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Tegile / Zebi storage

Hi all,

     I am at the tail end of a long process of deciding on a SAN. My company is relatively small and has only used VMWare for development machines with local storage. We are finally looking to move our production environment into VMWare. We will also be mixing in a small (@ 30 desktops to start) VDI project on this same storage unit. I have read a lot, on the internet and on these forums, about Nimble  Storage. I have a strong and compelling quote for a CS220G from Nimble. That being said:

    I was wondering if anyone has used or had any experience with Tegile's Zebi Storage products (I am looking at the HA2100 specifically - http://www.tegile.com/products/zebi-storage-arrays/)?? Their product uses the same chassis as the Nimble, but I am told they use better processors and all SAS drives (The Nimble CS220G uses SATA drives with interposers). The Tegile OS is based on OpenSolaris/ZFS with some custom improvements that Tegile calls MASS (Metadata Accelerated Storage System), which implement deduplication and compression in a different way than ZFS. The only "unbiased" information I can find is a blog post from IPHouse, and while it is informative and reassuring, I'm hoping there are people on this forum who can offer more information.

So if anyone can offer more information or experience in reference to Tegile Storage products I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance!

Ben

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A quick afterthought: The reason why I have limited my scope to these devices is because they seem to be the best way to get a high level of performance and capacity at a price point that fits in my small budget! I have talked to and received quotes from EMC, EqualLogic, NexSAN, and StorageFlex. That is in addition to looking into building my own SAN using OpenSolaris or Nexenta, which incidentally is what lead me into looking at Tegile.

Thanks!

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We purchased Tegile Zebi a couple of years ago when it was BRAND new. The single controller SS2000EP, is what we currently have. Used it for vranger (vm) backups, 150 vdi desktops, the view 4.6 infrastructure and file shares. the dedup and compression saved us. We had moved from FC EMC to EQ iscsi with a couple of dell md nas shelves, as well. the same old song, never enough storage. Now we have storage.

We purchased the dual controller model HA2000EP with 2 jb's for more storage, deployed it in January. We have a jb1100 and a jb2100, as well.

We have migrated some of our vsphere5 environment to it. our view5 environment is all running on it. We need to put another tegile box in a remote site for replication. Once that is done, we'll probably move the remaining to it.

Both the single controller and the dual controller outperformed our eq and md's. We did quite a bit of performance testing.

They are smoking fast and appear to be very stable.

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Thanks so much for the response. It is much better to talk to people who have actually used the product rather than just buying off blind trust! Glad to hear the performance is as they advertise it to be. A few followup questions:

1 - Have you had any hardware failures or support issues? If so, how was their support service? I'd be especially interested to hear about more recent interactions!

2 - Would you mind elaborating on how your RAID is carved out on the array? ZFS RAID is a little new to me and I'm curious if it would be worthwhile to use something more on par with RAID 5 (RAID-Z?) in order to get extra storage out of the array.

3 - How has snapshot handling turned out? Do you notice a performace inpact from frequent snapshots? What about storage usage for snapshots?

Thanks again for taking the time to respond! We are looking to finalize our purchase next week and this already makes me feel better about choosing Tegile over Nimble Storage's CS220!

Ben

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we haven't had any hardware issues. When we were running the brand new beta version, we had to call support a few times with issues. Support was excellent. Our newer boxes haven't had ANY issues.

We are using Raid 6 for vsphere, mirror for vdi.

Performanace hit when snapshotting has been neglible. We aren't snapshotting much yet.

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Don't believe in their $16,000 starting price. Spent one hour with them for a conference call, no powerpoint for introduction, just purely talking. After the conference call, sales came back and claims nothing fits my requirements? Sales won't even bother to try work on the pricing. I hardly believe about what they claim now.

