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Hardware Thread, Do schools spend more money on back-end ICT than is necessary? in Technical; Originally Posted by psydii The Equallogic one. Meh, if I can put up with seeing RM advertising everywhere on here, ...
  1. #46

    glennda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psydii View Post
    The Equallogic one.

    Meh, if I can put up with seeing RM advertising everywhere on here, then you'll have to put up with me mentioning Viglen from time to time. Viglen Storage Group are pretty awesome and the solution works very well. We recently had a third party in to create a new VM for a bespoke app and they commented that our set up was textbook, making their job easy. You get what you ask for (just don't ask for too much - play your suppliers to their strengths and everybody is happy).

    On those who quite rightly say that you can run a large secondary on DAS (I have, it was good). Having a well specified, designed and supported SAN based VM infrastructure reduces my teams' time spent on infrastructure management, increasing time available to support front line staff. The real magic is in the backups though. VEEAM takes (nearly) all the hassle out of it - it also provides a ready made infrastructure for testing changes before making them to the live servers. It makes 'best practice' change control management not only possible - but easy, again delivering benefit directly to the end users (quicker changes, less downtime, improved skill and discipline in the back end team).

    Sometimes spending cash is not and expense but an investment.
    You wouldn't if you saw the mess me and @oxide54 had to clean up from (I essentially watched him 4 years ago but learnt a lot). You wouldn't go near them. Luckily I havn't had to deal with RM directly (apart from get software from them which took 4 weeks to give me a cd) so don't have a direct gripe.

    The Equallogic one is a client I am currently setting up in London. Its nice SAN to install as it does most of the work for you with its tie in's to VMware (essentially you install the module to Vcenter tell if you want a new datastore it creates a lun and maps it to all hosts for you). It also has a dedicated MPIO config which load balances the nics better. Its connected to 3 x HP DL380 G7's booting from SSD with 100GB ram both Dual 6 core Xeons. Its soon to be running 50 VDI desktops along with around 20 Servers. Sadly they could only afford the 1GB ISCSI model not the 10GBE which would have been nice!! Its replacing an ISCSI MSA2000 but they also have a Dot Hill for backups.

    I'm quite lucky thats the San of choice my boss recommends to clients. If they cannot afford that we tend to look towards OPEN-E on HP Hardware for ISCSI SANs.

  2. #47
    zag
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    Haven't read the whole thread but £30-60k for virtualization in a 1000 student school............ You have got to be kidding me !!!!??

    It cost us 6k in total to virtualize 16 servers. Our school has 900 students.

    You don't need outside companies to spec it up or massive SANS to store everything. I learned how to do it on this site in a few hours. virtualboy blog - Site Home - TechNet Blogs

    4 simple rack servers with 32gb of RAM and the hyper-v role installed will get you up and running in about a day.

    So in answer to the question, yes your spending too much.

  3. #48
    nicholab's Avatar
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    That is still only £33 pounds a student so you should have some money left.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    Haven't read the whole thread but £30-60k for virtualization in a 1000 student school............ You have got to be kidding me !!!!??
    Crikey, you won't like how much we spent then if you think £30-60k is too much :|

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    Sounds like the mess was there before you. I've found that any vendor working to a non technical spec with no/poor technical oversight will give a post-event technical reviewer the hebejeebies. If it involves their own bespoke software then it gets worse. Avoid these two elements and you get a good service.

    On costs: I know that if during the lifertime of the system my entire team walked, the school would not need to spend a single (unbudgeted for) penny keeping the servers, switches and wireless running until they found replacements, and then the replacements would have access to the techincal architects to bring them up to speed on how it was hung together. This with the benefits listed earlier for less than 1 years worth of the salary of a London NM. It all depends on the funding and strategic planning/vision of the school.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psydii View Post
    Sounds like the mess was there before you. I've found that any vendor working to a non technical spec with no/poor technical oversight will give a post-event technical reviewer the hebejeebies. If it involves their own bespoke software then it gets worse. Avoid these two elements and you get a good service.

    On costs: I know that if during the lifertime of the system my entire team walked, the school would not need to spend a single (unbudgeted for) penny keeping the servers, switches and wireless running until they found replacements, and then the replacements would have access to the techincal architects to bring them up to speed on how it was hung together. This with the benefits listed earlier for less than 1 years worth of the salary of a London NM. It all depends on the funding and strategic planning/vision of the school.
    Problem was before we got there it was Viglen completely in Charge - it was a fully managed service so you can only really blame ermm Viglen - there shoddy hardware desktop wise along with some very badly configured servers and Classlink....... enough said after that word!

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    Quote Originally Posted by glennda View Post
    Problem was before we got there it was Viglen completely in Charge - it was a fully managed service so you can only really blame ermm Viglen - there shoddy hardware desktop wise along with some very badly configured servers and Classlink....... enough said after that word!
    Reading the words Viglen and Classlink I feel your pain

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    Quote Originally Posted by gshaw View Post
    You have to wonder why HP are going so cheap on their SAN kit atm... is it the competition from the likes of the EMC VNXe eating into their market or are they trying to shift old stock before bringing out something newer in the near future? Guess that's the "joy" of IT... when do you jump
    I have a feeling they will bring out a MSA P2000 G4 to compliment the Gen 8 servers...I've got DL Gen 7s and don't mind grabbing some bargins and they all match in the Cab! :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrWu View Post
    I have a feeling they will bring out a MSA P2000 G4 to compliment the Gen 8 servers...I've got DL Gen 7s and don't mind grabbing some bargins and they all match in the Cab! :-)
    TBH the P2000 is a Dot Hill San rebadged. They are not compliant with VMware ESXI 5.0 hence why we no longer use them. As you are going Hyper-V you should be ok!

