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I want to know what SAN solutions do the most people use.

It can be something preconfigured from storage vendors (EMC CLARiiON, HP EVA, HP Modular Smart Array) or custom-built systems running OpenFiler, NexentaStor, OpenSolaris Storage, StarWind Server, etc.

Thanks in advance.

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10 Answers 10

We have two Dell Equallogic PS6000. One is our master SAN replicating to another unit in a different part of the building. Especially the integration with Citrix XenServer (Volume creation, snapshots, Thin-Provisioning, Desaster-Recovery) caught our interest.

Those are very nice pieces of hardware. You get dual power-supplies, dual-controllers (firmware upgrades without downtime!), each controller has 4 gigabit Ethernet connections, a webbased platform-independent management, SNMP, replication, stackability (up to twelve? units, doesn't need to be the same models), SATA, SAS or SSD drives (hot-swappable), different RAID-levels (including RAID6) ...

Our service-plan is 24x7x4 and the units have a phone-home feature (which can be turned off), which alerts Dell/Equallogic in case a drive is failing.

Only drawback (apart from the price) which we encountered is snapshots not being replicated from one unit to another. Other than that, we are extremely satisfied with performance, reliability and usability.

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Ive tested FreeNAS and Open-E. Now Im using StarWind. I'm fully satisfied with their product and service.

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If you want to pay for manual $60 - use Openfiler. My storage is <2TB, so I`m using StarWind Free.

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We've currently got:

  • HP Lefthand P4500 (2 nodes)
  • NetApp FAS270c (which the HP Lefthand replaced)

Looked at FalconStor, Compellent, HP Eva, EMC and a bigger NetApp before going for the Lefthand, which did most of what the NetApp/EMC did but at half the price. We wanted something with good 'enterprise' grade 24x7 4 hour response support for when it hit the fan so this ruled most of the freebies/low cost solutions out.

A drawback of using iSCSI if you're not aware of it, VMWare do not support MicroSoft Clustering Services on iSCSI/NFS storage under ESX/vSphere. This may change in the future. This was a bummer as we were looking at clustering our SQL Server's on to VMWare/Lefthand.

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+1 for Lefthand –  lukecyca Sep 22 '09 at 23:24

We use an HP MSA 2012i, storing roughly 2TB of data and lots VM images.

Horrible unit, we've had nothing but trouble, including 100s of GB of data loss after installing a required firmware upgrade (had to hire a consultant to fix it, but we didn't get our data back).

In retrospect I would have been better served by something like FreeNAS, and lots of commodity hard drives in a very redundant RAID.

I have been impressed by Dell's Equallogic offerings but they are unfortunately over our budget, especially since we've already thrown away $10,000 on the MSA.

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Why have you got iSCSI in the title, are you only interested in iSCSI solutions as SAN can encompass more than just that.

I'm a bit of a storage geek and have used HDS boxes and their HP XP equivilants, HP EVA extensively, HP MSAs quite a lot (love their new'ish 2000fc G2 model btw), a few NetApps and the odd EMC box. Also worked a bit with Openfiler and LeftHand too.

It all comes down to what you need to achieve and what support resources you have available. If you need as close to 100% availability or the best performance under load then I think it's hard to beat top-end FC boxes, of course these need some fairly specialist skills and don't come cheap. If you're after the best bang for the buck then some of these software/VM based solutions can't be beat, they're cheap and fast but not as reliable as others. For most a compromise is perfectly adequate and in that case you can't really go wrong with EVAs or NetApps (with MSAs useful if the space/power/cash budget is low). Most people with a sensible amount of experience will naturally lean towards one model or another, I'm no exception and like EVAs as they're plenty fast enough and very simple to manage indeed.

Best of luck.

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Yes, I am interested only in iSCSI. Thanks for your reply. –  Sergius Sep 22 '09 at 10:23

for test storage mostly RHEL5.4 with tgtd

for production - NetApp and Dell MD3000i

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Were mainly using a somewhat expensive Compellent SAN solution with both FC and iSCSI for our core services, and some old MSA 1000's in our production colosites for some cluster services. Were looking at some other SANS for our production enviroments tough.

Compellent got some nice features as Tier based storage, volume delta replication, "Phone Home" where the controller sends all its config and raid array config to co-pilot(compellent support) as a security measure in case of controller failure. ans secure tunneling for the support personell from co-pilot to login to your controller and perform actions for you and healthchecks n stuffs.

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I used Openfiler. Soon after year of receiving errors from Openfiler, I realized that I should choose another iSCSI, and it Failed Fatally:)

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2  
this is a bit thin, please explain what failed and why we should or should not use Openfiler? –  MrTimpi Sep 22 '09 at 10:52

We've had success using a variety of NetApp filers to host iSCSI LUNs.

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