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Not sure what your requirements were, but every interaction I’ve had with Tegile has been fantastic. I admit that they did not have a bunch of pretty documentation to send me. I asked a lot of questions on first contact and got the answers needed to interest me enough for a webex demo of the management interface, which looked good. I was already pretty well versed on the hardware they were using, and the underlying file system/OS (ZFS based). After talking to a few other current users I went ahead and bought. You actually caught me on a break from the server room where I am getting all my new equipment wired in (Zebi HA2100 included). If you want to provide me some more details on your use case/goals, I’d be happy to help. I find it hard to believe they had nothing to fit your needs…unless you needed something far cheaper than they have on the list. As I said, give me a little more info and I’d be happy to answer questions or help out. Take care.

Ben

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After providing the feedback to their own blog, Rob Commins, Tegile V.P. Marketing, contacted me through email. It looks like there is still people in the company knows how to do business. I will provide more details after I talk to him.

You probably had a better sales/sales engineer worked with you during the demo. I was never shown a demo management interface, the webex session was purely for conference call, even I joined from my computer.

Anyway, I would like to hear from you regarding what you have experienced with Tegile. What do you like/dislike it? Each product has its own limitation, as long as the limitation is not affecting the business, that's acceptable.

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How big is your production environment?

Is there a compelling reason that two nodes with periodic replication isn't good enough for production?  Or that two nodes with the VMware or HP VSA wouldn't be good enough as a shared storage infrastructure?

Have you profiled your target hosts?  What's your IOPS requirement for your production environment?  What's your rate of IOPS growth for the next 5 years?

I blog at vJourneyman | http://vjourneyman.com/
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We are planning to migrate almost our entire server deployment into our new system. It will end up being roughly 20 server workloads, and then 30 VDI desktops initially (our customer service dept.). If the VDI deployment goes well and we have enough headroom, we’ll probably be moving more departments to VDI.

We did baseline our current server environment to get an idea of what we use now. I would not have been comfortable using VSA or similar setup for everything that we are wanting to move to it, mainly due to VDI.

In the end, we had budget to use for a quality SAN and we ended up going with the Tegile HA2100. Their hardware, customer service, and pricing ended up being far better than Nimble. Currently working through some configuration issues on our dell switches, should be testing the full environment next week. Will be sure to post up some more detailed information afterwards.

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I am currently looking at Tegile vs Nimble.  I have been very impressed with Nimble, and I am just starting to look at Tegile.  Can you give me specifics as to what about Nimble you didn't like?  I am interested in taking hundreds to snapshots without penality, to use as a backup ( I also have backups to disk, but really who uses that anymore).  I also plan on replicating to another datacenter (I have two datacenters, replicating to one another).

I really like how Nimble allows you to have a tremendous amonut of replication/snapshots when comapred to the existing EqualLogis arrays I currently have.

Pricing seems to be similar (so far anyway).  I do not really know anything about the underlying hardware and OS of Tegile.  How does it differ from Nimble?

Sorry for all of the questions, Just curious as to why you chose one over the other.

Mike

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Hmmm... Isn't it best practice to separate VDI and Server Virtualization workloads on the host level?  With View you get a bundled Enterprise Plus (?) license for a host to use only for VDI and desktop support workloads.

20 server workloads isn't anything major for a single host, as long as you've done good profiling of the workloads before consolidation.  VSA between two hosts is "no big deal."

VDI using View and linked clones shouldn't have as much of an IOPS impact and again, should be fine on a VSA, depending on your desktop IOPS profile and scale-out plans.  What are the numbers that you're looking at now with regards to per-user peak IOPS on your VDI deployment?

The features I see are odd.  RAID 5?  No mention of RAID 10.  No mention of thin provisioning, thin reclaim, WRITE-SAME, UNMAP, VAAI, etc.

I blog at vJourneyman | http://vjourneyman.com/
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I also talked to Tegile during the Citrix conference in San Fran this year and was impressed by the product, but moreso by a starting price of 16k.  I figured with dual controller I'd see something like 20k.

Single controller w/5 year maintenance and onsite install was 30k....I can knock that down to 25k by doing install and getting 3 year NBD support

S2200 (dual controller), again with NBD is 34k

Afraid what 24x7x4 replacement parts would be (as it would be production).

