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I'm trying to figure out a SAN solution for my job. My boss suggested I look at Logic I/O cards as the storage medium (http://www.fusionio.com/), and DataCore's SANmelody (http://www.datacore.com/products/prod_SANmelody.asp).

Although I carry certifications in Linux as well as other degrees and certifications, SANs are brand new to me. My thought is that we get two servers (primary and secondary) with multiple PCI Express slots (the Logic I/O cards attach to PCI express), install and configure the SANs with the SANmelody software.

Any help is much appreciated. I'm brand new here otherwise I'd offer a bounty.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Conceptually, your ideas are correct. DataCore will work with any device that is capable of presenting block storage to the Windows 2008 Logical Device Manager and the specs for this product indicate that it can do so. Configuring SANs to meet your objectives can be tricky, so I would suggest seeking a DataCore partner to help advise you on the best practices in implementing this. Good luck with your project!

-Mike

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I have one concern with the combination of those two products - why buy a FusionIO drive that's capable of >200MBps which you'll then need to format into iSCSI packets and send out onto one or more 1/10Gbps NICs - basically your machine won't be able to keep up with the disk. I'd suggest you just buy larger, still very fast 10-15krpm disks and build them into a R1/10 array - it'll actually match your network IO bottleneck much better and save you a ton of cash.

I've known and tested the FusionIO drives for a long time now and although I love them to bits I've yet to find a really compelling reason to buy them for production use - which is a shame...

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If you're looking for a good starter iSCSI SAN solution I'd highly recommend using Intel or Broadcom based NICs that support HBA & iSOE, and an iSCSI appliance (though this is more a matter of preference).

I'd be very hesitant about using SSDs in a SAN solution. They haven't been tested in such a configuration extensively, and uptime is paramount in most SANs.

From my experience the #1 pitfall people get into is "that's too expensive" before they carefully evaluate the possibilities of downtime (which is inevitable) and how their solution mitigates failures. An iSCSI appliance like the HP MSA2000i or Dell MD3000i have great performance, and excellent warranties including 4 hour response. If the cost isn't justified, you should carefully consider what benefits the SAN provides in the first place.

Also, having a good sales rep from a reseller can help a lot when trying to find products to evaluate. Personally my sales rep at CDW has been excellent at listening to my requirements and providing choices to build a solution.

If you can list a few of your requirements (what the SAN will be serving for instance) it might help in making a recommendation. You haven't listed what this will be used for, so it's very hard to say if it's a good idea or not.

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The FusionIO cards boasts a faster throughput and higher reliability.

The host operating system sees them as a drive, and because of that a program like SANmelody will work.

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