ascona

Dell EqualLogic or SUN ZFS Storage Appliance?

Dell EqualLogic or SUN ZFS Storage Appliance  

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  1. 1. Dell EqualLogic or SUN ZFS Storage Appliance

    • Dell EqualLogic
    • SUN ZFS Storage Appliance


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Hi All

We are embarking on a project to replace out current SAN and Virtualise (with Vmware Vsphere) our environment. On the SAN/server front it comes down to two vendors SUN/Oracle or Dell. Price and specifications of the servers and the storage capacity of the SAN's are on par with each other so there's not to much you can split them on.

We'd be looking at either Dell EqualLogic PS6110XV & PS6110E with the PowerEdge R710 server (for the VM cluster) or it's the Sun Fire X4170 M2 (for the VM cluster) and ZFS Storage 7320 Appliance. Like I say price wise they're just matching each other so we have to take other things in to account

Hardware Support cost moving forward

Flexibility to expand later

Cost to expand later

features available out of the box

etc.....

I'm sure there's going to be lots of opinions out there!

Edited by ascona

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Hi All

We are embarking on a project to replace out current SAN and Virtualise (with Vmware Vsphere) our environment. On the SAN/server front it comes down to two vendors SUN/Oracle or Dell. Price and specifications of the servers and the storage capacity of the SAN's are on par with each other so there's not to much you can split them on.

We'd be looking at either Dell EqualLogic PS6110XV & PS6110E with the PowerEdge R710 server (for the VM cluster) or it's the Sun Fire X4170 M2 (for the VM cluster) and ZFS Storage 7320 Appliance. Like I say price wise they're just matching each other so we have to take other things in to account

Hardware Support cost moving forward

Flexibility to expand later

Cost to expand later

features available out of the box

etc.....

I'm sure there's going to be lots of opinions out there!

I would say if for no other reason, choose Dell and EQL because the EqualLogic best practices team is represented here on storagereview.com. We want to know how you guys work, how you use our products, and how we can make things better. Now of course our marketing and sales teams would love to tell you the many reasons to make the decision for Dell and I would love to have them talk to you if you are interested.

We are hard at work here on the Dell EQL best practices team making sure you guys have access to whitepapers for building and maximizing your investment. Check out some of our recent work here and let us know if you could use our help with any further testing or studies. Dell is growing, EqualLogic is growing, and our EQL best practices team is putting out a lot of great material. Listening to customers starts with going to the places that customers like to speak about our products and I am happy to help in any way I can.

I will forward this thread over to our social media team and make sure this forum and your post are handled appropriately by our sales and marketing teams and you get any follow up you are looking for.

Thank you so much for considering Dell and EqualLogic,

Scott@Dell

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Hi

I hope I'm not to late to the party.

Between these two options I dont have any doubts the Oracle/SUN 7320 will outperform the EQ, eventhough this is less of importance there is one big difference in these two systems. Since the Oracle/Sun 7320 is based on ZFS it has so called "end to end data integrity" you can read about this on the link below, but it sure is important in a storage system.

https://blogs.oracle.com/bonwick/entry/zfs_end_to_end_data

You should also consider NexentaStor which is a storage software also based on ZFS and has the same features as Sun 7320 but you can choose your favorite hardware vendor. If you find NexentaStor intresting and want to know more, I can get you introduced.

Finally choosing NexentaStor you are able to choose best of breed components and also the NexentaStor license is not tied to the hardware.

Any ZFS appliance will crush Dell EQ any day.

Edited by Layer8

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...

Hi there,

just wanted to give my experience on the same topic.

First off after a 3 month try-and-fail approach on the Nexenta core, I was forced to give up on the project and go for a EQL on 10G iSCSI, for reasons I will explain later.

We have an VMWare essentials plus pack and are running a lot of MS based products on the SAN.

As we weighted the options of flexibility and integration (EQL has its own HW iSCSI MPIO and... on board for VMWare, including VAAI), we simply had no option but to go with Dell.

The things (we run an EQL 6510 and 6110 in the same EQL Group) that we can do on block level with the Dell, gives absolute peace of mind, because we learned the hard way one should never rely on a single storage, be it extra safe and good.

I had a customer of mine which did not listen and faced the consequences, despite the EMC people ensuring him "We are as stable as it gets".

Hence we are running synced datagroup between 2 SAN appliances (6110 with 15K SAS and 6510 with SATA) and we can loose up to 3 controllers, 2 switches and 3 NICs and still be in the play.

If the worst happens, we have implemented a tape backup, which integrates with EQL extremely well (ADBO of Symantec, which is offhost backup) and we can run a full backup of everything with a rate of 6 GB/minute, so for our 13 Tb of storage we complete a full backup in 36 hours (over the weekend), where the EQL is smart enough to work with its own snapshot technology so we have a consistent state.

Now I am sounding like a Dell fanboy, but believe me - I tried whatever you could think of, Open-E, Nexenta Core, Windows Storage server (running on HW)and nothing comes remotely close to EQL and its integration. It is however true, that I have not tried the real SAN Appliance from Oracle, but where I reside, it is not as easy to find this installed/owned by anyone.

Just my 2 cents of time.

Cheers,

SV

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@Stoyan Varlyakov

It really makes me sad that you spent months on testing Nexenta Core, that is definitely not the version that you should run as a storage appliance. My suggestion is NOT that you just should buy NexentaStor and implement it. If you are intrested then you should contact a NexentaStor certified partner who will design a solution for your current needs and future needs.

I'm back to what I said in the first statement a ZFS appliance is to prefere since it has "end to end data integrity", no EQL replication, backup or snapshot functions can accomplish this, these functions will just replicat,backup or snapshot corrupted data without your EQL knowing it.

