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Hardware Thread, School Virtualization Project in Technical; Hello All, Just looking for a bit of guidance on a new project for our school. I currently work in ...
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    School Virtualization Project

    Hello All,

    Just looking for a bit of guidance on a new project for our school.

    I currently work in a High School with around 800-900 PC's, 15 Physical servers all running basically a single service each. The servers will be 5 years old in March and their warranty will be out, Dell are charging stupid amounts to carry on the warranty so we have decided to go for an upgrade instead.

    My current plan was;

    • 3 x Dell R710's (Dual Xeon Quad, 48GB RAM, 2x 4 Port Gb NIC, SD Card for ESXi)
    • SAN Storage for the VM's (For vMotion, HA etc) something like Dell MD3200i
    • VMware Essentials Plus Licence


    Im happy so far with quotes for the Host servers but the SAN is causing some issues, the Dell rep has quoted for the MD3200i which seems reasonable. However as far as im aware the SAN cannot replicate to another and is apprently not redundant itself?

    The SAN has Dual Controllers, Dual Power supplies and RAID, however the Dell rep said that the backplane is still a single point of failure. As the SAN cant replicate to anything else if it were to fail, we would loose every server!

    I have seen alot of people on here are using the SUN S7000 series SAN's which support replication but I have been unable to get a quote for anything from them.

    Can you guys advise on any SAN or way of making the infrastucture redundant?

    Regards Mark

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    The S7000 series is good, and I'd talk to the Cutter Project to get good pricing and great support. I've never been a big fan of the MD series of Dell SANs, although the Equallogic range is quite nice. As you've mentioned SAN replication is certainly the ultimate aim for alot of people to get a (theoretically) faultless system, but can be very expensive. One cheaper alternative would be to have a second smaller/cheaper SAN/NAS (NFS is great for hosting virtual hard disk images ) and to back the vmdks/vhd files up to that. It wouldn't give you up to the second realtime updates, but if combined with a snapshot aware backup system/script could give you hourly or so updates of the main servers you need to keep up without the massive cost of a second SAN.

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    Take a look at the HP 4000 series, this was known as Lefthand before being eaten up by HP. We looked at the Dell Equalogic, HP and EMC offerings. Both the Dell Equalogic and EMC offerings are of a more traditional variety, in that they require you to have a similar second SAN and mirroring setup, this obviously doubles your costs. HP use something which you could think of as RAID 10 where you purchase two boxes as part of the package and each are put into different locations, everything is actively mirrored.

    I think I've probably done an injustice to the technical merits of the HP solution, just hopefully given you a brief indication of the differences between solutions. It's worth speaking to all vendors to get all the low down on the technical merits of each solution. The HP solution is DR ready out of the box, so that would tick one of your criteria. Having said that there's a lot to like about the Equalogic range.

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    Dell have quoted around 7.5k for a MD3200i with 12 x 450GB 15K SAS drives (5.4TB), I would probably RAID10 this (2.7TB). Whats the ball park figure of a S7000 with roughly that storage, Im hoping alot less?

    I have looked at having another cheaper NAS/SAN for backups of the VMs but would really like to get this done alittle more 'neatly'.

    Could you provide some details on the 'Cutter Project'?

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    Quick reply - Very happy S7000 user (7410), using it as both NFS for VMware and CIFS for Windows clients. We're an 850 PC, 22 Server school so fairly similar to you, and planning to buy another S7120 at some point for replication.

    Cutter Project are excellent guys - Andy Trevor is on here as Linescanner, PM me if you want his details. Phil Lawrence from Oracle is also active on the forums and may post here too.

    The S7000 is very good value for money but I doubt it'll be cheaper than Dell. You're buying enterprise-grade Unified Storage that's up there with EMC and NetApp rather than the Dell consumer products (which there's nothing wrong with if they meet your needs).

    Can't type right now but I'm happy to talk, PM me a contact number if you'd like to chat, I can give you some ballpark prices too.

    Chris

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    laser402

    You are looking at 16-17k for the 7120

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    Quote Originally Posted by linescanner View Post
    laser402

    You are looking at 16-17k for the 7120
    Ouch!

    This is providing 12TB of Storage? Is the older 7110 still selling as that was more suited at my storage requirements.
    Last edited by laser402; 8th December 2010 at 05:50 PM.

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    zag
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    No way I would trust all my storage on a single SAN, no matter how many levels of RAID you have on it.

    Just get the Dell san and setup a replication script every weekend to copy the virtual servers to a backup share somewhere.

    I currently virtualize my servers to normal disks and use backupexec 2010 once a month to copy the servers to another hard disk.

    Seems to be full proof and cost about 700 quid

    I do like the idea of SANS but the cost far too much right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    Just get the Dell san and setup a replication script every weekend to copy the virtual servers to a backup share somewhere.
    This is a very viable option. I only want to make the decision once, just making sure its the right one! My niggle with the Dell SAN is that if I brought 2 of them I cannot replicate without a 3rd Party, If I were to buy a Sun/HP SAN I could budget for another next year and replicate properly between them. I have looked around on this forum at various Sun 7110's being used however they seem to have stopped selling them. I dont see the point spending 16-17K on the 7120 with 12TB of storage when I only require ~2TB.

    Does anyone know a good HP reseller for the P4000 Lefthand SANs?

    Our Dell Account manager will not even get back to me on a price for the Equallogic P4000 series

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    I think the equallogics are very expensive - I have a HP MSA 2000 and have no problems with it apart from one of the controllers died but we have autofailover to the second so no lose of service. Part was replaced 2 days after it failed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glennda View Post
    I think the equallogics are very expensive
    I can imagine they are. I havent even been able to get a quote off our account manager yet. Plus the base version only uses SATA disks

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    Just get the Dell san and setup a replication script every weekend to copy the virtual servers to a backup share somewhere.

    I currently virtualize my servers to normal disks and use backupexec 2010 once a month to copy the servers to another hard disk.
    What's your thoughts on week/month data loss times if you needed to restore the data - or are you doing a 'data' backup more regularly and just snapshotting the machines that often? I only ask because if I had lost more than 48 hours of data I know I'd be in a world of hurt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke View Post
    I only ask because if I had lost more than 48 hours of data I know I'd be in a world of hurt.
    My thoughts exactly, I cant imagine anyone being very happy with us without a network for more than a day if we lost the SAN, which is why im trying to find the best way to implement my setup. I assume the S7110 is not being sold anymore?

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    The S7120 is significantly better kit if there's any way you can justify it, and the 7110 is going end-of-life so it's probably not the best thing to invest in right now.

    I'll PM you some contacts you can try to see if anyone can source you a 7110 though.

    Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by laser402 View Post
    I can imagine they are. I havent even been able to get a quote off our account manager yet. Plus the base version only uses SATA disks
    I have been to a Virtualization seminar in which they where demonstrated - and we got to set one up took around 30 mins from start to finish including creating an aditional node for backup.

    Although this was 18months 2 years ago i think they where 20k plus but most probably have come down a lot since then

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