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EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?

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EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?

We are going to invest in a new SAN environment and I would like to get input from people with experience of EMC,XP48/512 etc.

Alexander M. Ermes
Honored Contributor

Re: EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?

Hi Frederic.
We use EMC? Symmetrix connected to a V2500.
We run 23 databases ( Oracle ) and Oracle
Applications on this system. We used a HP FC30 before the EMC. This disk array is still connected and used for training and development databases.
The EMC equipment is not completely state of the art, but the service is excellent.
We never found errors, but sometimes we had an EMC technician standing at our door, who told me, that he has to change some parts just in case as prevention. Never had downtimes because
of EMC, so for my part i would stick with it.
Another reason is the price, because HP is very expensive.
Hope, i could help.
Alexander M. Ermes
.. and all these memories are going to vanish like tears in the rain! final words from Rutger Hauer in "Blade Runner"
Honored Contributor

Re: EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?

Well if you are for the state of art, go for the XP512 or its equivalent (we have the HDS 9960, all our subsystem have been bought from HDS since 1997, before we ahd HP and clariion). Extention to 35 TB, and unbeatable bandwith with dual fiber channel disks ...

All the best
paul courry
Honored Contributor

Re: EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?

We have a couple of EMC frames and are extremely happy with them. We have both HP3000's and HP9000's hooked up to them.

We believe their software is superior to HP's. We've never had a downtime problem. As mentioned earlier EMC is usually standing at our door before we know there is a problem.
Chuck Ciesinski
Honored Contributor

Re: EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?


Our site utilizes two EMC frames, a 3430 and a 3700. We have numerous HP-UX servers (A's,K's, L's, and N's) and
a couple of e3000's. The EMC discs and software work as
advertised. Somewhat pricey, but as someone once told me,
"Good things aren't cheap and cheap things aren't good!"
Another thought to be considered, is what drivers are supported and will service issues crop up when you don't need them.

I suggest you also place your question on Interex's two listservers, EMC@interex.org and SAN@interex.org for additional feedback.
"Show me the $$$$$"
Aaron Smith_3
Frequent Advisor

Re: EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?

EMC is a closed architecture. If you don't mind being locked into a proprietary system for the life of your SAN then maybe not a bad choice. HP storage is ranked #1 by D.H. Brown. Our new Fsam strategy means HP is very serious about storage and SAN's. I don't think EMC can compete with OpenView.
I make lemonade!
Tim Malnati
Honored Contributor

Re: EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?

Compaq and Sun have a long way to go before they become a contender with either HP or EMC. From my perspective the third player in the storage market is IBM. I can't be very specific about the IBM gear where my direct experience is limited. From what I can see it does not integrate as well into a multi vendor environment.

HP seems to be best if your situation requires continual expansion over time where it's frame is expandable. This gives HP an edge in entry cost but the situation is different at the other end. All of the memory in HP requires full redundancy which gets expensive. EMC's up front frame cost is the big hit.

Software is a different issue. EMC is solid but requires some significant local development to make it all work. EMC also lacks depth in their performance monitoring software. HP has a lot more to offer in this regard but is not quite as stable.

The fact of the matter is that I can be equally happy with either HP or EMC. Each has their strengths and weaknesses that seem to equal out in the long run. The support organizations are overall pretty equal as well.
Dave Wherry
Esteemed Contributor

Re: EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?

On my previous job I ran two EMC 3700 frames. That was a year and a half ago so some of my observations may be dated. Right now I run a XP256 and am looking at getting a XP512 also. I'll comment on some of the previous posts and then add my own.

Price. I have always found EMC to be more expensive. HP was trying to break in and is now trying to dominate the storage market. They seem to deal more on price. EMC still doesn't get it. They have always been arrogant regarding price because they were the best solution. I have not seen them come down in price.
Software. I much prefer the HP software. It allows me to do so much more to the frame myself and do it on-line. The disks in either frame are partitioned into LUNs. These LUNs are then assigned to a port or multiple ports that are accessed by the hosts(s). To do this on an EMC, they take a copy of the bin file and rework it. This takes about a week. You then have to shutdown the frame, which means your hosts are down, and reboot with the new bin file. On the XP I do this on-line, by myself, with my systems all up. Also, EMC charges to make these bin changes. I was charged $5,000 per time. No charge on the XP.
Service. As far as EMC showing up to replace parts before you know you have a problem, the XP also has this diagnostic and "phone home" capability. I just have not had as many components fail on my XP as I did on the EMC frames so HP has not been at my door. I have had problems with both EMC and HP when I have called for support. They are both equally bad or good. Take your pick.
Scalability and Upgrades. To me the XP will grow further and easier than the EMC. We have done two firmware upgrades on-line and added both disks and cache to the XP with no interuption in service. To do that on an EMC required down time.

You've probably figured it out by now that I prefer the XP over EMC. When we were making the decision here I would have been happy with either choice. I was running a couple of FC30's which were dog slow and the database was growing by 12GB a month. I needed something fast. Having worked on both I am happy we chose the XP.

Occasional Visitor

Re: EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?

