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Planning on purchasing a NetApp FAS2040

Hi

As mentioned in the title we are looking to purchase a NetApp FAS2040 and awaiting price and spec from a reseller once one contacts me.  But I wanted to try and learn a bit more about what we will need before this to speed up the process a bit and help me understand how the setup should be for ourselves.

We currently have four physical servers all with DAS

Exchange – Server 2003, 2 x GB NIC Ports, Exchange 2003 database

File/SQL – Server 2008, 4 x GB NIC Ports with iSCSI offload

Remote Access – Server 2008, 4 x GB NIC Ports with iSCSI offload

Domain Controller/Maintenance server – Server 2008, 2 x GB NIC Port

And a single Netgear GS748TS switch (Stackable)

We are planning to move to a virtualized platform when Windows Server 8 comes out with the latest version of Hyper-V as it seems very impressive, so this is likely to happen early to mid-2013.  In the meantime we were planning on moving to a NetApp FS2040.  I hoped to move the SQL and general file data from the File/SQL server onto the NetApp box before implementing virtualization in 2013 because we are likely to hit a storage shortage before then and it would help with backups and DR.

I don’t know a great deal about how NetApp boxes work at the moment but I have been reading up on them.  My thoughts are initially to have a single aggregate with multiple volumes as the unit is likely to have around 6 x 450GB SAS disks and is not a high i/o environment.   The volumes initially would be root, share (CIFS?) for files, SQL (iSCSI?).  Then in the future add additional volumes like Exchange DB, Exchange logs and Hyper-V.  Until I virtualize I only want to use the NetApp box in conjunction with the file server to hold the SQL and file data.

Does this configuration sound ok?  Does each volume need a separate network port?  Or do I only need to assign iSCSI and CIFS to NIC's then configure the volumes to use that protoco/NICl?  I don’t understand completely but I think I need CIFS for the general file share and iSCSI for the SQL which would be on a separate VLAN to the client network.  Is this correct?

  

The clients should then not notice anything different as the shared file area will still come up as it’s on the server?  Or do I enable a port on the NetApp direct to the switch which the clients would connect over?

   

Thinking ahead and the virtualized platform I was going to have four/five servers running as Hyper-V’s on one Windows Server 8 box.  Purchasing an additional 4 port NIC so that I would have 8 NIC’s to play about with.  Would I need to also purchase an additional GS748TS and stack for redundancy purposes?  I would have a separate upgraded physical server for redundancy purposes to restore the Server
8 Hyper-V’s if needed. 

I think/hope this makes sense and I am roughly on the right track, I recognise the setup is not on the scale as a lot I have been reading about on these forums so I am assuming it should be a relatively straight forward setup/configuration.  We currently have around 700GB but this has no form of de-dupe at present so this should come down once on the NetApp box.

    

I have other questions but I think I need to sort the basics and the setup first before I look too far ahead.  I only mentioned the Virtualization in the future as I don’t want to start from scratch once we implement this.

    

Thanks in advance for any help/advice offered.

Chris

Re: Planning on purchasing a NetApp FAS2040

HI Chris,

Good post and well thought out…

You are basically on the right lines.

The 2040 I would imagine will ship with 12 drives (don’t think NetApp ship 6 drive boxes anymore, although could be wrong on that) first thing to consider is the you should look at a HA version of the box…basically a chassis unit with 2 controllers installed, this will provide you with redundancy to survive a controller failure as well as allowing for non-disruptive controller level upgrades, firmware updates etc.

From there the 2040 has 4 x 1gbe ports per controller (so 8 in the HA) version which can work independently or be trunked together if need be, they can also fail over between controllers again to maximise uptime in the event of a controller failure.

As for volumes you are on the right lines, obviously a key part of a NetApp solution is the unified aspect, the filer can act as a NAS box and provision storage to a SAN environment at the same time, so as you said can deliver CIFS shares (so will look like a Windows file servers to your users) and then block level access (iscsi sounds fine in your environment) for your server environment.

As for port allocation, yep you can assign those ports to specific roles and certainly VLAN or physically separate the iscsi traffic away from the general LAN makes perfect sense and is recommended in my experience.

So in terms of allocating storage, as far as the netapp box is concerned data is data and sits in a volume how you access it is then up to you…ISCSI data is mapped to ISCSI initiators so Windows can see it and use it…and CIFS you share directly from the netapp box via the system manager GUI…

So if you want to use the netapp snapshotting for SQL ensure you have snapmanager for SQL on the SQL box, this will dictate a minimum of 2 volumes (via LUNS) to be presented to that box…

I would also say no reason not to put Exchange on there as well…migration is simple and then Exchange can benefit from the NetApp capability as well…

As for Hyper-V and Windows 8… Windows 8 maybe by late this year…but no official word…Hyper-V now though is pretty robust…I’ve done a lot with that and NetApp, so some real benefits to be had.

Maybe worth considering two hyper-v servers for availability and resilience and same as suggested with the two switches…but all this comes down to your business requirements for uptime and availability really…

Last thing to think about is how you will hold off site copies of the data, so how you’ll get your backups from the NetApp box, consider NDMP as a possible solution to that…

But on the whole you are on the right lines… feel free to ask again if you want…

If you’re UK based…can always have a chat about your requirement as well if you wish…

Regards

Paul.

Re: Planning on purchasing a NetApp FAS2040

Hi Paul

Thanks for your reply good to know I was roughly on the right tracks!

