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: HP)

HP LeftHand P4300

The HP LeftHand Starter pack consists of a pair of 2RU devices built for function rather than beauty — as would be expected for a server-room machine. As provided to Enex, each unit holds eight 300GB SAS drives plus a DVD ROM drive. Thus the total capacity is 4.8TB. A 12TB SATA version of this SAN is also available. The number of drives is expandable from 16 to 256 with the addition of extra nodes. Each unit has dual active/active controllers.

Clustering of storage units provides for a straightforward expansion of the SAN. Data is striped and mirrored across all volumes in the cluster, preventing a failure in a node resulting in data loss. Thus larger organisations can benefit from very impressive data stability. When adding extra storage units to the SAN the system can remain online, reducing maintenance downtime. Thin provisioning eliminates the need to predict the amount of space each volume may require in the future. Additionally, administrators can choose to set redundancy on a per-volume basis (up to four times).

Given the capability and scalability of this product the user interface is convenient to use. Basic configuration of the SAN, including IP address, is initially configured under a simple text interface on the SAN itself — which allows for direct keyboard and monitor connection. The majority of the device set-up is then configured via a GUI installed on a server.

Inside the box, everything is well laid out for easy access during maintenance. Hot-swappable parts such as fans, drives and power supplies are easy to remove.

The HP appears to support just about every OS known to man, including Windows, Linux, Citrix, OS Snow Leopard, IBM AIX, HP-UX, VMware, Novell and Solaris.

Due to its size (at least in part) this set-up is quite power hungry — 293W per unit. HP provides a three-year on-site warranty with next day service and nine-to-five software support.

The good

  • Very good expandability in terms of ease and scale
  • Excellent OS support
  • Thin provisioning

The bad

  • Standard support contact includes office hours only

The bottom line
If there was FC support, HP LeftHand P4300 would be fabulous.

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