How good is an EMC SAN? - Storage

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  1. How good is an EMC SAN?

    I am exploring SAN options at the office and keep reading that EMC is
    the best. I am not doing FC, but am looking at a CX300i. How good is
    this product compared to the cheaper HP, Lefthand, and other options?
    Is their reputation worth the extra cost for maintenance, support, and
    quality?


  2. Re: How good is an EMC SAN?

    On 24 Apr 2007 08:33:38 -0700, MQCarpenter
    wrote:

    >I am exploring SAN options at the office and keep reading that EMC is
    >the best. I am not doing FC, but am looking at a CX300i. How good is
    >this product compared to the cheaper HP, Lefthand, and other options?
    >Is their reputation worth the extra cost for maintenance, support, and
    >quality?


    In my experience their reputation is pretty bad except for the DMX
    line. In my reading and tests the DMX is pretty damn rock solid so
    you probably would not go wrong with that. Others in the DMX class
    are the HDS/HP/Sun Tagmastor/XP12k/9980 series (all from Hitachi mind
    you, not HDS).
    You might put the IBM Shark in that class but I don't know much about
    it.

    For mid-range SAN I would be looking elsewhere like Sun's STK modular,
    HP EVA, or HDS' AMS line.

    EMC has a bad reputation in their business practices, their support
    (though that is very polarized; you either love them or hate them) and
    many of their mid and lower end products.

    If you're not doing FC I have to assume you're looking at iSCSI. If
    that is the case there are several iSCSI vendors out there that are on
    the cutting edge in feature but not necessarily in price. NetApp
    would likely be your most expensive iSCSI option but has the most
    features.
    There are many more out there and I would recommend continuing to look
    before settling on EMC.

    ~F

  3. Re: How good is an EMC SAN?

    In <8vss23hofgd2p7fc86m238h72u48al9pi8@4ax.com> Faeandar writes:

    >On 24 Apr 2007 08:33:38 -0700, MQCarpenter
    >wrote:


    >>I am exploring SAN options at the office and keep reading that EMC is
    >>the best. I am not doing FC, but am looking at a CX300i. How good is
    >>this product compared to the cheaper HP, Lefthand, and other options?
    >>Is their reputation worth the extra cost for maintenance, support, and
    >>quality?


    >In my experience their reputation is pretty bad except for the DMX
    >line. In my reading and tests the DMX is pretty damn rock solid so
    >you probably would not go wrong with that. Others in the DMX class
    >are the HDS/HP/Sun Tagmastor/XP12k/9980 series (all from Hitachi mind
    >you, not HDS).
    >You might put the IBM Shark in that class but I don't know much about
    >it.


    >For mid-range SAN I would be looking elsewhere like Sun's STK modular,
    >HP EVA, or HDS' AMS line.


    >EMC has a bad reputation in their business practices, their support
    >(though that is very polarized; you either love them or hate them) and
    >many of their mid and lower end products.


    >If you're not doing FC I have to assume you're looking at iSCSI. If
    >that is the case there are several iSCSI vendors out there that are on
    >the cutting edge in feature but not necessarily in price. NetApp
    >would likely be your most expensive iSCSI option but has the most
    >features.
    >There are many more out there and I would recommend continuing to look
    >before settling on EMC.


    Faeandar is correct with respect to the comment that there are other
    vendors to use as comparison with the CX300 class.

    However, the service is not as bad as he states.

    I manage a CX700 and problems are few and far between. When there
    are problems, EMC is at your door often before you even knew the
    problem existed due to the CX phone home capability. Field engineers
    are very competent and any issues they cannot handle are quickly
    escalated to high level engineering support. Generally, any cases
    you submit are always followed up by the engineers to ensure that
    the problem is resolved swiftly.

    The CX is more expensive, but remember that you do get what you
    pay for. When configured correctly, the CX is very redundant.
    The EMC SAN I have has never failed to provide service. Almost
    all upgrades (hardware and software) can be done on-the-fly without
    any loss of service.