    

In response I was definitely going to go with the 2 controller version as you mention for redundancy purposes so I would have 8 ports to play with.

On the subject of the 8 ports would I trunk two specifically for iSCSI for instance and then have all the block level data going through that?  Or do I go further and have two
for SQL data and then two for Exchange?  I am assuming not as I would run out of ports with only having 8 once I count up Exchange DB, Exchange Logs, SQL, Files and Hyper-V’s.

I take it the snapshotting for SQL would also apply if I wanted to do Exchange?  Which is why I have seen people saying about additional licences, as the SnapManager Suite doesn’t come with the FAS2040 so I would need to purchase this additionally?

Should I also look into the Complete Bundle (SnapRestore, SnapMirror, FlexClone and SnapVault) as this leads me to getting the backups off the NetApp box?  When speaking to the original NetApp representative I mentioned could I replicate the snapshots off the box onto a cheaper NAS box (Buffalo for instance) but he seemed to
insinuate no.  I kind of see his point as if the NetApp box was damaged in a fire what use would snapshots of it be on a piece of equipment that couldn’t use them.  But
for the size of firm we are I was thinking more of storing yearly snapshots as if the main building burnt down we would have more to worry about that just getting a replacement FAS2040.

So is the only option to use SnapVault and another NetApp FAS2040 box?  We have remote offices I can replicate to but obviously this is all going to massively drive up the
cost.  I did read somewhere that the cost of additional NetApp licences is where the bulk of the costs are but I cannot confirm that as I haven’t had any pricing yet.

We were going to have two servers capable of doing the Hyper-V’s one live and one backup that we could restore to in the event of a hardware failure on the live box.

I did see about Windows 8 being available around the 3rd quarter of this year but we wouldn’t dive straight in probably wait like mentioned till early to mid-2013.  Hopefully
any bugs will be ironed out and could look into some feedback regarding it before making the jump.

I am UK based indeed are you a user, reseller or employee of NetApp?  I only ask as mentioned we haven’t had a reseller contact us yet so if you are a reseller I could probably discuss prices or if not recommend someone?

Whatever the outcome of the above thanks for your help it has been very informative, do I mark the above as an answer (Do you get points for helping others?) and still be able to award other posts as being helpful/answered or am I best waiting until the conversation is finished?

Cheers

Chris

Re: Planning on purchasing a NetApp FAS2040

Hi Chris,

Firstly you’re welcome and welcome to the world of NetApp!!!

So anyway going through your extra points…and again pretty much on the right lines…

So I’ll try to answer your queries in the order they were asked!

OK so good choice…the box will definelty have 12 disks (no dual controller version will ship with 6 drives) and you will need to be aware of the NetApp requirement to assign disks to both controllers, this will have impact on usable space…

On trunking whether for ISCSI you trunk, or use multipathing, depends on setup and requirement, I tend to be a fan of ISCSI multipath rather than trunking, but personal preference… but in answer to your question…you just assign ports for ISCSI and all block traffic goes down that… so Exchange, SQL, Hyper-V while you can then do the same for your file level traffic, obviously a necessity with your VLANs to do this…but also a good practice I’d say… technically however, all the file and block traffic can go down a single port and will still work with no problems…but probably not what you need!

So in terms of a 2040 you’ll buy it with a software bundle attached, the Windows bundle in your case at least, this will include SnapManager for Exchange, SQL and Hyper-V as well as other stuff, including SnapMirror and your SnapVault licences if you want to look at vaulting to another NetApp based location… so buy with one of those, pricing is very attractive with those bundles and almost crazy not to!!! With that you shouldn’t need anything separate.

On bundles the complete bundle adds a couple of things, cloning and multistore (a method to virtualise the filer almost) so may or may not be worthwhile…I’d look at the cost difference and see if it makes sense…

As for off siting…so a definate no to a non NetApp device, well at least using SnapVault to do it...SV needs a NetApp source and destination.

In single site implementation previoulsy we have done things like use Backup Exec with its NDMP agent to migrate data from the filer to tape for off site storage…only issue with that…if you do lose the filer you need an NDMP device to restore to…or we have just used BE to backup Snapshot raw data and CIFS shares as it would normally to get stuff to tape as an off site solution…so that’s a definite and popular option we’ve found.

NetApp licences are not the same dark art they once where…so wouldn’t worry to much about that…

If you where going to have to Hyper-V hosts I’d consider clustering them anyway…the cluster cost normally sits in the storage…which you are going to invest in anyway…so maybe worth considering…the only thing I’d say with Hyper-V is the current version is spot on…and will deliver what you need…if you wanted to virtualise now rather than wait…you’d be fine with it as it stands…I’ve got some good size Hyper-V/NetApp implementations that show its stability and scalability in its current form.

As for the community message and how to mark it…actually I’m a member of the support community champions group, so there’s about a dozen of us at the minute, who have been seen as helpful on the communities so they ask us for our input in how the communities are running…one of the things we’re trying to encourage is ensuring people highlight helpful information and when queries are answered, just so we can see the effectiveness of it…

If you want to wait until the thread ends, that’s fine…just encourage you to mark it one way or the other, just as this is helpful to the communities admins…

I’ve sent you a private message on communities as well if you do want to contact me about pricing etc…but don’t feel that you have to…just drop on here to help where I can…

Regards

Paul.