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    Experiences with the Dell/EMC AX150i  or CX300i

    Kevan Enthusiast



      Thank you to all the replies in my last post regarding setting up a ESX VM Environment for a maximum of 20 virtual Servers.


      As we have always been a Dell shop I am being pushed in their direction and have been quoted for a Dell/EMC AX150i and a CX300i.


      From the perspective of total Disk space I can not see us getting anywhere near the AX150i maximum of 6TB so logic says that this should do for us.  However I am told that the CX300i will give us an infinitely better performance because of it's fiber channel architecture.


      Have forum members had good a experience with these SAN's.  Should we opt for the faster CX300i? or will the AX150i be perfectly OK for what we want to do?  Or should I really look out side of Dell/EMC at the Equallogic Iscsi SAN's which I can see from these forums are very popular.


      Driving some of this is the fact that ideally we would like to get everything from one shop.  However it has to be right and if people consider that the Dell products are not right I would appreciate there comments so as we can make an informed decision.


      Another determining factor in our choice of SAN will be that we intend to use some of its available storage to migrate about 750GB worth of Department and user data from an old PowerEdge 740 NAS box that is currently our Primary file server.


      We will also use some more space for a SQL database.  However the SQL database is not particularly busy.


      All comments and suggestions appreciated.  I am quiet new to this and still getting to grips with what I need to do.



        • 1. Re: Experiences with the Dell/EMC AX150i  or CX300i
          TomHowarth Guru
          User ModeratorsvExpert



          I have just installed a CX300i at a client site, I can say I am quite impressed with preformance,  the Client was warned away from the AX150i as they stated it would have preformance issues so I can not comment on that particular product.


          My only real gripe regarding the EMC/Dell Storage is that you loose a lot of space on the first 6 drives as they install their OS in a striped partition.

          • 2. Re: Experiences with the Dell/EMC AX150i  or CX300i
            femialpha Hot Shot

            I have the AX150i but it was a compromise purchase for our pilot.  I would not recommend it unless you are really cash strapped.  It is reliable but performance is on the low end and it is not scalable.  The bigger clariions like the CX300 or the newer CX3-20 are goog performing devices but are much more complicated to manage when compared with Equallogic. 


            If you have the fibre infrastructure already and in-house expertise, the clariion is probably a good idea but if you are starting your SAN infrastructure from scratch, i will recommend you take a good look at iSCSI solutions like Equallogic.  They perform well and are so easy to manage that a 'cave man could do it'.

            • 3. Re: Experiences with the Dell/EMC AX150i  or CX300i
              christianZ Virtuoso



              When you haven't any fc san infrastructure yet the iscsi wiil be the better choice for you - iscsi infrastructure is simpler and more inexpensive as fc.


              Add. the Equallogic administration is very intuitive  and all licences are included (r/w snapshots, volume cloning, replication, etc.).


              When you expanding you can always manage your Eql als one virtual storage (but expanding is only possible with full boxes).


              I would preffer the iscsi hba (for esx) but for starting you can use the esx sofware iscsi initiator with nics too.


              ... and many guys here are working on EQL (myself too).




              One iexpensive alternative to ax150 could be the Siemens box, FirbreCat sx 60/80 with sata/sas.

              • 4. Re: Experiences with the Dell/EMC AX150i  or CX300i
                acr Virtuoso

                Look closely at Equallogics offerrings..


                Exceptional iSCSI box, for raw I/O very impressive performance figures..


                They used the same independant testing company as EMC use, and beat quite a few of there FC Boxes... They stripe the RAID across all of the disk so get very good I/O..


                Every vendor has there pluses and minuses.. For me the the biggest win with Equallogics is that when you decide to scale your virtualization estate and start making use of DR, these boxes replicate to each other, or Clone, Snap, replicate etc.. For no extra charge..


                Every other vendor will charge you for licensing on every feature you want to use...


                well thats my 0.02p..

                • 5. Re: Experiences with the Dell/EMC AX150i  or CX300i
                  TomHowarth Guru
                  vExpertUser Moderators

                  That's useful info Tony, Cheers

                  • 6. Re: Experiences with the Dell/EMC AX150i  or CX300i
                    Kevan Enthusiast

                    Thanks for all your replies so far.  As we have no existing FC infrastructure if we were to decide on the larger of the 2 Dell/EMC options it would be the iSCSI version the CX300i not the fiber Chanel CX300. 