As you explain in your thread you have tested lots of different storage softwares and ditched them all, and I believe that the reason is that you didnt take your time to understand how it really works or maybe lacking the contacts and therefor you paid the extra dollars and bought the EQL since you dont have to understand how it works, you just go through a wizard and wola it works, but you still dont understand anything about it.

What if one day you cannot connect to the EQL gui and at the same time not able to access your storage would that make you nervous? You will not know if your data is there or not, only DELL/EQL will be able to help you. You pick up the phone and dial the support number. A friendly support operator ask lots of questions (oh darn the customer info for Dell support is on the EQL), it takes her some time to look you up as a customer. Well then she asks what is the issue and bla bla. Finaly you have recieved a case number at the support and waiting for an engineer to call, the EQL engineer calls with 1 hour, remeber you still dont know if your data is there or not. Well the enginers start to help you collecting logs etc from mgmt port or what ever they use and then you upload it to Dell/EQL support, the support engineer say he will analyze the logs etc and come back. By now you are a nervous wreck, after another hour Dell/EQL engineer calls back and gives you either the solution to your issue or if you face a disaster recovery of your SAN. Either way it will take you atleas 4 hours just to get to know if your data is there or gone.

In a Nexenta scenarion you do as follows.

1. Connect keyboard and screen to the Nexentastor node

2. enter som commands (zpool list or status, zfs list etc) after entering this command you know if your data is safe. Even here to be extra sure you can enter zpool export, to make sure no IO is being generated to the pool.

3. then you enter the command "support" this will create a support case/ticket at nexenta with logs and system information attached to it, if you set the priority to highest I believe Nexenta support will call you within 15 - 30 minutes.

So finally, what I'm trying to say is that you prefered that fastfood instead of the a nice dinner with friends and family.

Knowledge is power.

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Hi Layer8,

nice to see someone willing to discuss. I did indeed go the way with NexentaStor and was ready to invest Euro in it (yup, not US based) but it turned out simple things in the pre-sales phase were too difficult questions for anyone.

I was indeed in touch with a partner (appointed by Nexenta sales staff themselves) which suggested I opt-in for a Supermicro chassis with a bunch of drives and no RAID controller. That is indeed what we got to evaluate the platform, but we did have our considerations to not purchase the product:

- rebuild time for very large arrays is catastrophic

- while ZFS provides end-to-end data integrity, raidz2 check/rebuild takes literally forever.

- if one looses his zpool partition the whole array is more or less useless. To prevent this from happening I have to disable the cache of all drives. This leads to performance considerations.

- I should loose 2 hard drives (at least) for installation. It is not recommended to install NexentaStor on the big production array.

If I ask for instance "what RAID6 sustained speed can I expect with IO chunk of 32 K" the answer is "good". Now I am sorry for being a "numbers" person, but this type of answer is a joke, and this trend continues the deeper one goes. So there I am - Nexenta is not for me. Or not just yet.

We used the chassis we have already purchased and opted for an Areca RAID 60 based Open-E solution which worked good, until the tiny-miny USB Thumbdrive, that had the whole Appliance running died. Of course there was no way to copy it, because the license for Open-E was embedded for the hardware device. So we re-did the whole config by hand to present our data.

I am telling this story, not to brag how much experience I have, but to tell you that I´ve been there, done that and unfortunately walked away with a bad experience (not considering the time I invested).

The thing that Dell offered and gave us a pace of mind is the 4 hour premium support which includes everything - from disks to software.

No Nexenta partner can come remotely close to this offering.

So there is no need to start flame wars on this topic - if you know what are you looking for, there is always something on the market.

If you want to integrate on a deeper level with VMW , BackupExec and M$, EQL is a great choice to consider.

Cheers,

SV

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You've dug up an old thread, but your points of course are still valid, thanks for sharing. We too have a lot of hands on time with Nexenta solutions, we've been working on a review of their array that's on Supermicro hardware for some time. We're hopeful that 4.0 will provide a better experience. Thing is though, if you want to roll your own storage, there aren't a ton of options. Server 2012 has certainly made many things easier and faster, but it depends on your environment. Anyway, I'd encourage you to start a new thread(s) to discuss your experience more.

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Though this is an old thread, I thought I'd post some of my experiences.

As for ZFS, I wouldn't settle with anything outside of Solaris (Oracle or illumos) just yet. Solaris is the most stable operating system for it and ZFS is at its best in it. There will be a day when Linux ZFS finally matches it, but that is not yet the case.

The caching system in ZFS is incredible and gets faster with better hardware. ZFS itself doesn't care what hardware changes you have as while the drives (Individual/Mirror/RAIDz or SLOG drives) do not fail or get changed after exports and before imports.

If you want to manage and script everything yourself, go for a clean illumos fork. Otherwise, go with a paid solution like Nexenta that does everything for you, or least almost all is already implemented with support.

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That's helpful. I think the biggest problem ZFS has is a branding one. We've had so many bad experiences with it, but then again there are very professional offerings like you mentioned that most feel are enterprise ready. Really just depends on the organization and the method of deploying.

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I don't doubt your experiences with ZFS in the past. I have read its past updates and some of it was a horror to think about if something failed. I started to use it from v28 and beyond.

But as I have said, Solaris is such a mature operating system and I wouldn't settle for less right now. It is a pitty of what happend to Sun Microsystems. At least most of the original developers are at Nexenta and Joyent (SmartOS) with budget to continue.

Edited by Maxtor storage

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Haven't worked with Joyent at all, but as I said, you can expect upcoming comment on Nexenta, we were largely waiting for the latest release to invest a lot of energy into it. We've been working with Silicon Mechanics, good guys.

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