mm1250
Contributor
Contributor

SAN Options Help - MSA2000i any good?

Hello,

My company has put me in charge to plan, design, implement and maintain a new VMware environment coupled with a new SAN solution. WOW! (my idea actually).

While I have implemented a VMware ESXi test system I am a little skidish on the SAN stuff. After doing allot of research I came down to a few options. Here is the rundown. we have 10servers now and they are a mix of 2003/2008 boxes with internal attached storage. I have decided to consolidate it to 2 or 3 new HP DL380 G6 boxes to run VMware and have all the VMware machines stored on a iSCSI SAN array so we can take advantage of HA, vMotion and DRS.

I choose iSCSI becuase it seemed the cheapest best solution and easiest to configure. So while looking I found many solutions such as EqualLogic, HP, Lefthand etc..

I am down to:

Lefthand Networks P4300 (Cost: $30k 4.8TB SAS) -

HP MSA 2012i HA Bundle (Cost: $15k 3.6TB SAS) - =

I know LEfthand is pretty good but a bit pricey. Has anyone used the MSA2012i ? It's pretty cheap. Also, any other ideas regarding good cheap SANs would be appreciated... Also, if anyone knows of some good SAN books I can buy and reach up on putting up a SAN.

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16 Replies
ablej
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Have you thought about NFS at all? NFS is very easy to setup and you gain some great benifits. For NFS I would look at Netapp, no one does NFS better. Also Netapp includes an ASIS(deduplication) license for free. With NFS and ASIS you will see good amount of storage savings. We are currently seeing about 70% return. If you do a google search for VMware Netapp NFS you will find some great articles. I have heard great things about LeftHand Networks though.

David Strebel

www.holy-vm.com

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David Strebel www.david-strebel.com If you find this information useful, please award points for "correct" or "helpful"
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mm1250
Contributor
Contributor

I thought going with NFS storage has disadvantages with VMware and doesn't allow you to setup the storage as VMFS?

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joshff
Contributor
Contributor

Yeah, there are lots of options out there, and definitely others in the price range you're looking at. Considered HP for a client as they use almost 100% HP and get great pricing, but read lot of issues (here and on HP forums). NetApp is good for several reasons including dedupe, but also consider:

+ EMC AX4 (or Dell rebrand) has good price

+ NexSan iSeries for excellent price

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habibalby
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Hello,

We have just finished from our project of VMWare based on HP MSA 2012fc with 2 External SAN Switches. Performance is acceptable, but you have to twick your Controller well to fail-over correctly without losing your LUNs connectivity to the hosts. Other things, the 2000fc requires SAN Switches because the MSA 2000 has got only two FC ports in each Controller which are too expensive, in additional to that, you will required FC SFP's Connectors for the SAN Switches to be able to connect your hosts. Again, the License is too expensive. I recommend, do not look only at the Storage price, look at the additional components required to make it works, and compare it with EMC Celerra IP Storage.

Currently, we are facing another problem which is the Replication at out DR Site. When I asked our HP Representive, they said is supported SRM, but after the implementation done we found that there is no Storage Replication Adapter for this Storage to be able to replicate to our SAN Storage at the DR Site. So, if you are going to use VMware SRM for your DR Site to replicate to the same Storage at the DR Site or another SAN Storage, you will not be able to use SRM unless HP they will release Storage Adapter for it soon.

Best Regards,

Hussain Al Sayed

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Best Regards, Hussain Al Sayed Consider awarding points for "correct" or "helpful".
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Josh26
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

"Good" is a fairly open ended question.

They have several of the enterprise features that you didn't see in previous entry level HP SANs, such as vdisks, snapshots and replication options (all licensed options though). Everything is redundant and you can can do most activities without downtime. Lack of these was previously the reason I recommended higher level SANs.

Some activities are still offline (eg hard disk firmware upgrades) but they seem pretty rare.

Really, look at the maximum storage. If you're not anticipating topping it (or coming close) there's no reason to want any more. I've been using the 2012 (again, the fibre model) and with around 30 VMs are absolutely nowhere near its performance limit (about 3% utlization).

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SunnyC
Contributor
Contributor

IBM System Storage DS3200 (4TB SAS) $15,000.00

Contact me if you have any questions.

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BUGCHK
Commander
Commander

I've set up an MSA2012i with 2 servers last year. Works fine. No big load, but I have not heard any complaints.

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Steve_Tron
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Hi,

I have used both the MSA and th EMC AX4 and found both to be ok I would however recommend the AX4 as it does have the slight edge on performance.

Regards

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heaje
Contributor
Contributor

I'm currently looking at lower cost iSCSI SAN options as well. One thing that I would like to point out is that the MSA 2012i is NOT on the VMware HCL for Vsphere (only for ESX 3.5). I'm waiting to hear from them if it's being tested or will be added in the future. The other SAN option that I'm looking at is the Dell Powervault MD3000i. It seems comparable to the MSA 2012i from HP.

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heaje
Contributor
Contributor

I heard back from HP and it looks like that the MSA2012i won't be in the HCL until sometime in September.

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Sly
Contributor
Contributor

I have been researching the same thing and have found that there is a second generation and a first generation of the HP MSA200i series. Gen 2 is slightly more expensive, but the IOPs are higher on Gen 2. I suggest you consider the HP Gen 2 MSA23xxi series. I am going with the MSA2324i, as the 2.5" drives are interchangable with the 2.5" drives on the DL380 G6 servers.

I agree that the NetApp devices are better, but much more $ when I looked at them.

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MHAV
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Thats a good question i came along just a couple of weeks ago while planing on a new strategie for our small departements.

I talked to a company that used the HP Packeged Clusters with the MSA500/1000 conncted over SCSI but since HP isn´t selling them anymore the are using the MSA2000i and iSCSI and they are prettey satisfied with this solution.

Another Guy I know how works for Mightycare.com told me that they have implemented another solution wich is for free. They use a Linux VM running on the ESX-Server that has all local storage connected within an server and provides this storage as NFS for other VMs. The software is for free and you only pay for the support wich is way cheaper then any lefthand stuff.

Since i had the demand by my customers to support Microsoft 2008 Cluster i hab no chance but building a SAN Solution means I ordered some MSA 2000fc.

Hope that´ll help

Regards Michael Haverbeck Check out my blog www.the-virtualizer.com
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tlyczko
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I heard back from HP and it looks like that the MSA2012i won't be in the HCL until sometime in September.

We have an MSA 2012i and it works well for us with 15k rpm SAS drives...we don't have any super high I/O servers though...not yet anyway. Smiley Happy

Have you received any update on its being put into the HCL?? I would hope September sooner rather than later -- at this rate we'll never get to install ESX 4 / vSphere since this is the one thing holding us up!!!

I asked HP myself and got no real concrete answers.

Thank you, Tom

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heaje
Contributor
Contributor

I ended up purchasing the Dell MD3000i, so I don't have any updates on the MSA2012i. I got my information from an HP reseller.

However, I did find the following web page on the support for "unsupported" devices from VMware and was pleasantly surprised. If I had known this, I wouldn't have worried so much about the HCL. Look at page 21.

VMware Support Policies

From my understanding, it seems that you can still receive support even if your hardware isn't on the HCL, but you have to contact your hardware manufacturer yourself if VMware decides that the hardware is the problem in a support case.

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TimPhillips
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

And don`t you think about using of software iSCSI SAN decision? It much cheaper than hardware one.

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tlyczko
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

No, we didn't think about that. In the future we may.

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