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Re: Netapp FAS vs EMC VNX

NetApp does provide witness support (MetroCluster tiebreaker); in the past it was separate solution (I believe integrated with OM); today it is offered as part of ApplianceWatch PRO. See as example http://communities.netapp.com/servlet/JiveServlet/downloadBody/6314-102-1-9571/Partner%20Academy%20Workshop%20MetroCluster%20June%202010.pptx or http://communities.netapp.com/servlet/JiveServlet/download/49558-22659/ApplianceWatchPROBestPracticesGuide.pdf

Unfortunately it is very poorly documented and marketed; the only available link is NetApp internal, couple of paragraphs in ApplianceWatch PRO documentation and whatever you can find on community or kb sites.

You mention in your blog that NetApp MetroCluster needs 4 FC connections – do you count backend only? Because MC requires 2 ISLs; 4 can be used but is optional.

I wonder how VPLEX implements simultaneous write support on both sites without introducing read latency for local access (due to necessity to verify that data had not been changed remotely).

Netapp FAS vs EMC VNX

Dejan-Liuit,

You should check out Avere Systems (www.averesystems.com) or send me email at jtabor@averesystems.com.  We are working with lots of NetApp customers.  Rather than overhauling your entire environment to EMC, we can bring the benefits you need to your existing NetApp environment.  Here are the benefits we offer.

1) We add tiering to existing NetApp systems.

2) Our tiering appliances cluster so you can easily scale the tiering layer as demand grows.

3) We let you use 100% SATA on the NetApp.

4) We support any storage that provides an NFS interface, which opens up some cost-effective SATA options for you. 

5) We create a global namespace across all the NAS/SATA systems that we are connected to.

6) We tier over the WAN also to enable cloud infrastructure to be built. 

Jeff

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Re: Netapp FAS vs EMC VNX

The 10-million-dollar question is:

Is it more cost-effective to have the autotiering and caching software (it's not free) + 2.5TB of SSD, 10TB SAS and 37.5TB SATA or...

50TB SATA + NetApp Flash Cache?

Or maybe 50TB of larger-sized SAS +  NetApp Flash Cache?

This is all well and good in theory. But YMMV considerably.

I've just come from a rather large VM environment in the legal vertical... Incidentally also sold this same idea that a pair of PAM 512GB cards in front of oodles of SATA will save the day and drive down our TCO. That was a complete bust in this environment and if it weren't for a few available FC shelves, the 6080 HA cluster would have been ripped out by the roots overnight. 

The thing about cache is its not just about quantity but also how advanced the algorithms are in the controllers. Something that neither the netapp nor vnx can compete with on arrays like the DMX or USP. Its down right amusing how much time our lead netapp engineer spent playing musical chairs with data on that HA 6080. NDMP copy, sVmotions, and metro cluster mirroring might have been 80% of his job. So much for the hands off PAM card tiering approach.

At the end of the day, both vendors offer a different solution for the same problem in a mid-tier/lower high-end enterprise space. What is better comes down to your requirements.

Re: Netapp FAS vs EMC VNX

Ggravesande,

You mentioned "Incidentally also sold this same idea that a pair of PAM 512GB cards in front of oodles of SATA will save the day and drive down our TCO. That was a complete bust in this environment and if it weren't for a few available FC shelves, the 6080 HA cluster would have been ripped out by the roots overnight."

Sounds like your environment wasn't sized right, please send the names of the VAR and NetApp personell involved to dimitri@netapp.com. Some "re-education" may be necessary

The solution always has to be sized right to begin with. All caching systems do is provide relief (sometimes very significant). But if it's not sized right to begin with, you could have 16TB of cache or 1000 FC disks and still not perform right (regardless of vendor). Or you may need more than 1 6080 or other high end box etc.

Take a look here: http://bit.ly/jheOg5

For many customers it is possible to run Oracle, VMware, SQL etc. with SATA + Cache, and for others it might not. Autotiering doesn't help in that case either, since many of those workloads have constantly shifting data, which confuse such systems.

Unless the sizing exercise is done properly or the system is intentionally overbuilt (or you just get lucky), it will usually end in tears regardless of vendor.

Oh, I hope that 6080 had the SATA in large aggregates and you weren't expecting high performance out of a single 16-drive pool. With ONTAP 8.1 the possible aggregate size gets pretty big on a 6080, 162TiB...

D

Netapp FAS vs EMC VNX

> Yes, but I had a bad experience with failover that didn't work during a power failed.

False. MetroCluster has an inbox solution to failover during power outage. If management cards are proprely configured, the takeover is automatic during MetroCluster rack power failure (please, read documentation).

