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  • cheapest SAN possible?

    I need to create the least expensive SAN possible to test VMware ESX server.

    - This would consist of 3 PC's with fibre cards (predicable price)
    - fibre switch
    - fibre storage array

    Now I have seen that datacore's SAN storage virtualization sw can turn a regular PC / server into a SAN storage array. All you have to do is add a fibre card and you have a fibre SAN storage array.

    Say that I did that, what about the switch? What is the smallest lowest cost fibre switch in existance? And what about cheap cards that are still supported by ESX? What are the least expensive single ported cards you can get?

    And this doesn't have to apply to VMware only - this same SAN could, of course, be used by someone who wanted to test & train on Windows Server SAN configuration.

    If anyone has suggestions, please let me know!

    Thanks,
    David Davis - Petri Forums Moderator & Video Training Author
    Train Signal - The Global Leader in IT Video Training
    TrainSignalTraining.com - Free IT Training Products
    Personal Websites: HappyRouter.com & VMwareVideos.com

  • #2
    Re: cheapest SAN possible?

    what is the desired speed for the fiber channels?

    if you need ports with a 4 gig connection, then things do get a little steep.

    if you can get by with a switch that has 1 gig ports, then you could find several refurbs for under $500...

    since your looking to go low cost, what is the possibility that you could use a fiber channel arbitrated loop hub? your set up sounds like a candidate for something simple like that... you could pick up a new HP fiber hub for less than a 1k. (HP StorageWorks MSA HUB 2/3 Hub )

    but if you need the 4 gig ports and 10 gig backplane, than your gonna have to shell out a buttload of cash...

    my cisco MDS 9216i was over 75 grand, and they are redundant on both sides, total of 4--> 300K!!

    ***EDIT***

    while i was looking around, i saw this and just wanted to put it in for SAN fodder... maybe something you can gain by taking a look:
    http://www.las-solanas.com/storage_v...dell_pe840.php
    Last edited by James Haynes; 4th September 2007, 17:02. Reason: added link...
    its easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission.
    Give karma where karma is due...

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    • #3
      Re: cheapest SAN possible?

      Hi James,

      Thanks for your response on this! Very helpful!

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you as I was on vacation.

      That was a good link about building an iSCSI SAN with datacore - Thanks.

      So I know that I can use datacore or open filer (open source iscsi) to create an iscsi SAN server.

      What I am really wanting to find out is how cheap I can built a real fibre SAN. I don't care about the speed, even if it is only 1GB. I will look at the loop hub. Yes, that is the type of thing I am interested in. I will also look on ebay.

      If you have any other suggestions, please let me know!

      Thanks,
      David Davis - Petri Forums Moderator & Video Training Author
      Train Signal - The Global Leader in IT Video Training
      TrainSignalTraining.com - Free IT Training Products
      Personal Websites: HappyRouter.com & VMwareVideos.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: cheapest SAN possible?

        Hi James

        So i am looking at this HP hub you mentioned-
        http://h18006.www1.hp.com/storage/di...000/index.html

        Say that I bought this and had 3 PC's with fibre cards.

        Say that 1 was running SAN Melody, emulating a fibre SAN server.

        The other 2 were running VMware ESX Server, using the SAN server as their storage.

        Does all that sound doable?

        I would just need-
        1 HP fibre hub
        3 PCs
        3 fibre cards
        SAN melody sw
        David Davis - Petri Forums Moderator & Video Training Author
        Train Signal - The Global Leader in IT Video Training
        TrainSignalTraining.com - Free IT Training Products
        Personal Websites: HappyRouter.com & VMwareVideos.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: cheapest SAN possible?

          cool. im glad you posted back, cause i thought this was a fairly interesting topic...

          i was walking out the door, but i will give a more detailed reply later after i get back from the doctors office.

          i think its alot more possible than one would think... you can pick up an Emulex FC-PCI (LightPulseTM LP7000) for about $50 a piece. so you need one for each server, no biggie. its features look more than suitable:

          LightPulseTM LP7000 Fibre Channel PCI Host Bus Adapters deliver exceptional performance through the use of Emulex's Superfly ASIC, a 266 MIPS on-board processor and high-speed buffer memory. The LP7000 features a 32-bit PCI interface and includes sophisticated capabilities such as full-duplex data transfers, full fabric support, parity protection and large data buffers. The LP7000 delivers sustained performance in excess of 25,000 I/Os per second and throughput of 200MB/s from a single adapter running full-duplex. The LP7000 delivers point-to-point, arbitrated loop and switch fabric connections as well as both Class 2 and 3 frame formats. Support for both copper and fiber optic cabling is provided through standard GLM interfaces. Simultaneous full duplex fibre channel 1.0625 Gb/s transfers.
          past that, you would need some type of host to run the shabang. im not familiar with OS's that do this, but im sure there are plenty of them. i mean, my MDS has the cisco director software to manage the SAN, which is an OS in itself....

          yeah, this is a really cool topic and ill hit ya back with some more later...
          its easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission.
          Give karma where karma is due...

