shockme

Total overhaul of my data center.

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Hello,

I'm currently tasked with overhauling our data-center from top to bottom. The first stage is to get our new storage fabric in place.

I'm looking for the community views, experience and knowledge you are welling to share. I have spoke with HP, EMC, Dell, Gridstore, Nutanix, and looked at Windows Storage Spaces.

We are a small company that is going though growing pains as it transitions into a medium size. We are a totally hyper-v shop and have about 25 servers that are currently running the following work loads ranging from, Exchange 2010, SQL 2005-2012, Microsoft CRM 2011, Microsoft GP, and a host of other servers all Microsoft.

No matter what solution I buy my top concerns are flexibly and ease of expansion, performance, and cost effectiveness.

Right now we have about 7.5 TB of live data and could possibly take a large jump if we land certain clients. Thus why I'm concerned about the ease of expatiation.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

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The good/bad news is that you have a billion options if this is a true refresh or rip/replace operation. A few thoughts to get this conversation rolling:

  1. What is it that you're coming from?
  2. What does your interconnect architecture look like or is that up for debate too?
  3. Are your needs localized to just the main office or are the ROBO to consider too?
  4. Are you also considering data protection as part of this or does that infrastructure exist?
  5. How technical is the storage administration team (or is there one)?
  6. Do you have a guideline on what the budget looks like for the storage components?

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Brian,

1.We have a large mix of servers ranging from desktops running as hyper-v to 3 HP DL180 G6 running hyper-v core.

2.Right now its all 1gbe on HP Procurve 4208vl.

3.Localized right now but there is talk of opening a remote site.

4.Yes will we be redoing the backup solution as the 2nd part of this refresh. (I'm hoping to use my current hardware to cover that)

5.There is no team I handle everything. I would say I can speak intelligently about storage, but I'm not expert.

6.No budget but I have let the know this is not going to be cheap.

Thanks

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I was in your position about 4 years ago. We jumped on the HP (server, DL380P), EMC (storage, VNX), Cisco (networking, Nexus-FCoE), and VMware (ESX and View/Horizon) bandwagon and haven't looked back. I'd highly recommend talking to local reps and getting a design documents ready. We have great EMC local reps which have made the decision all that much easier. We have a EMC VNX 5400 with about 40TB of usable space with half being SSD and the other half being 10K drives. I absolutely love it! Normal maintenance is online with 0 distribution to production. We use the EMC RecoverPoint appliances to do live replication to our DR site 5 miles away (in a cave...literally) over a 1Gb P-to-P connection. I would absolutely recommend the VNX line from EMC and Nexus switches from Cisco.. assuming you can get the $$$ for them.

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The $$$ is the big question. I'd definitely use this opportunity to upgrade interconnect, 10GbE at least. Your capacity needs aren't that great, you can get many dual-controller systems in 2U that meet your initial capacity needs with a hybrid SSD/HDD config or an all flash config that has data reduction built in. You will likely lose some performance in the latter scenario, but given the current infrastructure performance doesn't sound like a concern. The EMC VNX line is a time tested solution that will certainly meet the need. I'd think you could get away with a 5200 or maybe even the VNXe3200, depending. But there are dozens of other options. Can you give any more clarity on spend ranging from "We're cheap and I have to roll my own" to "picking up a VNX 5400 and one more as a hot spare."

On the server side, sounds like you guys would be a good fit for the blade systems out there or at the least something more converged like the Dell FX2 or Cisco UCS. We've done some work on the FX2 and find it to be very impressive. People of course love UCS but they haven't sent us any gear to work with. The HP standard rack servers are fine, but I'm guessing you could condense your rack footprint by 4X or more as part of this refresh...get your power consumption way down and the cooling expense as well.

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Any requirements other than easy to setup/maintain? Does the new storage need to support certain protocols (SMB, iSCSI, NFS) or versions of those protocols?

I can personally reccomend Tintri's VMstore solution, though their Hyper-V support is due by the end of 2014. If their solution sounds interesting in any way I'd give them a call. One thing to be aware of is that the Trinti solution is VM-only, it's built to do one job but do that one job well.

For block solutions Nimble and Pure come to mind. Nimble has some interesting metrics if that's up your alley.

Tegile will do block and file and looked to be simple to manage.

Last but not least, DataGravity has a very interesting take on storage and insight to the data it contains.

For more information on any of these vendors and others, http://techfieldday.com/ has a bunch of recorded presentations given by vendors to panels of storage people that might answer questions the websites rarely address.

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We can't recommend Pure, Nimble or Tintri, haven't reviewed any of them at this point. Making some progress but Tintri for instance refuses to let us test outside of their lab which is problematic of course.

We had great performance with StorTrends and XIO. For a more robust stack, we've really enjoyed what EqualLogic offers, there's a reason they have 150k units in the field. You can see our latest array reviews here -

http://www.storagereview.com/reviews/enterprise/midmarket_large_enterprise_storage

Incidentally, we have an SC4020 coming in December, yet another option ;)

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As always it comes down to dollars, I expect this to solution to come in between 40 to 100k or at least that's the quotes I have at this point.

I'm currently watching Storage Field Day on some of these options mentioned here. I can see why people just specialize in storage wow.

Have you had any experience with the compellent solution?

Edited by shockme

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Your budget is limited for a true enterprise storage solution. Most of the large storage vendors will be way out of your budget if you factor in their software tools. The exception of course is equallogic. Very easy to use and comes with great software. We have a few of them and they are great.

As someone who has a UCS system for 3 years I would say that you can rule that out. Unless you plan to run dozens of blades, the complexity of the system does not pay.

For backup software I am really happy with Dell Appassure. It was really cheap, covers all of our VM's and does replication. You can just install the software on an existing server with alot of disk, put the agent on each VM and let it go to work.

Definetly go for 10GB networking. It is not only faster, but the elimination of many cables certaintly helps when you build a new datacenter.

-Justin

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