Six SAN shoot-out

Summary:Managing data storage is just as much of a task (or greater) as managing the servers themselves. It makes sense to centralise management in larger organisations wherever possible. Enter the storage area network (SAN).

(Credit: Sun)

Sun StorageTek 2510/2540

Sun's product is very similar to the IBM DS3400 both in terms of features and physical form. Like IBM, Sun produces well engineered products. It is a 2RU unit with space for 12 SAS or SATA drives. The ST2510 supports only iSCSI while the ST2540 can work both iSCSI and Fibre Channel. The Sun machines have up to eight 1Gbps iSCSI ports (ST2510) or four 4Gbps FC ports (ST2540), and up to 48 disk capacity with expansion units allowing for up to 48TB of storage. DC power support makes it IDC-ready.

The eight iSCSI ports could reduce the need for gigabit Ethernet switches; however, up to 1GB cache might limit their performance in FC mode.

Thin provisioning is not included in this device — Sun provides this service with high-end devices, whereas the 2510/2540 family are entry-level SANs.

The StorageTek 2510/2540 is also snapshot ready (sadly, this function is an optional extra). With up to 128 shots for each array, it may not be enough for some critical scenarios.

There can be as many as 30 hot spares in an ST2540. While this is impressive, few organisations may need so many spares at one time.

The management software is web-based for easy access to tools including port-to-volume mapping, volume creation capacity expansion and diagnostics.

This Sun device supports a good range of operating systems including, Windows Server, Solaris, SUSE and Red Hat as well as VMware.

The StorageTeks standard warranty is three years, though the device must be returned to base in the event of a warranty claim and phone service is during office hours only. Naturally, higher levels of service are available as an option — including 24/7 phone support and rapid, on-site servicing.

The good

  • AC/DC support
  • Up to 30 hot spares

The bad

  • Only 256 LUNs
  • Lacks support on IBM AIX and HP-UX
  • Power consumption is relatively high (515W max)

The bottom line
Eight iSCSI ports and DC power support are the only two shining points of this device which otherwise does not excite.

Topics: Dell, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Storage

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