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Hardware Thread, Storage? in Technical; I'd never spend 10's of thousands on storage, that would be a waste - there's no need. There are plenty ...
  1. #16

    localzuk's Avatar
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    I'd never spend 10's of thousands on storage, that would be a waste - there's no need.

    There are plenty or perfectly suitable SAN solutions for schools of all sizes, without ending up in the price range you're talking of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    Sure that may affect the times - but if logon is 2 seconds slower or a large avi takes 8 seconds to copy rather than 12, then is the cost justified? It also may not affect end user times at all at some points if they are on 100Mbs links and there is little contention for the storage. My perception is that some schools are spending tens of thousands on storage that sure is fast, but is then underutilised and poor value. Contention for funds generally more demanding than contention for 100MBs resources. "We bought the best we could afford" is poor value if the best that you could afford is much more than you ever needed.
    You're not considering expandability and longevity; in the context of the original post the OP is already considering replacing the existing array after 3yrs. I don't think the money we spent on FC was a waste if I can expand nearly double the amount of virtual machines than I could on iscsi. disk access time is a real bottleneck for both operating systems and remote filesystems. Clearly we're saving money on other aspects of our network (thin clients, cloud applications etc) but it makes sense to me to put the resources in where the bottlenecks are likely to be - and I think disk access time is important, especially where there is a lot of virtualisation.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    For me, the system we have is entirely 3 years old, as it was a managed BSF contract until a few months ago. So, what we have wasn't implemented according to the school's design from what I can tell - hence us having 4 dedicated DCs.

    So, what I'm looking at is taking the large rack full of stuff and getting rid of stuff that is not needed, and moving to a system that is going to last and be sustainable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    I'd never spend 10's of thousands on storage, that would be a waste - there's no need.

    There are plenty or perfectly suitable SAN solutions for schools of all sizes, without ending up in the price range you're talking of.
    What has ending up in a particular 'price range' got to do with it?! The equipment is either up to the job or it is not. If equipment is up to the job, how could it possibly be too cheap to consider?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    What has ending up in a particular 'price range' got to do with it?! The equipment is either up to the job or it is not. If equipment is up to the job, how could it possibly be too cheap to consider?
    You asked if spending 10's of thousands to improve file opening/login times by 33% was cost effective. I say no. However, I also say that there is no need to spend that much money to do the task, when it can be achieved in a very reasonable budget. Context is important here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    You're not considering expandability and longevity; in the context of the original post the OP is already considering replacing the existing array after 3yrs. I don't think the money we spent on FC was a waste if I can expand nearly double the amount of virtual machines than I could on iscsi. disk access time is a real bottleneck for both operating systems and remote filesystems. Clearly we're saving money on other aspects of our network (thin clients, cloud applications etc) but it makes sense to me to put the resources in where the bottlenecks are likely to be - and I think disk access time is important, especially where there is a lot of virtualisation.
    All I have said is that my perception is that a lot of schools are spending a lot of money, sometimes on very expensive SAN equipment, and that in many cases I believe that to be overkill for what they need. It's all very well running benchmarks on kit to see what it CAN do, but the real question is what IS (or WILL) it be asked to do and what performance do you then need to meet that need. As for longevity - the example here is that kit purchased three years ago is looking to be replaced simply because the continued maintenance is approaching the cost of replacement. There is so little longevity in IT kit that buying now to meet needs you might have in even two years time, is a mugs game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    All I have said is that my perception is that a lot of schools are spending a lot of money, sometimes on very expensive SAN equipment, and that in many cases I believe that to be overkill for what they need. It's all very well running benchmarks on kit to see what it CAN do, but the real question is what IS (or WILL) it be asked to do and what performance do you then need to meet that need. As for longevity - the example here is that kit purchased three years ago is looking to be replaced simply because the continued maintenance is approaching the cost of replacement. There is so little longevity in IT kit that buying now to meet needs you might have in even two years time, is a mugs game.
    My issue is down to a lack of long term planning by the managed provider and the BSF LEP. I'd've been looking at a 5 year warranty off the bat with any system originally, and would've been putting a virtualised system in 3 years ago anyway! Both those things would've provided a much more sustainable solution than was implemented, not to mention a cheaper one!

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    There is so little longevity in IT kit that buying now to meet needs you might have in even two years time, is a mugs game.
    ?? when I buy server/network hardware I think with capacity planning in mind, its basic ITIL. We bought a DS3400 3yrs ago with a projected lifetime of 5yrs. In that time we've loaded it with all manor of servers including citrix terminal servers which are processor heavy (bear in mind iscsi also has a processor overhead ; which would have slowed down our server processing power, and available network bandwidth - meaning we could have needed another physical server, and dedicated iscsi switch to compensate). knowing that our SAN will easily meet our capacity demands for another 2 yrs and possibly further (I pay an annual maintenance fee) means that I don't need to worry about replacing it any time soon (saving considerable time). Sure there is no point in buying something you don't need, but planning ahead isn't a mugs game.

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    I didn't say that planning ahead is a mugs game. In some cases, and I think it's valid on storage, the life of the technology is relatively short and the market moves very quickly. That means that the very act of planning ahead might suggest that buying kit now that will still meet the needs in 4 years is going to be much more expensive than buying cheaper kit which will only serve for a couple of years but by the time you do replace it, you get better than twice the bang for your buck or (usually) more.

  10. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    We currently have a Dell MD1000 DAS array with 15 x 1TB SAS drives in it, connected to a Perc 5/E controller in our file server, and it is now 3 years old, and therefore out of warranty.

    We have 2 options - extend the warranty for 2 years, at a cost of about £3k or come up with something else which is more cost effective.

    My thinking here would be to start my way down the SAN route.

    Problem is, our core switch is very short on capacity and we won't be upgrading that for some time, so I was thinking of a Fibre Channel array, direct connected to an FC controller in the storage server for now, then in the future expanding that to more devices via an FC switch.

    If I were to suggest this route, what devices should I be looking at? Or do others have a more suitable suggestion?
    Hi,

    My suggestion here would be to use ISCSI but still directly connect it to the storage sever for the time being.
    When you are ready you can replace your core switch and VLAN the ISCSI traffic off to give a dedicated Storage broadcast domain LAN
    This will give you the same sort of dedicated fabric that you would get with FC (albeit not as fast)
    You are unlikely to need FC below a user count of 500 seats
    Iíve seen 2000 seat implementations of ISCSI work very well.

    However, having said that you could buy an Array which supports both FC and ISCSI on the controllers
    In a joint venture between Huawei (27Bn dollar Chinese telco provider) and Symantec, they make one (2600) which has twice the number of front end ports you would normally find on a small SAN (4 FC and 4 GbE per controller) it also has a SAS backplane which is faster than the standard 4Gbps FC loops you normally get.
    Its supports snapshots / replication, mixed disk (SAS and SATA) and is VERY cost effective.
    If you bought a similar array from EMC or Ntap it would cost you 50k
    You can have 20TBs RAW with dual controllers and 3yrs support for sub 16k with the 2600
    We use several of these in our private cloud to run our VMs and theyíre superb


    Itís an entry level Enterprise SAN array, which will scale to 96 drives and can support both file (SATA) and transactional (SAS) workloads concurrently.

    The overland array like similar Netgear or Q is really just an expensive SOHO product,
    Its not something you would ideally want to rely on as a core foundation to critical systems in a corporate office environment



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