    Just make sure that you consider all of the costs before making any
    decision. If you are looking at EMC, ask about Powerpath licensing.
    Powerpath is required to take full advantage of redundant paths
    and load-balancing.

  4. Re: How good is an EMC SAN?

    MQCarpenter wrote:
    > I am exploring SAN options at the office and keep reading that EMC is
    > the best. I am not doing FC, but am looking at a CX300i. How good is
    > this product compared to the cheaper HP, Lefthand, and other options?
    > Is their reputation worth the extra cost for maintenance, support, and
    > quality?
    >

    I would go for the HP EVA, and for several reasons.

    First of all the management aspect. It is so simple to use, that anyone
    can learn it in half an hour or less.

    You can get an iSCSI option as extra (FC and iSCSI combined) , or use
    the whole box as an iSCSI storage box.

    You can use active multipathing with the EVA, none of the competitors
    can do that. If your servers have two FC HBAs (as they should have in a
    good setup) you can use both FC ports at the same time. EMC Clariion and
    HSD 95xx only support failover, so if one FC port becomes unavailable,
    the server can switch to the other port. This also applies to iSCSI
    (with 2 iSCSI MPX100 routers). No need for third party multipathing
    software, the native multipathing software of your OS should be used.

    iSCSI host/lun management and FC host/lun management are integrated, and
    look the same.

    If you have a small or midrange EVA, you will usually put all disks in
    one disk group (pool). So let's say you have 50 physical disks in the
    box (excl. hot spares), set up as one group. Then any lun you configure
    will be spread over those 50 disks. This means no hot spots, all disks
    will alway be used to give you the maximum i/o capacity of the box. Add
    physical disks to the group, and you will get more i/o capacity for
    every lun in that group.

    Creating a lun takes seconds, no matter if it is 1GB in size or 2TB.
    Deleting it is just as simple.

    Don't forget that the Clariion was not designed by EMC, it is in fact a
    Data General design.

    In my view the HP EVA is one generation ahead compared with the
    principles of the Clariion and the HDS 95xx.

  5. Re: How good is an EMC SAN?

    Dirk Munk wrote in
    news:f0n86o$ubc$1@news5.zwoll1.ov.home.nl:

    > MQCarpenter wrote:
    >> I am exploring SAN options at the office and keep reading that EMC is
    >> the best. I am not doing FC, but am looking at a CX300i. How good is
    >> this product compared to the cheaper HP, Lefthand, and other options?
    >> Is their reputation worth the extra cost for maintenance, support,
    >> and quality?
    >>

    > I would go for the HP EVA, and for several reasons.
    >
    > First of all the management aspect. It is so simple to use, that
    > anyone can learn it in half an hour or less.
    >
    > You can get an iSCSI option as extra (FC and iSCSI combined) , or use
    > the whole box as an iSCSI storage box.
    >
    > You can use active multipathing with the EVA, none of the competitors
    > can do that. If your servers have two FC HBAs (as they should have in
    > a good setup) you can use both FC ports at the same time. EMC Clariion
    > and HSD 95xx only support failover, so if one FC port becomes
    > unavailable, the server can switch to the other port. This also
    > applies to iSCSI (with 2 iSCSI MPX100 routers). No need for third
    > party multipathing software, the native multipathing software of your
    > OS should be used.
    >
    > iSCSI host/lun management and FC host/lun management are integrated,
    > and look the same.
    >
    > If you have a small or midrange EVA, you will usually put all disks in
    > one disk group (pool). So let's say you have 50 physical disks in the
    > box (excl. hot spares), set up as one group. Then any lun you
    > configure will be spread over those 50 disks. This means no hot spots,
    > all disks will alway be used to give you the maximum i/o capacity of
    > the box. Add physical disks to the group, and you will get more i/o
    > capacity for every lun in that group.
    >
    > Creating a lun takes seconds, no matter if it is 1GB in size or 2TB.
    > Deleting it is just as simple.
    >
    > Don't forget that the Clariion was not designed by EMC, it is in fact
    > a Data General design.
    >
    > In my view the HP EVA is one generation ahead compared with the
    > principles of the Clariion and the HDS 95xx.
    >


    Very nice commercial, now back to our regular show...

