couton
Contributor
Contributor

ESXi and MD3220i

Hello All,

My first post, so please go easy on me!

I'm currently working towards my VCP and hope to pass that at my next attempt. I have little experience of VMware but I scored 268 and 278 in my exams I have taken.

I am looking at virtualising our infrastructure of around 20 servers to start with. I had initially decided on Dell's Equallogic as being the best fit for our needs. However, the EMC VNXe range has spurred me on to look at alternatives.

Whilst the features of the Equallogic are some nice for us, they certainly arent a neccessity. I've been looking at the MD3220i which comes in at a much lower price point and the features would suit us, along with being within budgets.

The MD3220i I have chosen has 24 x 600GB SAS drives, and redundant controllers. Everything looks great with the unit however one question I need to identify is the limit they quote of 32 hosts.

I have spoken to our technical point at Dell and he has confirmed this is phsyical hosts, however I want to be as sure as I can before committing to the unit.

My plans are to have two vSwitch's on each ESXi node with two NIC's for redundancy to two switches. I also plan on using all 8 ports on the SAN (4 per controller). Does anybody have such an environment set up, and if so is there any issues?

What I want to ensure is that they are not limiting it to 32 sessions or paths as we could easily hit the limit with 8 or 16 ESXi servers connected to it.

Many thanks,

Paul

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5 Replies
chriswahl
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Here's a few links to similar questions:

http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/storage/f/1216/p/19336158/19710978.aspx

http://www.delltechcenter.com/thread/4257975/MD3220i+configuration+question.

It seems that the SAN will track 32 different hosts. The unit supports 256 LUNs, so I doubt there is a limitation on the amount of iSCSI targets, it seems to be an iSCSI initiator limitation. I'd ask them to verify the number of iSCSI targets/initiators supported, or specifically state how you will be using the unit (such as 10 hosts with 4 initiators each) and make sure they say "yes that will work" in an email. Smiley Happy

From their documentation:

Below are general configuration rules for MD3200i series of arrays.
• Up to 8 direct attached servers with single I/O paths to a dual controller storage array
• Up to 4 direct attached servers with redundant I/O paths to a dual controller storage array
• Up to 32 physical hosts can be supported on a single storage system (includes both single and
dual controller models)
• Up to 256 virtual disks (LUNs) per storage array
VCDX #104 (DCV, NV) ஃ WahlNetwork.com ஃ @ChrisWahl ஃ Author, Networking for VMware Administrators
AndreTheGiant
Immortal
Immortal

The storage is fine for small/medium environment.

I've tested on vSphere 4.1 (note that seems that it is not supported on VI 3.x).

From Dell site you can download also the configuration guide for a vSphere environment.

Andre 

Andre | http://about.me/amauro | http://vinfrastructure.it/ | @Andrea_Mauro
couton
Contributor
Contributor

Thank you for the swift replies guys.

I've been through quite a few topics on here, and Dell's site and wanted to see if I could get any further feedback. I'l see what further I can get from Dell, as do many other people I rate real world feedback much higher than the sales people!

It is a project that I am working on, and so will be based around ESXi 4.1 which I've checked the HCL for. So I cant see any compatability issues. We will be going with the Enterprise Plus licensing and so I can use Storage vMotion, albeit manually to provide some of the functionality lost by dropping the Equallogic in favour of the MD boxes.

Many thanks,

Paul

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AndreTheGiant
Immortal
Immortal

This kind of storage does not provide VAAI... but of course you can still use SIOC.

There isn't a plugin for it, so do not spend extra money for snapshot license Smiley Happy

And remember to upgrade the firmware at lastest version.

Andre

Andre | http://about.me/amauro | http://vinfrastructure.it/ | @Andrea_Mauro
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alexxdavid
Contributor
Contributor

Actually, the generation 3 firmware has been released for the md32xx series and it now supports VAAI 🙂

After the firmware upgrade, the storage hardware acceleration feature now shows supported where before it wasn't.

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