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Storage appliance for vSphere

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  • Storage appliance for vSphere

    Hey All,

    I am looking to get a storage appliance to deploy vSphere.

    We have about 200 workstations and 30 servers, and we want to virtualize our servers. Performance requriements feets the midrange scale. About 5TB is needed (we done sizing).

    I looked at the NetApp 2020 appliance, which seems to fit my needs.

    1. I want to know your opinion, experience, suggestions with NetApp appliances for our size.

    2. Do you have any other brand, model to recommend?

    3. I have heard that mixing SAS and SATA disks is not recommended by NetApp. I wonder why it is not recommend to mix two types of disks - SAS and SATA for higher and lower cost data?

    4. I googled IBM N3300 and it seems to be FAS2020, are there any costs differences between the two?

    Any help will be appreciated.


  • #2
    Re: Storage appliance for vSphere

    I looked at the comparable HP Lefthand, and Dell Equalogic ranges to the FAS 2020 and bought the 2020's along with DS14MK4 shelves. On a level playing field you'll get cheaper pricing on the HP Lefthand gear, but Netapp can be had for less if you buy it through the right authorized resellers. Send me a PM and I'll point you in the right direction.

    Now with regards to your question re: sata/sas. It's fine to have a shelf of SATA or a shelf of SAS.. but either you end up with the shelf running at the speed of the slowest drives.. as in the slower sata or it won't work at all. I can't recall exactly what happens with Netapps boxes. It's controller related. Like with a SAS array if you've got 4 15k drives and 1 10k drive the array will drop to the performance of the 10k drive.

    I understand from a cost perspective with only a 5TB requirement you're tempted to do half the FAS2020 with SAS and half with SATA. It *MAY* be possible if there are two controllers and SAS is on one and SATA on the other. Ping your technical Netapp guy. Sales guy is not likely going to know. But anyhow. When you break down the drive requirements to maintain the RAID 6 array you'll see it doesn't do you much good for growth.
    RAID 6 needs two drives for the Dual Parity so assuming on the FAS2020 you can get a controller to handle six drives and another to handle the other six you top out at
    SAS 15K 4x450gb=1.8TB (+2x450gb reserved for DP)
    SATA 7200 4x1TB=4TB (+2x1TB reserved for DP)
    So you're just barely at 5.8 TB with no ability to grow. I'd recommend getting a six pack of the SAS drives in the filer head(FAS2020) and then getting another shelf with another six of the SATA. Also check to see if the 2TB SATA drives are available yet. Might make things easier. I'm assuming you've accounted for 20% reserved space for snapshots yes? Otherwise your 5TB estimate is out the window.

    I also recommend buying the packages for licensing. Massive savings vs their per unit pricing. You're also going to have to decide if you're running iSCSI or Fibre. You'll likely be fine on iSCSI and it's cheaper btw.

    Didn't bother with IBM because it wasn't cheaper, and support is first/second level IBM, and then Netapp. The last thing you want to be waiting on is a trouble ticket while your storage is down.

    Let me know if you've any questions.

    -Ravi Shanghavi, Ottawa


    • #3
      Re: Storage appliance for vSphere

      Just to add to Ravi's excellent post... With the HP Lefthand and Dell Equalogic units those are iSCSI only devices. So if fiber is one of your requirements keep that in mind.