  6. Re: How good is an EMC SAN?

    Wilfred Pickles wrote:
    > Dirk Munk wrote in
    > news:f0n86o$ubc$1@news5.zwoll1.ov.home.nl:
    >
    >> MQCarpenter wrote:
    >>> I am exploring SAN options at the office and keep reading that EMC is
    >>> the best. I am not doing FC, but am looking at a CX300i. How good is
    >>> this product compared to the cheaper HP, Lefthand, and other options?
    >>> Is their reputation worth the extra cost for maintenance, support,
    >>> and quality?
    >>>

    >> I would go for the HP EVA, and for several reasons.
    >>
    >> First of all the management aspect. It is so simple to use, that
    >> anyone can learn it in half an hour or less.
    >>
    >> You can get an iSCSI option as extra (FC and iSCSI combined) , or use
    >> the whole box as an iSCSI storage box.
    >>
    >> You can use active multipathing with the EVA, none of the competitors
    >> can do that. If your servers have two FC HBAs (as they should have in
    >> a good setup) you can use both FC ports at the same time. EMC Clariion
    >> and HSD 95xx only support failover, so if one FC port becomes
    >> unavailable, the server can switch to the other port. This also
    >> applies to iSCSI (with 2 iSCSI MPX100 routers). No need for third
    >> party multipathing software, the native multipathing software of your
    >> OS should be used.
    >>
    >> iSCSI host/lun management and FC host/lun management are integrated,
    >> and look the same.
    >>
    >> If you have a small or midrange EVA, you will usually put all disks in
    >> one disk group (pool). So let's say you have 50 physical disks in the
    >> box (excl. hot spares), set up as one group. Then any lun you
    >> configure will be spread over those 50 disks. This means no hot spots,
    >> all disks will alway be used to give you the maximum i/o capacity of
    >> the box. Add physical disks to the group, and you will get more i/o
    >> capacity for every lun in that group.
    >>
    >> Creating a lun takes seconds, no matter if it is 1GB in size or 2TB.
    >> Deleting it is just as simple.
    >>
    >> Don't forget that the Clariion was not designed by EMC, it is in fact
    >> a Data General design.
    >>
    >> In my view the HP EVA is one generation ahead compared with the
    >> principles of the Clariion and the HDS 95xx.
    >>

    >
    > Very nice commercial, now back to our regular show...


    No, not a commercial. Hands on experience with all products mentioned. I
    don't work for HP, and I don't sell their products. I have no reason
    what so ever to make things look better than they are.

    But your reaction reaction is typical. Managers in my company thought I
    was exaggerating until I showed them it was real. A couple of weeks ago
    I got a new EVA (with iSCSI option). It took me about half a day to set
    it up (incl. setting up de Windows management server), without
    assistence of a HP engineer. Then the project manager gave me a list
    with about 4 host and 20 luns, and within 15 minutes I had them configured.

  7. Re: How good is an EMC SAN?

    On Thu, 26 Apr 2007 00:00:25 GMT, Wilfred Pickles
    wrote:

    >Dirk Munk wrote in
    >news:f0n86o$ubc$1@news5.zwoll1.ov.home.nl:
    >
    >> MQCarpenter wrote:
    >>> I am exploring SAN options at the office and keep reading that EMC is
    >>> the best. I am not doing FC, but am looking at a CX300i. How good is
    >>> this product compared to the cheaper HP, Lefthand, and other options?
    >>> Is their reputation worth the extra cost for maintenance, support,
    >>> and quality?
    >>>

