Need recommendation on SAN/NAS solution.

By IT Generalist ·
I need recommendation on SAN array solution.
Recently, I have been working on a plan to consolidate our File and Application data storage which is spread across 22 servers as a DAS configuration, having collectively 1.3 TB of data. We will be reaching capacity on our aging File Servers soon so would need to start consolidating that first. Later, I would consolidate storage on our aging applications servers into the same SAN array. I have been studying the EMC Clariion AX4, EMC Celerra NS20, NetApp FAS 2000 series, HP MSA2000i and Dell/Equalogic PS5000 series. So far I have liked FAS2050 the best but need your opinion if you have any experience with these products. Here is my take on what I have learned so far and please correct me if I am wrong:

EMC Clariion AX4 - I think AX4 is pretty good SAN solution for SMBs but one thing that it lacks is support for NAS. If I picked this solution, I would have to connect a separate file server to be able to provide file server storage, which is what I am trying to eliminate. If it had NAS support, it may have been my choice, given its support for 64 hosts, iSCSI and plenty of storage for an affordable price. I wasn?t impressed with their sales people knowledge though and had to do lots of digging on my own to learn about this product. It was a challenge to even get a quote.

NetApp FAS2050 - This is the one that I liked the best so far. It integrates both, SAN and NAS. I could set it up as a primary and secondary storage for both block and file storage over Fibre Channel or Ethernet network. NetApp uses the same architecture, OS and system tools from entry level to high end models so it would make it easier to upgrade when we have out grown data limit on FAS2050, which I doubt we will anytime soon. 104TB of storage limit will last us many years to come. NetApp sales people and engineer were very knowledgeable and courteous in answering all of my questions, and I asked lots of questions so they very patient too. Few things that I didn?t like about this product were that NetApp makes you buy this system with 12 drives minimum. After inquiring about this caveat, I was told that NetApp does it to provide better performance and redundancy, using their WAFL file system and DP (double parity) RAID against double disk failure. So our initial cost would be higher. Number of host support is only limited to 32. Right now we only have 22 servers and don?t plan on installing more anytime soon so I think I could live with that for a while but would have liked the flexibility of adding more than 32 hosts. Also in the external shelf, it only supports FC or SATA drives, not SAS. FC drives are bit costly than SAS so would have liked SAS supported.

EMC Celerra NS20 ? This also comes with NAS and SAN integration. It doesn?t support SAS drives, only SATA and FC. EMC recommends that you start with FC drive because their OS gets loaded on the drives, to provide better performance where as on NetApp FAS2050 the OS is installed on NVRAM so it doesn?t matter whether you start with SATA, SAS or FC drives. It uses separate software called DART to provide NAS capability. It supports I think 128 hosts which should be plenty for any SMB. It lacks support for RAID 6 but double disk failures are rare so no big deal.

So far, I haven?t gotten the chance to study other products in much detail. Please let me know if anybody has experienced any of those products above and how has their experience been.


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Make the storage administration easy

by cmdux_consult In reply to Need recommendation on SA ...


We are using both 2050 (on a remote site, in another country) and 3020 and 3070 locally.
In the remote site with the 2050 (in cluster) the servers are entirely virtualized, and mirrored to our location. In case of disaster, the systems can be started form our site.
I?m pleased for the different tools and features, which the NetApp offer, to improve a storage administrator?s daily tasks.
Here I?m referring to the necessary procedures in every IT-environment, the backup.
With the help of snapshots (for tree majors systems: files, SQL or Exchange) is very integrated and useful.
But besides that, there are possibility to spare space ( deduplication technology), to mirror data to avoid down time in case of disaster and so on.
I rely recommend NetApp, especially for its intuitive and all most zero administration.

A NetApp evangelist, (but not a seller).

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