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: 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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  • 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