    >> I would go for the HP EVA, and for several reasons.
    >>
    >> First of all the management aspect. It is so simple to use, that
    >> anyone can learn it in half an hour or less.
    >>
    >> You can get an iSCSI option as extra (FC and iSCSI combined) , or use
    >> the whole box as an iSCSI storage box.
    >>
    >> You can use active multipathing with the EVA, none of the competitors
    >> can do that. If your servers have two FC HBAs (as they should have in
    >> a good setup) you can use both FC ports at the same time. EMC Clariion
    >> and HSD 95xx only support failover, so if one FC port becomes
    >> unavailable, the server can switch to the other port. This also
    >> applies to iSCSI (with 2 iSCSI MPX100 routers). No need for third
    >> party multipathing software, the native multipathing software of your
    >> OS should be used.
    >>
    >> iSCSI host/lun management and FC host/lun management are integrated,
    >> and look the same.
    >>
    >> If you have a small or midrange EVA, you will usually put all disks in
    >> one disk group (pool). So let's say you have 50 physical disks in the
    >> box (excl. hot spares), set up as one group. Then any lun you
    >> configure will be spread over those 50 disks. This means no hot spots,
    >> all disks will alway be used to give you the maximum i/o capacity of
    >> the box. Add physical disks to the group, and you will get more i/o
    >> capacity for every lun in that group.
    >>
    >> Creating a lun takes seconds, no matter if it is 1GB in size or 2TB.
    >> Deleting it is just as simple.
    >>
    >> Don't forget that the Clariion was not designed by EMC, it is in fact
    >> a Data General design.
    >>
    >> In my view the HP EVA is one generation ahead compared with the
    >> principles of the Clariion and the HDS 95xx.
    >>

    >
    >Very nice commercial, now back to our regular show...


    Actually, I would agree with him on every point except the
    performance. We've not seen stellar performance out of our EVA's.
    And by not stellar I mean notably less than the STK 6xxx series.

    And hotspots can definitely occur. When you've got, for example, 8
    lun's striped across the same drives you can bet there will be spindle
    contention on each of those drives due to differing lun access. Seen
    it, lived it. Just a fact of life with virtualization. Makes it
    simpler, not faster.

    ~F

  8. Re: How good is an EMC SAN?

    On Thu, 26 Apr 2007 05:59:38 +0200, Dirk Munk wrote:

    >Wilfred Pickles wrote:
    >> Dirk Munk wrote in
    >> news:f0n86o$ubc$1@news5.zwoll1.ov.home.nl:
    >>
    >>> MQCarpenter wrote:
    >>>> I am exploring SAN options at the office and keep reading that EMC is
    >>>> the best. I am not doing FC, but am looking at a CX300i. How good is
    >>>> this product compared to the cheaper HP, Lefthand, and other options?
    >>>> Is their reputation worth the extra cost for maintenance, support,
    >>>> and quality?
    >>>>
    >>> I would go for the HP EVA, and for several reasons.
    >>>
    >>> First of all the management aspect. It is so simple to use, that
    >>> anyone can learn it in half an hour or less.
    >>>
    >>> You can get an iSCSI option as extra (FC and iSCSI combined) , or use
    >>> the whole box as an iSCSI storage box.
    >>>
    >>> You can use active multipathing with the EVA, none of the competitors
    >>> can do that. If your servers have two FC HBAs (as they should have in
    >>> a good setup) you can use both FC ports at the same time. EMC Clariion
    >>> and HSD 95xx only support failover, so if one FC port becomes
    >>> unavailable, the server can switch to the other port. This also
    >>> applies to iSCSI (with 2 iSCSI MPX100 routers). No need for third
    >>> party multipathing software, the native multipathing software of your
    >>> OS should be used.
    >>>
    >>> iSCSI host/lun management and FC host/lun management are integrated,
    >>> and look the same.
    >>>
    >>> If you have a small or midrange EVA, you will usually put all disks in
    >>> one disk group (pool). So let's say you have 50 physical disks in the
    >>> box (excl. hot spares), set up as one group. Then any lun you
    >>> configure will be spread over those 50 disks. This means no hot spots,
    >>> all disks will alway be used to give you the maximum i/o capacity of
    >>> the box. Add physical disks to the group, and you will get more i/o
    >>> capacity for every lun in that group.
    >>>
    >>> Creating a lun takes seconds, no matter if it is 1GB in size or 2TB.
    >>> Deleting it is just as simple.
    >>>
    >>> Don't forget that the Clariion was not designed by EMC, it is in fact
    >>> a Data General design.
    >>>
    >>> In my view the HP EVA is one generation ahead compared with the
    >>> principles of the Clariion and the HDS 95xx.
    >>>

    >>
    >> Very nice commercial, now back to our regular show...

