Tuesday, February 3, 2009

2009 SAN Project

I wrote earlier about investigations into a SAN solution for 2009 and then a bit later about the eventual decision. The summary of those two blogs is that numerous solutions exists and that commercial "boxed" solutions were not the right fit for my employer. My previous SAN was a linux based Thinkmate system loaded up with SATA drives and two 3ware controllers. It was great from a capacity standpoint, but despite any configuration adjustments, just could never provide adequate IO to support more than 5-6 VM's along with file serving - over iSCSI. It is also at the end of its warranty and Thinkmate does not offer warranty support past 3 years.

My new solution is as follows. Equipment is from Dell. A PE 2900 Racked as the storage controller. Yes it is a big box, but it offers 4 PCIe slots: (2) Perc 6E 512MB controllers, and (2) Dual port Nics. The box will run CentOS x64, NFS, and iSCSI. One MD1000 array shelf full of 15K SAS drives to host VM images, and another shelf of 15K SAS for various data volumes. VM's will be shared using NFS out to ESXi hosts. Use of NFS with VMWare is mature and will allow for backup of the VM's via the storage controller and some minor scripting - no special backup licenses, etc. VM's will run software iSCSI initiators when needing access to data LUNs sliced from the MD1000 "data" array. LAN, NFS, iSCSI are all separate networks, VLAN'd on 2 switches with each server having 2 connections to each network(one on each switch).

How does it work? Let's say I'm pleased with the results and completely comfortable with the decision versus a boxed all-in-one SAN solution. Link fail-over is beautiful, IOPs are fantastic, storage capacity is up.

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