...for my opinion, regarding the global EMC offering I understand why they are the market leader...If you check the HW, SW, functionalities of those solutions, it make no sense to check to the other...Compaq, Sun and IBM still have a long way to do. HP still have a big problem...the Functionalities, to compare of the EMC offering. If I had to choose again for a Global Storage Solution...It would be EMC again.
Honored Contributor

Re: EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?

HP will guarentee you 100% uptime on the XPs, for a true 24/7/365 operation its the only solution.. online f/w upgrades (and there are a lot) dual backplane, true online backup etc..

They are expensive enough compared to the EMCs but if you're looking for speed hp will guarentee it's faster than the EMC or your money back.

But if you really want a non biased opinion don't ask here!!!

It works for me (tm)
Byron Myers
Trusted Contributor

Re: EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?

Our shop uses EMC and the new IBM Shark. EMC is definately the best in regards to HW, SW, and support. I do NOT recommend Shark, at this time. The Shark is a cluster solution to availablity and it appears that we are finding all of the bugs for IBM - and we are attaching IBM servers only. To replace a component in the Shark, you essentially "fail over" ports to the alternate node, so you lose half of your capacity during maintenance. In my opinion, the Shark is a mid-range solution and will never contend with XP's and EMC's due to its design (clustering). Also, the service we have been receiving from IBM is pitiful. If money is no issue, then EMC is the way to go, followed by HP's XP series.
If you can focus your eyes far and straight enough ahead of yourself, you can see the back of your head.
Honored Contributor

Re: EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?

Just to bragg! I was once in the EMC stress test center before the systems were qualified for shipment. (Cork in the south coast of Ireland)
They used to place the arrays on a huge shaker and shake the bejaysus out of it. It was actually really funny to see. If the array gets through that, it should get through just about any usage you put it through.

It works for me (tm)
Emmanuel Eyer
Frequent Advisor

Re: EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?

We just kicked off EMC from a call to tender. Reason: despite reasonable price (it was a Clariion NAS), performance was miserable. And they (EMC) admitted they could not do better. I must say that in my buisness we look for huge filesystems (1 TB is not enough, 2 is just okay for now) and peak performance in single-client configuration (one NFS client, accessing the filesystem alone, needs over 30 MB/s sustained throughput - over 40 MB/s would be better).

In that (specific) usage Sun's T3 disk arrays are not too bad (but require a rather powerful server, quad-proc E450 and lots of RAM).

On the other hand, the EMC/Clariion box was rather stable when increasing the number of clients - indivdual throughput was poor, but stable up to 5-6 clients.
Gary Baines
Occasional Advisor

Re: EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?

I'd echo many of the thought already said. I'd be happy with either EMC or HP XP512. My knowledge of the XP is about a year out of date, but functionality wise it gave more than the EMC does even now, letting me assign my disks to be business copies without having to go through a bin file change was the biggest thing I liked.

On the downside though the software was pretty flacky with the management daemons often falling over, one would hope HP have improved by now in this area. Latest EMC timefinder software is easier to configure and manage
than HP's, but again HP may have improved this by now.

Our current environment is an EMC3400, 8730 and 3930 frame and we have no complaints and good service from emc.

Vincent Fleming
Honored Contributor

Re: EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?

The EMC is not a bad choice, but the XP512 is clearly the technologically better.

EMC is using a 5+ year-old design with SCSI drives and a backplane. Maximum throughput of about 800MB/s. (this is for the new 8000 series)

XP is newer design, all Fibre Channel (including drives and backplane). Maximum throughput of 1560 MB/s - about 2 times that of the EMC.

So, for about the same price (HP says they'll not lose to EMC on price), why would you buy an EMC?

Beware EMC trying to sell you 2 or more 3000 series (their really old stuff) when competing on price with XP512 - they're 9 times slower than an XP512!!!!

Now software - EMC does not sell software. They lease it - For about the same as you'll pay HP to PURCHASE the same stuff. Year after year. I don't care if it's better or not, nothing is worth paying for 3 times.

Sometimes (all the time with EMC) you just don't get what you pay for.

No matter where you go, there you are.
Joseph C. Denman
Honored Contributor

Re: EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?

I agree. EMC and HP are the way to go. Far better technology.
If I had only read the instructions first??

Re: EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?

I'd give one piece of advice to anyone looking to invest in SAN technology, be it HP,EMC, IBM or one of the others...


When one of these companies reccommend a solution you NEED to know that what they are proposing has been implemented succesfully elsewhere. SAN technology is still developing, and there is a tendency amongst these companies to sell you something that just isn't fully tested/supported yet. (e.g cascaded FC switches in a switched fabric config - everyone talks about it, but when you dig a little deeper you start to run into vendor responses like 'not supported in this version of the firmware - new version available soon!')

So when your vendors propose a solution, make sure they let you talk to other customers who have already implemented THE EXACT SAME SOLUTION.



Re: EMC, Compaq, Sun or HP ?

What's the approximate price on say...300GB of storage from all these different vendors? How about 2 terrabytes? How is the performance with 180-960 users?
"Go Big Or Don't Go At All"