    >
    >No, not a commercial. Hands on experience with all products mentioned. I
    >don't work for HP, and I don't sell their products. I have no reason
    >what so ever to make things look better than they are.
    >
    >But your reaction reaction is typical. Managers in my company thought I
    >was exaggerating until I showed them it was real. A couple of weeks ago
    >I got a new EVA (with iSCSI option). It took me about half a day to set
    >it up (incl. setting up de Windows management server), without
    >assistence of a HP engineer. Then the project manager gave me a list
    >with about 4 host and 20 luns, and within 15 minutes I had them configured.


    From a pure ease of use and rich tool set I bet on NetApp for iSCSI.
    EVA's are simple, but so are filers. And their tool set just can't be
    beat.

    ~F

  9. Re: How good is an EMC SAN?

    Hi everyone...

    Dirk Munk wrote:
    > Wilfred Pickles wrote:
    >>
    >> Very nice commercial, now back to our regular show...

    >
    > No, not a commercial. Hands on experience with all products mentioned. I
    > don't work for HP, and I don't sell their products. I have no reason
    > what so ever to make things look better than they are.


    I work with IBM, EMC, HP and occasionally with some other vendors, and
    those fairy tales about EVA's "user friendly" interface and some other
    things are more funny than anything else.

    There's really no big difference between using any of those arrays (EVA,
    CX, DS4xxx). Anyone who has ever used or configured any storage array
    can create arrays, LUN, storage groups (partitions) and other basic
    things without looking even in the manual.

    Some technical details maybe are true, but I'm not sure that all EVAs
    can work in active / active mode.
    BTW, CX can, with PowerPath, use all paths for data transfer, but only
    one at the same time.

    > But your reaction reaction is typical. Managers in my company thought I
    > was exaggerating until I showed them it was real. A couple of weeks ago
    > I got a new EVA (with iSCSI option). It took me about half a day to set
    > it up (incl. setting up de Windows management server), without
    > assistence of a HP engineer. Then the project manager gave me a list
    > with about 4 host and 20 luns, and within 15 minutes I had them configured.


    The same thing any specialist can do on any CX or DS4xxx. That is really
    not a problem.

    Best regards,

    Iggy

  10. Re: How good is an EMC SAN?

    On Apr 25, 2:49 pm, Dirk Munk wrote:
    > MQCarpenter wrote:
    > > I am exploring SAN options at the office and keep reading that EMC is
    > > the best. I am not doing FC, but am looking at a CX300i. How good is
    > > this product compared to the cheaper HP, Lefthand, and other options?
    > > Is their reputation worth the extra cost for maintenance, support, and
    > > quality?

    >
    > I would go for the HP EVA, and for several reasons.
    >
    > First of all the management aspect. It is so simple to use, that anyone
    > can learn it in half an hour or less.
    >
    > You can get an iSCSI option as extra (FC and iSCSI combined) , or use
    > the whole box as an iSCSI storage box.
    >
    > You can use active multipathing with the EVA, none of the competitors
    > can do that. If your servers have two FC HBAs (as they should have in a
    > good setup) you can use both FC ports at the same time. EMC Clariion and
    > HSD 95xx only support failover, so if one FC port becomes unavailable,
    > the server can switch to the other port. This also applies to iSCSI
    > (with 2 iSCSI MPX100 routers). No need for third party multipathing
    > software, the native multipathing software of your OS should be used.
    >
    > iSCSI host/lun management and FC host/lun management are integrated, and
    > look the same.
    >
    > If you have a small or midrange EVA, you will usually put all disks in
    > one disk group (pool). So let's say you have 50 physical disks in the
    > box (excl. hot spares), set up as one group. Then any lun you configure
    > will be spread over those 50 disks. This means no hot spots, all disks
    > will alway be used to give you the maximum i/o capacity of the box. Add
    > physical disks to the group, and you will get more i/o capacity for
    > every lun in that group.
    >
    > Creating a lun takes seconds, no matter if it is 1GB in size or 2TB.
    > Deleting it is just as simple.
    >
    > Don't forget that the Clariion was not designed by EMC, it is in fact a
    > Data General design.
    >
    > In my view the HP EVA is one generation ahead compared with the
    > principles of the Clariion and the HDS 95xx.



