SANs in the Enterprise?



  • I'm interested to know what SANs everyone is using in their environment, and approximately how many users/servers/data is in that environment. I'm doing research for comparisons to an environment that I'm working in now with FreeNAS as the primary san in the enterprise.



  • @Grey said in SANs in the Enterprise?:

    I'm doing research for comparisons to an environment that I'm working in now with FreeNAS as the primary san in the enterprise.

    Ewe, yuck.



  • Zero - all data is local inside my VM servers.



  • Why do they have a FreeNAS server instead of a more normal NAS, like a Synology or ReadyNAS?

    What you need for storage normally has less to do with the number of users you have, and more to do with the workload that storage will be under.

    If you're looking for some suggestions, you might consider laying out the entire current environment (how many physical servers, how many VM servers, how many VMs, what those are all running, what applications are running in your environment, etc)

    Using that information we can start to make recommendations for you.



  • A SAN that I'd actually put in place would be along the lines of VNX/VNXe, 3PAR, or EMC VMAX. No, I've never actually deployed any of them. The biggest project along that sort of line I was involved with was back in the late 90s, and that was a NetApp, which was more than a bit of a flubbed project all around.



  • We use and are relatively happy with Nimble here.



  • The big thing that the OP should be considering is - do I need a SAN? Is my current SAN and IPOD (inverted pyramid of doom)? How much more expensive is my IT setup because I have a SAN and do I really gain anything from it?



  • We're in the process of deploying a Dell MD3820i SAN with self-encrypting drives. It will give us 18 TB usable once fully configured if memory serves and has 4 SSDs for caching. This is for a PEO headquartered in Dallas. We have around 60 employees and will end up having about 15 or so VMs in our cluster of two ESXi hosts (maybe slightly more VMs). This is only site # 1. I believe we will have this setup mirrored in our datacenter later this year and will eventually begin to host different things for clients.

    The SAN and other gear had been purchased already when I started here in early December.



  • @NetworkNerd said in SANs in the Enterprise?:

    We're in the process of deploying a Dell MD3820i SAN with self-encrypting drives. It will give us 18 TB usable once fully configured if memory serves and has 4 SSDs for caching. This is for a PEO headquartered in Dallas. We have around 60 employees and will end up having about 15 or so VMs in our cluster of two ESXi hosts (maybe slightly more VMs). This is only site # 1. I believe we will have this setup mirrored in our datacenter later this year and will eventually begin to host different things for clients.

    The SAN and other gear had been purchased already when I started here in early December.

    A MD even, at least it's not the MD2000 series, not that that is saying much.



  • @travisdh1 said in SANs in the Enterprise?:

    @Grey said in SANs in the Enterprise?:

    I'm doing research for comparisons to an environment that I'm working in now with FreeNAS as the primary san in the enterprise.

    Ewe, yuck.

    Yes, I'm trying to convince them to move away from that "investment" and it's so heavily ingrained, that I'm having trouble pulling the kool-aid out of their fridge even as it's killing them.



  • @travisdh1 said in SANs in the Enterprise?:

    @NetworkNerd said in SANs in the Enterprise?:

    We're in the process of deploying a Dell MD3820i SAN with self-encrypting drives. It will give us 18 TB usable once fully configured if memory serves and has 4 SSDs for caching. This is for a PEO headquartered in Dallas. We have around 60 employees and will end up having about 15 or so VMs in our cluster of two ESXi hosts (maybe slightly more VMs). This is only site # 1. I believe we will have this setup mirrored in our datacenter later this year and will eventually begin to host different things for clients.

    The SAN and other gear had been purchased already when I started here in early December.

    A MD even, at least it's not the MD2000 series, not that that is saying much.

    Yes, there's an MD2000 here with 2x FreeNAS augmenting them. 500 users. 126 VMs. See above about the kool-aid.



  • @Grey said in SANs in the Enterprise?:

    @travisdh1 said in SANs in the Enterprise?:

    @NetworkNerd said in SANs in the Enterprise?:

    We're in the process of deploying a Dell MD3820i SAN with self-encrypting drives. It will give us 18 TB usable once fully configured if memory serves and has 4 SSDs for caching. This is for a PEO headquartered in Dallas. We have around 60 employees and will end up having about 15 or so VMs in our cluster of two ESXi hosts (maybe slightly more VMs). This is only site # 1. I believe we will have this setup mirrored in our datacenter later this year and will eventually begin to host different things for clients.

    The SAN and other gear had been purchased already when I started here in early December.

    A MD even, at least it's not the MD2000 series, not that that is saying much.

    Yes, there's an MD2000 here with 2x FreeNAS augmenting them. 500 users. 126 VMs. See above about the kool-aid.

    Wow, I think you might need some heavyweight backup with this @grey!



