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Hardware Thread, iSCSI in Technical; Hello, I'm hopefully looking at implementing an iSCSI Storage system within the school at some point this year. I would ...
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    iSCSI

    Hello,

    I'm hopefully looking at implementing an iSCSI Storage system within the school at some point this year. I would just like to know what sort of kit - i.e. Dell, Intel, EMC etc - and what they think of it mainly price, expandability and performance.

    I'm looking at either purchasing two units, one for SAS HDDs (for use by VMWare ESX Virtual Machines, Exchange Stores and Cluster Disks), and one for SATA HDDs (for User Areas's, Shared Documents, Disk Backups, VCD's and such like).

    If anybody does run VMWare ESX Server with iSCSI Targets I'd be interested in hearing about performance.

    Rob

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Re: iSCSI

    Personally, I would go with a Adaptec Snap Server - they take about 10 minutes to set up from new to being deployed in your SAN.

    Then they can just be connected to via whatever server you want, vai iSCSI.

    The model I have is a SnapServer 520 2TB (formatted size is about 1.4TB due to RAID/File System) and cost us about £2.5k IIRC (either that or £2.8k).

    If you go for the 650 model, it has SAS drives rather than SATA and can be expanded via its own expansion modules, or you coud just add more of them in the future.

    The performance of the SnapServer's is excellent from my experience.

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    Re: iSCSI

    Hi Rob,

    If you're looking at an iSCSI SAN, PS Series arrays from EqualLogic seem to be in a class by themselves. Not only does their array come with automatic load balancing, remote replication, snapshotting, and scale without any service disruption, it also can be out of the box, on the rack, and storing files in just 20 minutes! Try that trick with an EMC.

    I think InfoWorld recently said EqualLogic's 15,000 RPM SAS-based array was great for virtualization implementations.... It's certainly a solution worth taking a look at. I saw a WebEx of the product, and I was blown away at how easy it was to reconfigure and expand the array. It really is a self-managing, smart-storage solution.

    - John

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    Re: iSCSI

    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk
    Personally, I would go with a Adaptec Snap Server - they take about 10 minutes to set up from new to being deployed in your SAN.

    Then they can just be connected to via whatever server you want, vai iSCSI.
    Now I would never have considered the Snapserver Products because they were a crappy NAS based solution with it own bespoke NFS that could not be properly integrated with Windows Security models therefore was a waste of time unless you were using them for archive or backup storage.

    Are you saying that this new generation of Snapservers are an "Out of the box SAN solution" that is as easily integrated as plugging it into an iSCSI adaptor/switch/HBA and away we go?

    Maybe then I should revisit the Snap product range, because at that price they might fill a significant technology hole without breaking the schools IT budgets.


    On a different note:-
    Having seen several posts on this site recently from our US cousins...
    Whilst it's fantastic to have thier input into this forum I think it might be a little frustrating for some of the UK Techs that simply do not have the same level of access to the resources that US Schools seem to have.

    With the vast majority of UK Schools under tight control of the DFES and very little commercial money made available to them the US Schools will probably wipe the floor with the scalable solutions that they seem to be able to get thier hands on!

    It would make an excellent thread though!

    What about an Overseas Section that lets Edugeekers from outside of the UK tell us all how they do it and what challenges they face compared to ours!
    I know ICT Technician.com has a fair mix of members but lets face it this site has so far been definately UK biased, do we need to take Edugeek Global?
    Maybe they Sysops would like to consider this or would globalisation make Edugeek less effective?
    C'Mon Grumbledook, POLL IT - Should Edugeek stay with a UK Bias or go Global.

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    Re: iSCSI

    @minorpeace, you don't happen to work for equallogic, do you?

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    Re: iSCSI

    Quote Originally Posted by m25man
    Now I would never have considered the Snapserver Products because they were a crappy NAS based solution with it own bespoke NFS that could not be properly integrated with Windows Security models therefore was a waste of time unless you were using them for archive or backup storage.

    Are you saying that this new generation of Snapservers are an "Out of the box SAN solution" that is as easily integrated as plugging it into an iSCSI adaptor/switch/HBA and away we go?

    Maybe then I should revisit the Snap product range, because at that price they might fill a significant technology hole without breaking the schools IT budgets.
    Well, I'm not sure what you are used to but to set up the one I have all it took was:

    1. Create an iSCSI volume in the free space
    2. Connect to it from Windows
    3. Format it as NTFS

    Done.

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    Re: iSCSI

    Localzuk,

    I have an early version (pre adaptec - Maxtor I think) at one site, it has the Guardian OS but no iSCSI target support, it only has a 4 drive Raid 5 yeilding only 250Gb.

    I expect this was state of the art when it was installed 3 yrs ago.

    Your post has made me re-evaluate the Adaptec version and I have to say they are impressive.
    The SANbloc product looks extremly good value at £3000 with expansion upto 72 drives it has the sort of capabilities any school could use.

    Anybody got one?

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    Re: iSCSI

    Quote Originally Posted by beeswax
    @minorpeace, you don't happen to work for equallogic, do you?
    No, but I can see where you would think that. I admit it, I love their product. A 20-minute WebEx and I think you would see why I'm so jazzed up about their product.

    Cheers

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    Re: iSCSI

    I have just installed a Dell (EMC) 150i array with 2TB of SAS storage. It was a bit of a pain to setup (Dell will set it up for you as part of the cost IIRC, but I was off sick when the offered). The array works great once you have come to terms with the fact the setup documentation leaves a lot to be desired and there are some glaring omissions in vital information you need to know.
    Anyway, its fast, stable and (now) easy to manage.

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    Re: iSCSI

    @Dos_Box => EqualLogic setup is dirt simple, but you're right, once an array is up and running, they all run pretty smoothly. I'm always amazed that EqualLogic needs 5 minutes of planned downtime each year. I didn't think that kind of uptime was reasonable, but these SANs manage themselves.

    I feel bad for the tech guys that spend weekends in the server room trying to handle storage projects. The boss should spring for a SAN.

    Did snapshots and remote replication come with the EMC? I'm told that EMC requires customers to pay extra for the software for these features, and even have additional support contracts for each. Those features come standard with EqualLogic.

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