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hutchingsp
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Server & SAN Certification for 3.5

I'm in a bit of a quandary. I have to get in a couple of replacement servers and a small SAN ASAP.

We've been looking at Fujitsu kit, specifically the FibreCat SX80 and Primergy RX300 servers.

Now we're ready to buy and there are two issues:

The FibreCat SX80 isn't certified with ESX 3.5 yet.

There is a new RX300 S4 version which is not yet certified with VMware (the S3 is).

I've asked Fujitsu to let me know the status of both with regards to certification.

The way I see things is that the S4 is a new version of the RX300 family so certification will surely be coming, it's just not happened yet.

Same with the SX80, it simply hasn't been certified with 3.5 yet (it is with 3.02), but it puts me in a tricky position as I need the hardware ASAP but also need to know it will work.

I guess I'd like to canvas some opinions from people who have used ESX for longer than I have.

Thanks all.

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5 Replies
divintas
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

There are two ways you can feel much more comfortable to buy new hardware which is not n the HCL.

1. Like you already did. Ask your hardware vendor if they already started the process to certify the hardware you want. They know the status.

2. Ask your vmware sales representative if the hardware is in the certification process. They have the ability to check this internaly.

If one of these 2 say: "The process for certifying this hardware is in progress" then its only a question of time when it will be supported. Normally the vendors do everything they can to get the hardware running.

BUT as long the hardware is not on the HCL you never can be sure that the hardware will work.....

I saw a lot of customers who needed firmware upgrades, set boot options, etc.... to get esx to work.

Conclusion: "If you need working hardware now, get the "old" ones which are on the HCL." ... "If you can wait a few weeks,month then just wait to be sure"

regards,

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dquirke
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

We are running 4 * RX300 S3 servers and a SX80 SAN with Brocade 200E switches.

Last week, I upgraded the lot to 3.5 with no problems at all.

So while I cannot comment on the RX300 S4 servers, the SX80 is fine.

I have found that Fujitsu take a short time to appear on the cirtification list after a release.

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hutchingsp
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

That's the exact setup I was looking at, except of course the RX300 S4 is now available so it seems to make sense for us to look at that.

Can I ask how you've found the combination? Especially the SX80?

We're looking at fairly low utilization for around half a dozen VM's (to start with) with the third server being a physic Windows 2003 file server with a tape library attached.

We're looking at the SX80 with dual controllers, a second shelf, and a pair of 200E switches.

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dquirke
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

The SX80 is a very good SAN, we also have a EMC Clariion CX3-10 used for some other systems.

In our configuration we have a mix of SAS and SATA disks, presented in 5 separate LUNS. The SX80 has the Dual controllers.

As well as VMware we have 2 Windows 2003 servers. One of these is running VCB as part of the VMware installation.

We have never had a problem or any performance issues on the SX80 and it has been in place since before release as we were a beta site for the SX80, so we have it just under 2 years.

The management interface is very simple as well, the only criticism I would have is that the patching process for the controllers works fine but gives you little feedback so during the process you do have a few minutes where you think the whole thing has gone wrong... But it never has and as we were on the beta we have had to do 3 Firmware updates.

FSC have released the SX88, which is the same as the SX80 but has a 4GB FC backplane instead of the 2GB backplane on the SX80. It may be worth looking at this unit. According to FSC the SX88 is certified with VMware, but it is not on the VMware list. So you would need to clarify this.

Lastly, if you are looking at the 200E brocade switches ensure you are on firmware 6. If you buy these from FSC they will come with firmware 5.3 and we have had some problems with this version of the firmware. Upgrading the brocades does not require downtime and is a simple task.

Hope that helps?

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hutchingsp
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

The SX80 is a very good SAN, we also have a EMC Clariion CX3-10 used for some other systems.

Thanks, tbh that single line help a lot as it's been hard to find real world users even though on paper it looks impressive. Our basic problem is that we've just about outgrown DAS but many entry level SAN's only seemed to deal with the sort of data volumes that could be handled by DAS.

We're getting everything barring VMware itself from Fujitsu as it makes sense for us to have a single port of call should there be a problem.

I've seen the SX88, to be honest Fujitsu are offering us great pricing on the SX80, and my understanding is that whilst the SX88 may be quicker, the SX80 is still damned quick stuffed full of 15k SAS drives, especially as I'd class us as "low utilization" with only 3 servers connected.

I'll make a note about the firmware on the Brocade's - we're just getting the basic switch as we're going to have everything in the same rack and just want failover should a switch/hba fail.

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