I now need to start planning the replacement of our main ESX cluster. Implementation will be around December time but it suddenly doesn't seem that far away.
Right now I have a pair of ESX hosts, single quad core Dell PE2950's with 24gb of RAM each with dual FC HBA's going through a pair of switches into a Dell/EMC AX4.
I have around 17tb raw storage on it right now and due to the fairly basic disk pool/virtual disk way the AX4 works there is some wastage, but as with any business we're only going to keep needing more storage.
We have a range of VM's ranging from our main file server, Microsoft SQL Server, Exchange Server as well as lots of smaller VM's for specific roles, WSUS, Antivirus, Print etc.
We're a big site with fiber everywhere, and our immediate "offsite" location is another building a couple of miles away with a 10gbps fibre link between the two.
Where I'd like to end up is with "smart" SAN level snapshots and replication between units at both ends of the fiber of either everything, or selected LUNs.
I don't need instant failover, what I would like is simply to be in a position where if one room gets wiped out I can get stuff up and running (not necessarily all of it) in the other location in a reasonable (not SLA'd) amount of time.
I'd really appreciate suggestions on what to look at replacing the main cluster/SAN with.
Right now my main contenders are Equallogic and the HP Lefthand P4000.
I would have added a comment but it didn't seem to let me type enough, so...
We use Exchange and SQL but the usage is pretty low. Currently we're on Exchange 2003 but in a few months I hope for us to be on Exchange 2010 so the storage IO requirements should drop quite a bit.
Right now we have a mix in the AX4 of 7.2k SATA and 10k and 15k SAS. The AX$ is our first SAN and our first exercise in using ESX and in all honesty I suspect I went a bit overboard on the disk specs.
Our busiest period is our backup window and I've been doing some measurements, admittedly rough, and it seems we see an average of around 1400 IOPS - as you say the main limitation there may be the NIC on our file server which is a 1gbps vNIC (the file server is a VM).
I hadn't thought to look in the switch GUI for performance metrics but I shall see what I can find (they are Brocade 200E's not rebadged or anything).
I do need to do some digging is into how the different products MPIO drivers work. My understanding with EQL is that it will open multiple connections even to the same iSCSI LUN - not sure if the LeftHand can do that or if "1 LUN = 1gbps maximum throughput"?
When the time does come (around December) we'll obviously be going with the lastest stable/supported vSphere release.
As for 10GigE I really do like the sound of that, however by the time you factor in redundancy I can't help but think it'll get really damned expensive and part of the issue here is that whilst we aren't trying to be cheap, I do have a limit on what I can spend.