  • A pair of Dell EqualLogics. 4 TB 15k SAS on one and 8 TB 7.2K SATA on the other. I call it manual disk tiering 😞 Housing Hyper-V CSV's for about 100 VM's. Most of the data is in Windows file servers for roughly 500 users.

    Luckily these are aging out soon - as will this architecture.



  • @TAHIN said in SANs in the Enterprise?:

    A pair of Dell EqualLogics. 4 TB 15k SAS on one and 8 TB 7.2K SATA on the other. I call it manual disk tiering 😞 Housing Hyper-V CSV's for about 100 VM's. Most of the data is in Windows file servers for roughly 500 users.

    Luckily these are aging out soon - as will this architecture.

    Are you gonna dance a jig on the corpses when they go away?



  • @travisdh1 you can count on that!



  • @Grey said in SANs in the Enterprise?:

    @travisdh1 said in SANs in the Enterprise?:

    @NetworkNerd said in SANs in the Enterprise?:

    We're in the process of deploying a Dell MD3820i SAN with self-encrypting drives. It will give us 18 TB usable once fully configured if memory serves and has 4 SSDs for caching. This is for a PEO headquartered in Dallas. We have around 60 employees and will end up having about 15 or so VMs in our cluster of two ESXi hosts (maybe slightly more VMs). This is only site # 1. I believe we will have this setup mirrored in our datacenter later this year and will eventually begin to host different things for clients.

    The SAN and other gear had been purchased already when I started here in early December.

    A MD even, at least it's not the MD2000 series, not that that is saying much.

    Yes, there's an MD2000 here with 2x FreeNAS augmenting them. 500 users. 126 VMs. See above about the kool-aid.

    OK, well, that's a sizable number of VMs, you might have a good reason to have a SAN. How many VM hosts do you have? How much VM storage do you have/need?



  • @TAHIN said in SANs in the Enterprise?:

    @travisdh1 you can count on that!

    My buddy takes the IT team to the farm, and they literally blast the old equipment to dust! Great way to bring a team together after a heavy project 🙂


  • Service Provider

    My (3) Dell Equallogics are now one big backup target. I'm running a HP MSA with tiered storage now. When I put it in we were running VMware Horizon (View). That environment is gone and so is my need for crazy IOPS.

    Next time around, it should be easy to convert to direct attached or a Scale system.



  • The corporate team has a few LeftHands but they are switching to NetApp. For our stuff, VMs are local and we use Isilon for our storage.



  • @Dashrender said in SANs in the Enterprise?:

    Zero - all data is local inside my VM servers.

    Ditto + several NAS



  • ZFS NAS appliance + 3 hosts in front. Next version will be mirrored local storage.



  • I would recommend looking at what StarWind Virtual SAN can do for you. This is a Windows native software that can be installed directly to the host and does not need to be an appliance, but still can be inside a VM if needed. Also with our software you can build a 2 node HyperConverged cluster (Windows/VMware/Xen) with highly available storage pull that supports SMB-direct and iSER. You can also take a look at HP VSA.



  • We use PURE storage for 90% of our VMs and Dell Compellent for cheap and deep and the rest. I believe we are on the SC9000, but I would actually have to look. Needless to say, it's got lots of storage, and we got lots of them.

    Currently sitting on ~6000VMs throughout all our datacenters. Not counting the 200+ we have internal to us.

    https://www.purestorage.com/products/flash-array-m/m10.html
    http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/storage-sc9000/pd



  • If you need a separate SAN than Nimble https://www.nimblestorage.com/technology-products/ is a good choice but it depends on deployment size. Directly attached storage is usually much faster because of lower latency. That is why we tend to use virtual SAN instead of traditional SAN for quite a while already. We are using VMware VSAN http://www.vmware.com/products/virtual-san.html for our ESX cluster and StarWind VSAN https://www.starwindsoftware.com/starwind-virtual-san for Hyper-V. Both are very good, however, we are going to replace VMware VSAN with StarWind too because of better performance and RDMA/iSER support.


  • Service Provider

    Only appliance SANs I would consider are the enterprise players: EMC, HPE 3PAR, HDS and Nimble. I worked for IBM and know that they don't trust their own gear, I don't know if their SANs fall into that category but I generally avoid IBM because I know how little they think of it themselves. If they don't eat their own dogfood you shouldn't either. But IBM is generally considered to be a player here. Outside of those, I would never consider anything less for a production SAN that is an appliance.


  • Service Provider

    Pure is a niche player and good, but less general purpose. For the right workload, they are very good.



  • Former EqualLogic customer quite happy with Nimble the past couple of years...

    It functions as storage for vSphere 5.5 and Essentials clusters plus virtualized storage for a few physical servers.


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