Six SAN shoot-out

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: NetApp)

NetApp FAS2020

NetApp is a young but dedicated player in the storage field. NetApp provides a range of handy management proprietary technologies in its FAS2020. These include: RAID DP (based on RAID 6) for data stability and FlexShare for workload prioritisation and FlexVol. FlexVol is a useful technology for a business with increasing demands. Administrators don't need to know in advance how large individual volumes need to be for a given application; volumes expand as demand grows (so long as total SAN capacity is not exceeded). Aside from the basic management package, additional software packages are available to suit more specialised or high-end business needs.

The FAS2020 can have up to 1024 LUNs and 51,000 snapshots. This clearly exceeds the demands of mid-sized enterprises. However, it proves that the FAS2020 can accompany your business' long-term growth. The maximum disk capacity for the FAS2000 series devices is 68TB.

Active/active redundancy with failover controllers is an added safety feature for critical scenarios. It means you can hot-swap failed controllers without a halt to business. Both Fibre Channel and iSCSI protocols are supported, allowing buyers the choice of higher speed or lower costs.

NetApp FAS2020 provides plenty of valuable features (although some come at a cost) such as SecureAdmin, thin provisioning, host scripting, email alerts, virus protection and role-based access control.

NetApp claims (based on a report by Oliver Wyman) that its product has a very low total cost of ownership when compared to competing products, mainly due to more efficient use of disk space. Energy usage also appears to be low.

The FAS2020 supports a wide range of operating systems including Windows, Linux, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, Mac OS and VMware.

The good

  • RAID DP greatly improves data safety
  • Large snapshot capacity
  • Up to 1024 LUNs
  • FlexVol is useful for a growing business
  • Direct Snapshot support for key applications (Exchange, MS-SQL, Oracle, SAP, VMware etc)

The bad

  • Connected host number is limited to 24

The bottom line
A very good product and useful software, but limited baseline warranty/support service.

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

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  • Where's the testing?

    I see Enex was involved, but I don't see the results of any testing.

    At the moment it looks more like "Heres six SAN devices and a summary of their spec sheets".

    Having details of how these devices would be good - particularly when the device comes in multiple configs. We have the MD3000, seeing it compared to a MD3000i would be useful.
  • slight correction

    Oops. Missed a word in there:

    Second last sentence should read:
    "Having details of how these devices *perform* would be good - particularly when the device comes in multiple configs. "
  • HDS?

    Where is HDS in all of this...

    These aren't SAN's they're over powered disk storage platforms.

    Call them SAN's when you looking at at least the AMS2000, or USP/V/VM level.
  • where I work, We assemble this model!!!
  • Dell PowerVault MD3000i iSCSI SAN

    I'm not a huge IT guy, I'm a marketing guy that is part owner of a small, nationwide company that deals with, and uses a lot of computer stuff (I'm not going to tell you the name of the company, because I don't want you to think this is a lame way to get our link up)

    I was worried, that, even though it was a lot of money for ME, its not the most expensive solution, so I was afraid of its reliability, and expand ability, I've had it for a year now, and it is just amazing.

    I rarely write reviews, and am always skeptical when reading one, but I HAD to write this one, because it's funny, and a true testament to this Powervault...More reviews need to look like this, if I do say so myself, and I'll be sharing this on different forums. ;)

    I recently had a tech come into our offices to run some wires, setup a couple things, etc., He's one of those computer snobs. Knows everything about computers, He was constantly sarcastically joking about EVERYTHING in our offices, from our fax machines, to our computers, I think he even said something negative about my cell phone! I just assumed it wouldn't have mattered what model I had, he would have hated it. (this is kind of how I see online reviews. It's a metaphor. There will ALWAYS be more motivation for someone to post a negative experience than a positive one- in fact, the default attitude, online- is negative.)

    However, when he started working with my new (new to me, but used) Dell PowerVault MD3000i He actually COMPLIMENTED me on it! He talked about how others are overpriced, and how this one was expandable, etc. It was just funny, because I thought, "maybe he just realized he's been so negative, and wanted to make up for it by saying something positive."

    But RIGHT after he complimented me on the Dell PowerVault MD3000i he said..."Man, the lighting in here sucks! Your fluorescent lighting have different color temps. How do you work in here?!"

    Thats when I knew his Dell PowerVault MD3000i compliment was genuine! :) LOL