SAN /NAS options?

 
Laurence Chiu
Advisor

SAN /NAS options?

Our environment (supporting 70 users) is pretty standard with Exchange, Windows Server 2003, File/Print, ISA server plus Interwoven's MailSite EDMS. We also run Microsoft Navision FMIS so have a SQL Server instance.


All users are remote to the data centre connected over a 100Mb ethernet WAN.

We have a group of scientific users who have significant data requirements and are often shipping 100's Gb of data from the office location to the data center NAS device.

We are currently running about 5 HP rack servers which are near end of life that support this environment, all of which have direct attached storage.

Our services provider ahs suggested we purchase either the HP EVA4400, reuse an existing server currently supporting a legacy NAS, fibre channel connect the server to the EVA4400 and use that to consolidate storage.

The other option they suggest is we purchase the AiO600 and use that.

We are on a Gb network in the data center.

I am now wondering if either options makes sense for the following reasons

1. Our servers are going end of life and need to be replaced
2. I wonder with all traffic now on the network, whether Gb ethernet is going to be enough to support all file activity
3. Doesn't seem to future proof us in our server upgrade strategy

Also the quote from the provider didn't include a FC card for the server if we were to go the EVA4400 route which I guess we need?

I have the following idea that I think makes better sense.

Replace the 5 servers with a couple of higher-end multi-core, multi-processor servers such as the DL385 with 2 quad core CPU's.

Run VM Ware or Microsoft's VM product on them aggregating the current workload into both servers.

Purchase FC cards for both servers and connect them to the EVA4400 over FC so no network issues. I am guessing I would need a FC switch now since it appears the EVA4400 only has 2 FC ports standard on it and we would need 4 ports?

Any comments or suggestions appreciated.

Thanks

Larry
4 REPLIES 4
Emil Velez
Honored Contributor

Re: SAN /NAS options?


ever hear of polyserve for NAS file server or SQL instance clustering. It is available for Windows or Linux

It works fine. Alternative to MS clustering for SQL and provides a cluster file system which makes file servers almost fault tolerant.
Laurence Chiu
Advisor

Re: SAN /NAS options?

Have not heard of polyserve for NAS file server or SQL instance clustering.

Looks interesting. But I am still wondering about NAS performance over a Gb ethernet connection when all applications will going after the NAS and whether not the FC option on virtual servers is better
Pieter 't Hart
Honored Contributor

Re: SAN /NAS options?

Normally Gbit network should be no problem to support 70 users
except for the 100Gig copies.

>>>connect them to the EVA4400 over FC so no network issues<<<
depends on what you do.
if you copy data from one VM to another VM and they are on different (physical) hosts it still goes over the network!
this will not improve.
If done on the same physical host this "network-transfer" is done in memory and will be done faster.
either way NOT over FC!

If your application servers are so lightly loaded that replacing them one-by-one for new hardware (quadcore) would be overkill, then virtualization could be a reasonable thing to do.
As you mention only two physical machines and some shared storage gives you lot's of possibilities.
but you need to build up knowledge about vitualization wich also puts it's load on the IT department.
Laurence Chiu
Advisor

Re: SAN /NAS options?

>Normally Gbit network should be no problem >to support 70 users
>except for the 100Gig copies.

So it would be okay to put Exchange mail boxes on a networked attachd SAN or NAS together with the file servers? I had contrary advice to that.

>>>connect them to the EVA4400 over FC so no network issues<<<
>depends on what you do.
>if you copy data from one VM to another VM >and they are on different (physical) hosts >it still goes over the network!
>this will not improve.

That is also interesting. I was thinking that the two physical servers each with their FC connects to the SAN would not move data across the network. But what you say sounds right. Still it's an uncommon scenario and we could minimise that by putting Exchange (so the mail boxes) and the EDMS on the same server so people saving their documents from mail to the EDMS would not be moving across the server

>If your application servers are so lightly >loaded that replacing them one-by-one for >new hardware (quadcore) would be overkill, >then virtualization could be a reasonable >thing to do.
>As you mention only two physical machines >and some shared storage gives you lot's of >possibilities.
>but you need to build up knowledge about >vitualization wich also puts it's load on >the IT department.

The entire environment is supported by an outsourcing provider. They proclaim knowledge in virtualisation but haven't talked to us about it at all. I suspect if we provide the strategic direction, they will be able to support and maintain it.

Seem silly to purchase up to 5 new servers, most of which will be idling most of the time


If done on the same physical host this "network-transfer" is done in memory and will be done faster.
either way NOT over FC!

If your application servers are so lightly loaded that replacing them one-by-one for new hardware (quadcore) would be overkill, then virtualization could be a reasonable thing to do.
As you mention only two physical machines and some shared storage gives you lot's of possibilities.
but you need to build up knowledge about vitualization wich also puts it's load on the IT department.

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