Also, if network goes down at the same time, an UPS solution (about 800e by MetroCluster head) can resolve the problem (again, read the documentation it's documented).

Finally, if MetroCluster is used with "complicated" inter-links (like DWDM), a third referee could be used (like Tie Breaker) and NetApp provides some solutions like this.

Regards,

Mathias

Netapp FAS vs EMC VNX

Well, we did have the problem. I had more people commenting it should work, but unfortunatly the setup was initialy done by a Netapp consultant (not partner consultant, but a netapp techie) and this is our production envirovment so I can't touch it very much to resolve the problem.

Anyway, we didn't go for neither upgrade or vnx. Instead we are looking at cloud solutions for filestorage and DAS for our exchange 2010.

Only virtualization will be left when MSSQL 2012 with DAS-support for availability clusters is released.

And then we will have another look at if the N-series is worth the maintenance and expansion-cost.

Netapp FAS vs EMC VNX

I am currently evaluating options to replace our 7 year old EMC SAN/NAS. EMC quoted us a VNXe 3300 and a VNX 5300. We pretty much ruled out the VNXe because it doesn't have FC and we would either need that or 10 GB Ethernet. Our NetApp vendor quoted a FAS2040 and then compared it to a VNXe 3100, which doesn't instill me with a lot of confidence that it will meet our needs for the next 5 years like we are expecting out of the what we purchase. Noted the quote for the 2040 was significantly less than either of the VNX quotes so NetApp has some wiggle room on better models.

My question is am I wrong to think the 2040 probably won't cut it performance wise if we are pretty sure that the VNXe won't? Would a 2240 be a better option or would it be better to look at a 3210? We are a small to medium sized company with around 12 TB's in our current SAN, 10 physical servers, and 40 servers in VMware. We will be running 3 SQL servers, Exchange, SharePoint, Citrix, etc off of the SAN and we need to make sure that the users of our ERP system never know that anything changed unless the comment is "everything is really fast". IIRC from one of the environment checks that a vendor ran our current server environment is running at around 260 MBps. I've never worked with NetApp, but I've been a fan for a few years now. I just want to make sure I can compare apples to apples with the competition. Let me know if you have any questions and I'll do my best to answer.

Netapp FAS vs EMC VNX

Hi and welcome to the Community!

It's a tough one - any solution should be sized against a particular requirement, so it is hard to say whether 2040 will suffice, or not. When comparing to EMC, it sits somewhere between VNXe 3100 and 3300.

Of course bigger (2240 or 3210) is better , but do you really need this?

How many (concurrent) users are we talking about? Did your reseller do any proper sizing against performance requirement, or was it a finger-in-the-air estimation?

Regards,

Radek

Netapp FAS vs EMC VNX

If management cards are proprely configured, the takeover is automatic during MetroCluster rack power failure

As long as LAN switches do not suffer from the same power outage (e.g., do not located in the same rack )

Also, if network goes down at the same time, an UPS solution

Well, it is unrealistic to expect to protect against all possible permutaitons of component failures between two sites. It has to start with NetApp offering management port redundancy in the first place

Finally, if MetroCluster is used with "complicated" inter-links (like DWDM), a third referee could be used (like Tie Breaker) and NetApp provides some solutions like this.

MteroCluster TieBreaker solution is no more supported to the extent, that some user who posted here old TR referring to it was requested to remove it. It was replaced by Microsoft only SCOM plugin and now by MSCS plugin which is Microsoft only again. What can we offer to Unix only customer? And yes, I have Unix only customers and they would like to have automated failover (I will leave aside discussion whether automated failover in any long distance solution makes sense at all)

Netapp FAS vs EMC VNX

Radek,

Thanks for your help. Our vendor did run EMC's check on our current SAN and sized the solution accordingly. We have 250 users. I'm not at all worried about the 2040 being good enough right now, it's just a few years down the road that I'm concerned with. I figure that we are getting a better discount now that we will when it comes time to replace the 2040 so it might be better to spend a little extra to buy a couple extra years before we need to look into replacing the controller unit.

Here is the IO and bandwidth info that our vendor pulled off of our current SAN, but that doesn't include email or Citrix since they are currently stand alone servers. Dell ran a similar report against our entire server environment and they had the 90th percentile for our bandwidth at 261 MB/s.

I have asked our vendor to quote out a FAS3210 just so we can get a better apples to apples price with the VNX 5300. Hopefully my assumption that the 3210 and the 5300 is reasonable. Does anyone know when the 2240 will start shipping?

We are also looking into starting up a DR site. IMO this will kill EMC since we don't think a VNXe will be good enough and the cheapest thing you can replicate a VNX 5300 to is another 5300.