I'd give my right arm for one of these units production but not for 40k....I will go with a proven technology company for that price...

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Sorry for the lapse in responses, things got rather busy for me recently!

Mike,

     To make a long story short, I chose Tegile due to better:

1) Hardware - Drives in the Nimble system are all desktop level. The Tegile system had 2 controllers with a better processor, more RAM, and enterprise HDDs.

2) Customer service - Every interaction I had (and continue to have) with Tegile, has been fantastic. I'm getting one on one support from high level engineers that haven't scoffed at my impromptu phones calls asking for quick answers. Every other general tech support request has been handled quickly and to my satisfaction. 2 calls in for me breaking things expecting standard linux results, which isn't the case due to the HA setup between controllers. The last was for a firmware upgrade that prettied up the web interface.

3) Better price

4) Functional dedupe, which is already saving space in LUNs created for OS partitions. I'm sure this will go a long way in VDI as well.

Which brings me to jwhitehv:

     I am separating workloads across multiple hosts, 5 in all. My VDI deployment has not began yet due to unrelated factors, but will begin soon. I am using RAID 10 (ZFS' equivalent anyway) on my HA2100 now. Will provide the best possible performance, but with the obvious hit in space as I'm left with 9TB. Which is still enough for my current and near future needs. I'm also using thin provisioning on almost all LUNs. I'm told vaai is coming as soon as things are finalized with VMWare, sounded like paperwork more than technical delays.

Rumple, Not sure what to say other than everyone has to start somewhere. Was only a few years ago that Nimble was unheard of. I got my HA2100 at a fantastic price compared to other quotes for units whose sales teams wouldn't even quote the same level of performance.

I've been able to migrate about half of my production/development environment into my vsphere cluster (which uses the tegile device), 10 server loads in all. I am hoping to have the rest migrated in the next 2 weeks max. Once that is done I'll immediately start the VDI deployment. If the one device can handle both our server and vdi workloads, then I will be a very happy customer indeed!

Thanks all. Will try to post back in a month or so when the deployment will hopefully be finished.

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@BeenGD

Do you have the latest update on your tegile deployment?

I'm currently in the same boat trying to pick a SAN between EMC VNXe, Equallogic, Nimble Storage and now Tegile.

I've seen tegile at the VMWorld 2012 and they are pretty sweet.

I thought they are more on the pricey ($20k+) range for SMB but I guess I was wrong when I read in here they are starting at $16k?

It's good to know now that Nimble Storage drives are using a desktop level drives because they are kind of the front runner right now.

I do like how the dashboard feels and no RAID is needed. I don't have to deal with setting up RAID 5, 6, or 10 like any other storages.

They also claimed that their product produce 10k+ IOPS which is a lot for what we need.

We have 3 host VM servers and 20 VDI in a cluster.

Yes, I'm supposed to put the VDI outside the Server cluster but it's so small environment, I think we'll be ok. Smiley Happy

1) Do you mind sharing customer service experience that you had with Nimble Storage?

2) I've got quoted for Nimble between $25k-30k after 1 year support. Is the Tegile lower than that? My budget is around 20k.

3) Nimble said they have compression and snapshot. Does Tegile has all of them too + dedup? That'll be wonderful.

4) How many drives does the HA2100 comes with? Is it all SSD Enterprise? Do you mind sharing how big is the usable storage?

The website stated raw capacity 22 TB, really?

5) It'll be interesting to compare the performance between tegile and if using v3sys VDI appliance. I have requested a sandbox on v3sys and they are screaming fast. If I can use the tegile san for everything that would save us a lot of money.

6) How many 1Gb port is in that server?

Thanks for your time.