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: cheapest SAN possible?

            Hi James

            Thanks for the info on Emulex. I will check out their cards.

            I was thinking of using San Melody by Datacore as my "SAN OS" on my fibre storage server.

            However, I would love to find a similar app that would provide a SAN fibre storage server for less money (or free, like open source). I know that there is openfiler but I am not sure if it does fibre SANs or only iSCSI.

            Yes, this is an interesting topic. I appreciate your help!

            Thanks,
            David Davis - Petri Forums Moderator & Video Training Author
            Train Signal - The Global Leader in IT Video Training
            TrainSignalTraining.com - Free IT Training Products
            Personal Websites: HappyRouter.com & VMwareVideos.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: cheapest SAN possible?

              Hi James

              You mentioned this-
              Emulex FC-PCI (LightPulseTM LP7000) for about $50 a piece
              I am asking my used hardware vendor for quotes on emulex fibre cards and he says that they are all about $500.

              Any tips on where I can get these for about $50? Maybe I am asking him for the wrong part.

              Please let me know

              Thanks!
              David Davis - Petri Forums Moderator & Video Training Author
              Train Signal - The Global Leader in IT Video Training
              TrainSignalTraining.com - Free IT Training Products
              Personal Websites: HappyRouter.com & VMwareVideos.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: cheapest SAN possible?

                holy $h|+!! that is pretty steep...

                i ran a quick search when i saw the add and i knew it was a good price, but i had no clue it was that good!

                is it kosher to post vendor links? well, here is where i found them for that price...

                h++p://www.alancomputech.com/lp7000-t1.html

                maybe im not looking at the right part or something.
                its easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission.
                Give karma where karma is due...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: cheapest SAN possible?

                  Is it possible there are 2 pricing components in play here: the hardware cost + the SAN license? I seem to recall this for a customer of mine overseas when I talked him into EM64T servers w/ a SAN over Itanium w/ local storage. I found HBA prices in the USA far lower than he was quoted "over there" but his included the seat license to connect. That was some time ago and I'm not up to searching my PSTs for the email tonight.
                  Cheers,

                  Rick

                  ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points sigpic where appropriate **

                  2006-2099 R Valstar. This post is offered "as is" for discussion purposes only with no express or implied warranty of any kind including, but not limited to, correctness or fitness for use. Nothing herein shall be construed as advice. Attempting any activity based on information in this post is done at your own risk.

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                  • #10
                    Re: cheapest SAN possible?

                    James - thanks for the link. I think these may be so inexpensive because they are 1GB cards. Still - I appreciate it.

                    After all this research, I feel that I could create a 3 system FC SAN for about $2000 with this cost breakdown-
                    3 FC cards @ $150 = $450
                    San Melody FC SAN controller SW = $1000
                    6 port 2GB SAN switch = $500
                    FC cables

                    Still, after some more research, I feel that I can really do every Vmware feature I need to do, in my test lab, using iSCSI (as far as I can tell at least). For that reason, I am going to hold off on buying this and try iSCSI first. I know it won't have the same performance but that isn't what I am after.

                    rvalstar - thanks for your comment on this. I haven't heard of licenses for SAN card but you may be correct. I did run into "SAN licenses" on my IBM SAN in the form of my SAN controller has a license for ever disk partition created and my mcdata SAN switch has a license for every 8 group of FC ports that are activated.

                    Thanks to all!
                    David Davis - Petri Forums Moderator & Video Training Author
                    Train Signal - The Global Leader in IT Video Training
                    TrainSignalTraining.com - Free IT Training Products
                    Personal Websites: HappyRouter.com & VMwareVideos.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: cheapest SAN possible?

                      Originally posted by James Haynes View Post
                      !

                      is it kosher to post vendor links? well, here is where i found them for that price...

                      h++p://www.alancomputech.com/lp7000-t1.html
                      That way of posting a "link" you are not sure about posting is quite ok as it doesn't really link. If it doesn't meet the site's link criteria there is no harm done and it can easily be removed.

                      Thank you for using your smarts in posting it that way. It is appreciated.
                      1 1 was a racehorse.
                      2 2 was 1 2.
                      1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
                      2 2 1 1 2

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                      • #12
                        Re: cheapest SAN possible?

                        Let's say that I go with an iSCSI SAN instead of a true FC SAN and use that iwth VMware ESX & the Virtual Center suite.

                        Do I loose any functionality by not using FC and using iSCSI instead?

                        Of course, I know that it will be slower performance and I won't have the network redundancies that a couple of FC switches could provide.

                        Still - am I losing any functionality from ESX or VC?

                        For example will VCB not work? Will VMotion not work or anything like that?

                        Thanks!
                        David Davis - Petri Forums Moderator & Video Training Author
                        Train Signal - The Global Leader in IT Video Training
                        TrainSignalTraining.com - Free IT Training Products
                        Personal Websites: HappyRouter.com & VMwareVideos.com

                        Comment

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