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I am a programmer and doesn't have a knowledge on SAN. My boss asked me to get a quotation of SAN from a vendor.

The vendor suggest the following setup for our SAN:

  1. File Server:DELL R310:X3430/8G/500GSATA*2
  2. FTP:DELLR310:X3430/8G/500GSATA*2
  3. BackUp Server:DELL R510:E5606/8G/2TBSATA*6
  4. SAN :DELL MD3200i: Dual Controller/2TB SATA*5
  5. FireWall:Hillstone SG-6000-G2120
  6. Backup Software:symantec BE

I don't want to challenge the expert through I have no knowledge on it. I am curious to know why we need a powerful Dell R510 2P server as our backup server.

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closed as too localized by Sven, Dan, Smudge, MDMarra, Ward Oct 8 '12 at 3:34

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This is a shopping question and therefore off-topic here (see our FAQ). Also, how should we know if and why you might need a specific type of machine for some only vaguely specified purpose? If you have given your vendor your specific requirements and don't rust him, get another quote from another vendor and maybe even a third one. – Sven Mar 14 '12 at 9:53
What are your requirements? Are you read or write intensive? How much data? Snapshots? Mirroring? DR? Fiber? How many clients? Retention for backups? Why a SAN rather than tape? You should really include more information, backups can vary from a CD in your bottom drawer to encrypted tapes sent to secure storage facilities. We have no idea what your requirements are, what you care about and what your limitations are. – Smudge Mar 14 '12 at 9:55
Hi SvenW, I think it is off-topic and naive question in this professional site. SAN is expensive, the above setup cost us US20,000+. I am going to modify my question to make it not look like a shopping question. Thx – Kuroro Mar 14 '12 at 9:59
Hi Sam, thank you for your comment. I will ask in more detail. Really, No idea how to ask. The worst case is no one know the requirement. – Kuroro Mar 14 '12 at 10:03
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I have some questions, some may be simply because English isn't your first language - you're good at it but it does raise a few questions.

Firstly all that kit isn't a SAN, it's a lot more than that, I suspect you've just provided more information than you absolutely needed to but that's not an issue, better than not enough information. I just wanted some confirmation that you don't think that all of that kit is the SAN right?

Then there's the issue of the server - now there's nothing wrong with that server, it's a good box and the fact that it's 2U isn't an issue, they're built that way so they can take 8 or even 12 of the larger 3.5" disks - so as a LOCAL disk-based backup system I have no concern. My worry is if you put both systems in the same location, with it being a disk-based non-removable backup you're opening yourself up to site-specific outages that affect both production AND backup. For instance what would happen if you had a fire or flood and both the SAN and backup server were in the same place, you're dead right?

That's why I'd suggest you either get a backup system with removable drives and/or tapes or alternatively put this server quite a distance away from the SAN and other servers so that a site-specific problem doesn't rob you of the option to restore your data elsewhere. Oh and you're unlikely to need a second processor for that backup server, you're right there but the physical chassis is fine.

There's also another issue - two really - I, and a lot of serverfault users, HATE RAID5 as shown in your SAN. We hate it for dull, math reasons but we still hate it and try really hard not to use it where we can, preferring R6 or R10. Like smoking, driving too fast and boob-jobs R5 seems like a good idea at the time but will come back to haunt you later, often at very great expense. Please try to use R6 or R10 ok, also are you sure that your workload will be fine using SATA disks? they don't handle lots of concurrent work anywhere near as well as SCSI based disks such as SAS ones, I know they're cheaper, and they probably make some sense in your backup server - but in your SAN they may well become a bottleneck and liability.

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Hi Chopper, thanks for your great guide. It can direct me to the right answer. – Kuroro Mar 14 '12 at 10:16

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