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    Quote Originally Posted by glennda View Post
    TBH the P2000 is a Dot Hill San rebadged. They are not compliant with VMware ESXI 5.0 hence why we no longer use them. As you are going Hyper-V you should be ok!
    We use an older MSA2012i with Hyper-V no problems, it does have its advantages when it comes to driver support.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    We use an older MSA2012i with Hyper-V no problems, it does have its advantages when it comes to driver support.
    Yup - i used to use the MSA2012FC with Linux but then Linux doesn't tend to mind what you throw at it! As said above the only reason i'm getting rid of the P2000 is to move to VMware 5.0

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    Quote Originally Posted by glennda View Post
    You wouldn't if you saw the mess me and @oxide54 had to clean up from (I essentially watched him 4 years ago but learnt a lot). You wouldn't go near them. Luckily I havn't had to deal with RM directly (apart from get software from them which took 4 weeks to give me a cd) so don't have a direct gripe.

    The Equallogic one is a client I am currently setting up in London. Its nice SAN to install as it does most of the work for you with its tie in's to VMware (essentially you install the module to Vcenter tell if you want a new datastore it creates a lun and maps it to all hosts for you). It also has a dedicated MPIO config which load balances the nics better. Its connected to 3 x HP DL380 G7's booting from SSD with 100GB ram both Dual 6 core Xeons. Its soon to be running 50 VDI desktops along with around 20 Servers. Sadly they could only afford the 1GB ISCSI model not the 10GBE which would have been nice!! Its replacing an ISCSI MSA2000 but they also have a Dot Hill for backups.

    I'm quite lucky thats the San of choice my boss recommends to clients. If they cannot afford that we tend to look towards OPEN-E on HP Hardware for ISCSI SANs.
    viglen phoned me up trying to flog me machines the other day, after rolling around on the floor and splitting my sides in laughter for around 10 minutes, I took great delight in telling them that the only way i would buy machines from them is if they changed their company name, all their staff, their location, and their business practices.

    +MSA 2000 is dot hill rebadged.
    Last edited by oxide54; 8th July 2012 at 10:54 AM.

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    The issue with SMT and ICT spend from a few years ago, is that back then it would have been the case that a commercial provider would have gone in
    and the budget would have been there to go to town on the switched infrastructure, expensive wifi, blade servers with good SAN backend, vmware with
    all the bells and whistles.

    these days money is tight, but where there are the budgets there are demands elsewhere (think whole school ICT demands) so that
    could be a desire to go bells and whistles on a VLE that SMT can see in action, or 1:1 device programs that SMT can see and get their heads around. Key issue is who is driving the ICT and what their specific points of interest are.

    Going back to SMT a couple years down the line from a major infrastructure spend is a hard sell. And here it does help to manage the realities of what your dealing with before getting carried away with technical specs that can easily escalate. These days commercial providers themselves are having to reign in what they spec, because they know the schools aren't going to allocate the budgets in that direction. And providers obviously have to make their margins.

    the reality is this, if you can't spend the money on redundant SAN with clustered servers, then make a best efforts approach to speccing something that gives you adequate performance and a DR strategy that you can recover from. Sub-second recovery can be costly, but is that really what you need ? based on a realistic assumption of what your budget is, how important Recovery time is over having a reliable backup plan. That sort of thing.

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    I'm looking at Virtualising the 28 servers here (they were here before me!) and consolidating several of them. The total cost for a Clustered HV Solution using SAS will be under 20k for a two node cluster with the abilty to add a third node.

    The maintenance budget for machines and software is roughly 60k oer annum, 30k of which is spent on desktops/laptops etc. Any other development is bid for and then replacements planned for (depending on the system, cost and maintenance)

    I see this as a 5 year spend cycle, with 20k needed each 5 years. All of the equipment is under extended 5 year warranty and so the maintenance cost is minimal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Ben View Post
    The total cost for a Clustered HV Solution using SAS will be under 20k for a two node cluster with the abilty to add a third node.
    Firstly, a two node cluster unfortunately whilst a good starting point rapidly looses credibility unless both nodes can assume the full load of its partner eg if each node is running 4 servers can Node 2 assume the running of the Node 1 VMs easily?
    This tends to mean that you over spec the first two nodes, when in reality its probably better to go for the 3 nodes in the first place.

    Secondly, can you elaborate on your chosen hardware and levels of redundancy to be achieved with a £20k budget?

    Low budget solutions always have a trade off of some kind, sometimes the features can be added later at additional cost, would your £20k include such items as Backup, De-Dupe, Replication and DR?

    Low cost and budget is good, but as already stated in this thread the demands and expectations of others can make £20k look incredibly small fry!

    I think @alltab 's post makes incredibly good sense, especially as we have already heard from someone who had the full redundant option and still managed to be down for a week!

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