    Hello MQCarpenter,

    are you managing HP EVA. I had a POC some time back and I was also
    impressed with these feature like active multipathing, single
    diskpool, no dedicated spare disk etc. But I am curious about the
    practical performance. How it maintains data on all drives, I mean
    over the period of time hotspot may be created. Netapp WAFL maintains
    due to serial write anywhere file lay out. So how it does ?
    what is your experience about the performance ?

    - Raju


  11. Re: How good is an EMC SAN?

    Igor Batinic wrote:
    > Hi everyone...
    >
    > Dirk Munk wrote:
    >> Wilfred Pickles wrote:
    > >>
    >>> Very nice commercial, now back to our regular show...

    >>
    >> No, not a commercial. Hands on experience with all products mentioned.
    >> I don't work for HP, and I don't sell their products. I have no reason
    >> what so ever to make things look better than they are.

    >
    > I work with IBM, EMC, HP and occasionally with some other vendors, and
    > those fairy tales about EVA's "user friendly" interface and some other
    > things are more funny than anything else.
    >
    > There's really no big difference between using any of those arrays (EVA,
    > CX, DS4xxx). Anyone who has ever used or configured any storage array
    > can create arrays, LUN, storage groups (partitions) and other basic
    > things without looking even in the manual.
    >
    > Some technical details maybe are true, but I'm not sure that all EVAs
    > can work in active / active mode.


    Yes they can. that is true for the 'old' 3000 and 5000 versions, it is
    true for the present 4000, 6000 and 8000 versions, and it will be true
    for the new versions in 2008


    > BTW, CX can, with PowerPath, use all paths for data transfer, but only
    > one at the same time.


    That is what I wrote, active/passive, two (or more) paths, but only the
    paths to one controller can be active for one lun. This is a failover
    configuration.

    >
    >> But your reaction reaction is typical. Managers in my company thought
    >> I was exaggerating until I showed them it was real. A couple of weeks
    >> ago I got a new EVA (with iSCSI option). It took me about half a day
    >> to set it up (incl. setting up de Windows management server), without
    >> assistence of a HP engineer. Then the project manager gave me a list
    >> with about 4 host and 20 luns, and within 15 minutes I had them
    >> configured.

    >
    > The same thing any specialist can do on any CX or DS4xxx. That is really
    > not a problem.


    Oh yes it is, if you want good performance.

    An example from my experience with Clariion. A customer wanted to use
    Clariion storage because it was cheaper than DMX storage. It was set up,
    and the database performance was lousy. I was asked to have a look at
    it, and I soon discovered many errors in the whole setup, which means
    errors in the setup of the Clariion as well as errors in the setup of
    the volume manager configuration of the SUN system.

    I had the whole Clariion reconfigured, making sure that similar luns
    ware created on raidgroups that were serviced by controller 0, and
    raidgroups that were serviced by controller 1. Then I used the Solaris
    volume manager to make stripe sets of these luns, taking care that I
    used the correct interlace factor.

    The end result was that the storage was 2.5 to 3 times faster then in
    the first configuration.

    It took about half a day work with 3 people to do this, and it took a
    lot of thinking, reading, calculating and designing. With an EVA this
    would have taken not even a few minutes, and no use of the volume
    manager on the Solaris box.

    So yes, it does make a difference.





    >
    > Best regards,
    >
    > Iggy


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