glucot
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Looking for a SAN solution

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We have a small infrastructure that we use for software development purposes. We have 4 ESX servers, all running ESX 3.5 u3, and about 30 VMs. We are storing the VMs on the local ESX storage. We want to move to centralized storage for the VMs and we want to use HA and VMotion. Is there a low cost SAN solution for an installation like ours?

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Nick_F
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Enthusiast

A Dell MD3000i would be a good fit for a 4 ESX server environment, very cheap compared with full blown SAN solutions (even the Dell Equalogic stuff is at least 5x the cost). We use them for small client installs (internally we use Dell|EMC Clariion CX3's and 4's but they'd be overkill). Make sure you budget for a couple of decent network switches for iSCSI to (we use Cisco ones but Dell ones are probably fine if you want to buy all from one vendor to ease support issues)

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mokymura
Expert
Expert

Hi glucot,

Provably the less expensive storage solution will be NAS solution: there are some nices and small NetApp storage solution that allows you to give storage to the ESX boxes with NAS, ISCSI, SAN.

What we have in our small enviroment is a NAS system made by openfiler linux system: for us is enought and gave to us what we want.

But if it´s a serious enviroment i will go for NetApp and for NAS system (at least you have already all the SAN infraestructure).

Regards

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azn2kew
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Champion

You can check out Dell Equallogic gear which is very good and flexible especially set it up on a fly. We're using it and like it alot and great thing is software are free comparing to EMC Celerra and NetApp, license can be a pain in your budget. If you want freebies, setup using Openfiler or FreeNAS or Solarwinds IET. As long as you have enough network bandwith and disk drives for this NAS/iSCSI purpose.

Also, if you want to virtualize your local disks using SANMelody would be a good choice and provide great performance so you don't have to invest additional gears.

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Regards,

Stefan Nguyen

iGeek Systems Inc.

VMware, Citrix, Microsoft Consultant

If you found this information useful, please consider awarding points for "Correct" or "Helpful". Thanks!!! Regards, Stefan Nguyen VMware vExpert 2009 iGeek Systems Inc. VMware vExpert, VCP 3 & 4, VSP, VTSP, CCA, CCEA, CCNA, MCSA, EMCSE, EMCISA
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mattjk
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Not sure what your budget is like, but a NetApp FAS2020 or FAS2050 plus an NFS license would do you nicely. Option of both SAS (speed) or SATA (space) disks in the base unit.

We use a FAS2050c (active/active cluster) in our small ESX deployment and it's brilliant - it's fast, A-SIS deduplication is turning 2TB of data into 800GB of used disk, NFS makes storage administration with ESX ridiculously easy, NetApp snapshots made backup/restore a sinch, etc, etc.

Cheers,

Matt

Cheers, Matt
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The_Reckoning55
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I have had good success with both the EMC products and HP SANs, both iSCSI and Fiber Channel. I believe that the HP SANs are very reasonably priced and it may come down to more of a personal preference than cost. Another solution that you might try, if you dont mind using hardware that is pre-owned is to use a site like: www.vibrant.com They sell used storage at very reasonable prices, and you can spend the extra money on more disk space.

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DJ Gillit

Network Engineer

CoNetrix, Inc

www.conetrix.com

**Remember to award points if you found this post helpful DJ Gillit, VSP, VTSP Systems Integration and Special Projects localLINUX, Inc www.locallinux.com
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Nick_F
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

A Dell MD3000i would be a good fit for a 4 ESX server environment, very cheap compared with full blown SAN solutions (even the Dell Equalogic stuff is at least 5x the cost). We use them for small client installs (internally we use Dell|EMC Clariion CX3's and 4's but they'd be overkill). Make sure you budget for a couple of decent network switches for iSCSI to (we use Cisco ones but Dell ones are probably fine if you want to buy all from one vendor to ease support issues)

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glucot
Contributor
Contributor

Hi Nick,

I'm back to researching SAN solutions for our small, but growing, ESX cluster. We are up to 6 ESX/ESXi 3.5 servers. We could have as many as ten. Is the MD3000i still a good choice for this environment? How much storage do you have in yours? And, if you don't mind sharing this info, what did the MD3000i cost you?

Thanks,

Greg

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JohnADCO
Expert
Expert

On cost? Nothing really beats the MD3000i these days. Beat your dell rep up some, don't order from the website. For leverage with your rep? Hit him with the outlet store prices. Right now on the outlet site they have a fully loaded san 15 drives, high profile dual controller on the outlet site for $5,879, they have a SAS equipped san for $6K

10 hosts is the upper limit for what I would throw at these, depends on the VM's too you know. 10 hosts with mutilple hard hitting exchange servers on each? I'd spend some more money. We have hit a single MD3000i that had fourteen SATA drives with 5 hosts, 24 VM's each and performance was labeled as acceptable, with SAS drives we labeled performance as good. Now, normally we hit one Md3000i with 2 hosts, 24 VM's each, 6 or so of those VM's are real hard hitting VM's.

The MD3000i's lack a key feature too. (No SAN to SAN replication), it was a pita for us to get around, but it can be done.

Best of luck with your storage choices.

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glucot
Contributor
Contributor

We are only looking at a SAN for VM storage. None of our VMs run data intensive applications. So it sounds like the MD3000i may work just fine for us. I investigated this SAN a little further and I am left with the impression that it's not really compatible with ESX/ESXi 3.5. How did you get around this?

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JohnADCO
Expert
Expert

Must of been some old posts you came up with as only initially did the MD3000i not have support.

MD3000i is fully supported with ESX 3.5i and runs well. Page 9 of 70 in the VMware SAN storage support guide.

http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/pdf/vi_san_guide.pdf

glynnd1
Expert
Expert

Check the HCL, if it is listed it is supported by VMware:

http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php

The Dell website may have a tech pub on using it with VMware.

edit;

They do, the googles are your friend:

http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/solutions/md3000i_esx_deploy_guide.pdf

JohnADCO
Expert
Expert

Just an additional note.... If you buy an esx host, and an MD3000i. They actually will set them both up and train you over the phone for free.

It is a nice added touch for sure.

Also keep in mind even though it has worked out very well for us, The MD3000i is the lowest end san solution out there. I know a percentage of I.T. people that would not run it just because of that fact alone.

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glucot
Contributor
Contributor

This is for R&D. All of our VMs are used for software build and test. So we don't have the same view of this solution as an IT person. I plan to put this into the budget.

Thanks,

Greg

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beckhamk
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I highly recommend one of the HDS (hitachi) ASM line of sans. You will find it most generously prices and the units "just work" no issues here.

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JohnADCO
Expert
Expert

I have to admit, I am a bit jealous of those of you that really got to purchase these nicer sans. I guess I should just be thankful there was a solution for us within budget aye? Smiley Happy

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tom11011
Contributor
Contributor

How does the Dell/EMC AX150i stack up against the MD3000i? Pricing seems comparable.

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JohnADCO
Expert
Expert

No real comparison there, to many things to list. go for the MD3000i in my opinion.

The MD3000i performs almost as good as the big boy sans, works with SAS drives, allows mixed drive types, allows load balancing, expands to 45tb -vs- 6tb,

The only nod to the AX150i would be possibly NaviSphere which gets high marks.

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