios/sek by random access.

Maybe someone with LeftHand implemented can make the tests here:

http://www.vmware.com/community/thread.jspa?threadID=73745

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christianZ
Champion
Champion

... what Equallogic can't do are clustering over distance and supporting of 10 Gb.

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HuntAJ
Contributor
Contributor

This was interesting reading. I don't know much about LeftHand at this point (going back 2.5 years), but I do have a lot of experience with EqualLogic. I have 70TB raw just on the SAN side, and I still have a lot of DAS to migrate over. I plan on having 12-14 ESX servers.

I'd be happy to answer any questions regarding EqualLogic, or compare/contrast if there are specific questions that need research. In my situation, I take advantage of about 99.999% of the features of the product. There is an announcement today or tomorrow by EqualLogic that you may want to pay attention to as well.

ajh

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renndabull
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks for everyones input, it has been very helpful! I've decided to go with Equallogic mainly for it's reputation and ease of use. I've got to talk and see first had customers using the PS product and all love it.

Thanks again.

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SyverDude
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I will through my 2 cents in at this point. If you are going to use lefthand and it is a db server with high io, stay away from the sata based systems as you will be disapointed with the overall performance. The benchmarks we did with iometer showed dismall results.

Also, Please be aware that currently the qlogic qla 4050C iscsi hba is currently not working / supported on the LeftHand storage solution.

I do not have any experience with Equalogic.

Lefthand support Has been pretty good.

Regards,

Jon

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HuntAJ
Contributor
Contributor

Here's the announcement:

http://www.equallogic.com/news/release_display.aspx?id=2829

I know a good reseller. Smiley Happy

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christianZ
Champion
Champion

Right decision - welcome in club.

I thought that the LeftHand solution should have a bottleneck by random ios - good to know that they don't support iscsi hba for now.

With Equallogic you can user either software iscsi initiator or iscsi hbas.

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SEveler
Contributor
Contributor

We are running the PS300 with two DL385s and right now about 20 VM's. I will agree that the ease of use is probably the biggest factor besides performance with Equallogic. Secondly the support with EQL is very, very, good. The field system engineers are great to bounce ideas off of. We are running the SATA drives and we chose to go this way after talking with Wade O'Harrow and some of the other SE. They gave me many examples of very large customers running their environment on the SATA drives. I was very skeptical to run my infrastructure on SATA but, it has been the best decision so far. One example is 55,000 user exchange database. Plus, getting all of the other options thrown in and not having to worry about licensing is great. Not having to go back to management for more money for replication and snap shots is nice. As far as scalability just add another to the network and keep going.

If you pick EQL you will be very happy.

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hfourie
Contributor
Contributor

Just a quick note. With Lefthand you also dont need any other licenses for snapshots, Replication or scripting any more. This use to be the case, but I guess the lost some deals.

If you now buy a Lefthand solution, all is included. I have not used EQL before, but find the Lefthand boxes very easy to use, and no problems with perf.

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shawniverson
Contributor
Contributor

Yes, all of the licensing is included, but just be aware of the cost associated with each cluster node that you add to the SAN. To double the capacity of my existing SAN with new nodes, I'll be looking at a price tag of about $50,000 + support. Then again, I can simply up my hard drive capacity to 300GB SCSI drives and double its capacity that way, although I may have to drop from 15K SCSI to 10K SCSI. The cost there would be around $20,000 - cost recovered from 146GB drives.

I hear that the HP DL320s have a much higher cost associated with them too, and right now only the DL380's (G4 only) are on VMware's HCL.

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ejward
Expert
Expert

How do LeftHand and Equallogic compare price wise? I've gotten quotes for Equallogic but have not bought anything yet.

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shawniverson
Contributor
Contributor

I find the prices to be very comparable with each other. I think that when I was evaluating both with the same amount of raw storage, the prices were within a few thousand of each other, with Lefthand being slightly lower.

I have heard a lot of good things about both Equallogic and Lefthand, so I would say the final decision would ultimately boil down to what you are trying to achieve with the product. I had a less than favorable experience with Equallogic sales, but then again Lefthand support didn't stay with me on my recent issue with VMware to the end. Lefthand basically confirmed that the SAN itself had no problems and that it worked perfectly in an environment without VMware, but support deferred me to VMware support instead of staying involved and taking a more collaborative approach with VMware in resolving my problem. I can't say whether Equallogic would have handled the problem any better, so the playing field is still level for me.

I can say that if I were implementing just a single site SAN, I probably would have went with Equallogic instead of Lefthand. However, Lefthand's multi-site features (replication, Network RAID/"Campus SAN," no need to license each feature) were a better fit for my disaster recovery and availability goals. I basically could achieve near synchronous replication between two sites using Network RAID without breaking my organization's budget. Couple that with VMware DRS, HA, and VMotion, and you have one really solid solution.

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