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Hi CP7,

I have been meaning to update, as I've made a lot of progress, but the holiday season has been busy to say the least. I have moved most of my servers into our VMWare environment, along with 8 customer service and 2 dev VDI guests. The Tegile unit is serving all of it without breaking much of a sweat at all. Wanted to note that Nimble may have changed their offering since I looked at them last, I think it has been almost 8 months now. Also, IIRC, Nimble uses RAID 6 by default. At any rate, I've answered each of your questions below

1) My experience with Nimble directly was not so great. Sales was nice up front, but as soon as it looked like I might go with Tegile the sales rep immediately resorted to trying to guilt me into their product by telling me he had already gone to his boss for pricing approval and so on. I talked to others who had a similar experience. This is unfortunate because Nimble obviously has a good product, but bad attitudes can spoil many things.

2) I spent more than that ($20k) on our Tegile unit, but we got the dual controller HA2100 w/10GBe NICs and 3/yrs support. So all I can say is this: Tegile was absolutely excellent to work with, both from a technical and sales aspect. We had a tight budget line to meet and they made it happen and have taken excellent care of us since.

3) Yes, Tegile has all that plus dedupe. I have been using compression and dedupe on all LUNs and the unit still has low processor utilization and steady RAM utilization (RAM is also used for another tier of caching "hot" data, in addition to general system use).

4) The HA2100 comes with 16 drives total, in ours there are 3 eSSD drives. 2 are used in a RAID set for caching written data and meta data, the other is used for caching "hot" read data. The other drives are eSATA 7200rpm drives, which I set up in the ZFS equivalent of RAID 10. This gave us the best speed and redundancy, and left me with about 10TB useable storage when all is said and done (which was more than I needed). I'd also like to note that dedupe has saved a ton of space on the LUNs used for storing OS drives for servers/VDI desktops.

5) I'm not familiar with v3sys, and didn't have the time to read up on it when posting today. I'll have to look into it.

6) There are six 1GB NICs per controller, and we added two 10GBe NICs. We use the 10GB NICs for connection to an iSCSI only switch, those are what serves the VMWare hosts. I only use the 1GB NICs for connection to the server subnet so the Tegile is available for administration. There is also an IPMI port per controller that are quite useful.

Hope all that info helps. This may be my last post here. I plan to finish deloying the other 20+ VDI hosts in January and foresee no issues with the Tegile handling VDI + server workloads, and doing it with better performance than we were getting from our older servers!

Happy hunting and have a Merry Christmas!!

Ben

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Hows this running with VDI and Server VM's? We're looking at doing similar - 20 VDI's and 50 VM's on Tegile or Nimble and 3 DL360's - majority of VM's are low IOPS just a-lot of backoffice systems ticking away.

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Hi depps,

Our setup is running very well, and (knock on wood) we haven't had any issues. I now have all of my production/development servers and VDI desktops running on our HA2100 24/7 (24 server workloads and 27 VDI desktops between our CS and accounting dept.). Performance has been consistent and fantastic, even during vMotions, VDI refresh/recomposures, etc.. Tegile CS has been great with every interaction, which has mainly been just for firmware/OS upgrades. I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to recommend choosing Tegile for your needs, they are a great value all around. As always though, be sure to gather info and do your comparison (I have looked at changes to Nimble's systems in a while). If you have any detailed questions, feel free to contact me directly. Take care!

Ben

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I'll second BeenGD,

I have deployed tegile HA2100 on two sites.

Site 1 - VMware View VDI: ~35, VM Servers: ~35.

Site 2 - VMware View VDI: ~50^, VM Servers: ~50

^ - hosted on FusionIO card because the site required an instant recompose.

No issues at all at Site 1 when the View is fully hosted there. Recompose will be a bit slower than FusionIO but that's normal.

I even carved it out a few TB to use as my daily Veeam backup repository and no performance being impacted.

Tegile support is TOP notch. They are very responsive even when you call them at midnight or 2 am. (I did test it once)

I wish VMware support is like that. Lol.

My only gripe is still the storage dashboard. They did make a big update just recently so it's way better than before but I still think Nimble wins on that part. But the engine I believe is better than Nimble.

Maybe ask for a POC on their smaller storage and test it out yourself?

Cheers.

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