                    If anyone has anything further to add I would be pleased to hear it.



                    • 7. Re: Experiences with the Dell/EMC AX150i  or CX300i
                      nolent Enthusiast

                      Also dont discount HP's offerings. I would take a HP EVA6000 over any of the iscsi offerings any day. The EVA's tend to be a little cheaper than the EMC offerings, and IMHO perform pretty well.

                      • 8. Re: Experiences with the Dell/EMC AX150i  or CX300i
                        CoreyIT Hot Shot

                        I will add my 2 cents in here since I have used many of the products mentioned. If looking for at any of the newer Dell/EMC mid-level SAN's then you should be considering the cx3-20, which is a combination of iscsi and 4gb FC. The cx300i is  an older model and is being phased out. The ax150i will likely not provide the performance you are looking for. We have two for development purposes and an eva 3000 for production.


                        The thing with equallogic, its great hardware and all BUT the biggest limiting factor is it comes fully loaded with disks. The p300 SATA based unit for example maxes out at 7tb raw, thats maybe 5.5tb usable. Also consider the fact that because its maxed out and equallogic only sells these units either half full or completly full you are paying full price for another unit if you need to expand in the future. This in comparison to other SANs that you can grow and scale as your needs dictate. However all licensing is included, as others have mentioned. If you were looking for a SAN purely for a virtualization environment then an Equallogic would probably be a smart move but if you are concerned or interested in using your SAN for backup-to-disk, data archiving, email, sql databses, etc then you are going to be limited in space and performance without spanning units.


                        We ourselves are looking at adding a new cx3-20 ourselves so we can continue to add more capacity as we grow.

                        • 9. Re: Experiences with the Dell/EMC AX150i  or CX300i
                          wcrahen Expert

                          The CX300 will be around for awhile, no official phase out announced. The CX3-20 is higher-end and doesn't compare to the AX, however EMC announced the CX3-10, which is a great SAN with the lower costs.

                          • 10. Re: Experiences with the Dell/EMC AX150i  or CX300i
                            CoreyIT Hot Shot

                            the cx-300 will be entering end of life cycle starting end of summer this year.

                            1 person found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: Experiences with the Dell/EMC AX150i  or CX300i
                              pteeling Novice



                              You may want to consider the CX3-10c, the latest addition in the EMC Ultrascale series. It is a box that has both FC and iSCSI connections, however the architecture is full FC4. Pricing is about the same as the CX300, which is the older model. Performance is stunning and it will keep on running when you want to make snapshots etc. Something other systems tend to have problems with....

                              1 person found this helpful
                              • 12. Re: Experiences with the Dell/EMC AX150i  or CX300i
                                christianZ Virtuoso

                                AFAIK exact the EMC boxes were those they had performance degradation after a few snapshots because they make "copy on write" (see here:



                                As once acr said - many vendors have modified their boxes to run with iscsi - but the Equallogic runs only iscsi from beginning !

                                • 13. Re: Experiences with the Dell/EMC AX150i  or CX300i
                                  doubleH Expert

                                  if you expand an equallogic solution you not only get the additional storage, BUT additional performance as well which you don't get with other solutions.  with equallogic you get additional controllers and thus even better performance.

                                  • 14. Re: Experiences with the Dell/EMC AX150i  or CX300i
                                    CoreyIT Hot Shot

                                    Im not debating what you have just said, because truthfully you are correct in your statements. However we found (because we demo'd one from our Ontario supplier) the cost justification isn't there. Because 7TB raw on the PS300e (maybe 5-5.5 usable) would not have lasted us long we would have been forced to pay full price for another entire unit for the added capacity, improved performance or not.


                                    \*We* are instead looking at robust systems that are good performers right from the start AND are scalable as \*our* requirements dictate. As mentioned, I am not debating the performance or quality of the Equallogic systems but I have noticed some customers do not take these limitations into account. So of course they wouldnt be a fit for every company and their needs, but they sure do well for intended purposes. Providing a solid performing iSCSI implementation, with easy administration and effective licensing.


                                    I agree the EMC CX-10 is worth having a look at as well.

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