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iSCSI Hardware

We are looking into purchasing a FAS3240 and FAS2240 for two sites respectively. I am fairly convinced that 10gb iSCSI will be more than sufficient to handle our storage requirements. I am now at the point where I must decide on a switching infrastructure and am stuck between Cisco and Brocade. As well, I am trying to decide which iSCSI HBA we should get for offloading. We are looking into purchasing 2 switches and 4 hba's for 2 ESX 5.0 hosts connected to the NetApp systems. I am very familiar with Cisco switching, however the price of the Nexus 5000 line has me looking into other options such as Brocade VDX. Does anyone have any practical experiences either positive or negative about either? Would there be some justification to the Nexus unit being essentially double the price of the Brocade? Any HBA recommendations? I am still getting up to speed on storage networking and any tips or info would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance

Re: iSCSI Hardware

I have always like purchasing Brocade kit because the network team do not like to touch it because it does not say Cisco and this keeps them out of our storage infrastructure.  More a political thing, rather than a technical reason.

Hope it helps

Bren

Re: iSCSI Hardware

I currently have a mixture of Brocade 48000's, 5100's and nexus 7000, 5000 and 2000's

The nexus 5000's are very good IMHO, and once you start using fabric extenders and VPC's it becomes a very scalable soultion that is easy to manage.

Im now using co-location in a providers datacentre so couldnt really justify the rack space for 2x 6513's and 2x DCX's then the associated space for patch panels etc. We run a nexus 7000 core within a VDC and then run a 5000 series pair hanging off that with our storage in here as a mixture of native FC and FCOE.. and then 10Gb CNA's connected to the 2000's in a centre of rack rather than top of rack deployment.

I think the 5000's are a good starting point, but obviously they arent the cheapest, but Netapp can supply these, so depending on the size of the account and your order you maybe able to negotiate something with your account manager.

I personally dont see myself implementing any new brocade deployments within our environment.

David

Re: iSCSI Hardware

I do not think OP meant Brocade FC switches; rather Brocade Ethernet switches as alternative to Nexus.

Re: iSCSI Hardware

In that case Cisco for Ethernet all day long (forgot Brocade bought foundry networks!)

Re: iSCSI Hardware

I do appreciate the input. Aborzenkov is correct, I am specifically considering both for Ethernet implementation and trying to justify the price point of the Nexus product to that end. From what I can see the Brocade featureset is seemingly more capable then the Nexus product for half the price as it applies to iSCSI. The Brocade version of STP, load balancing, and plug and play nature of the VDX seems like huge benefit. That being said, you always get what you pay for and I am "Cisco Guy" so the decision is difficult .

Re: iSCSI Hardware

VDX does not use STP at all. It runs proprietary protocol encapsulated in TRILL packets which ensures shortest path between each pair of switches. All links between switches in VCS fabric are always active. There is very little configuration necessary - fabric is formed automatically. It also seamlessly inter-operates with classic STP by virtue of being fully transparent - other switches see VCS fabric as single medium.

It also arguably more scalable than Nexus vPC which allows 2 switches only. Brocade at the moment supports up to 8 switches if I am not mistaken and you can configure LAG across any switches. But to have more than two switches in VCS fabric you will need additional license ...

VDX is used in one of projects I am involved in as 10G backbone. I am not aware of major issues. But neither have I seen major issues with Nexus which is used in other projects ...

Re: iSCSI Hardware

I believe VDX is own Brocade development, not directly coming from Foundry heritage.

Re: iSCSI Hardware

I like the sound of the multiple switches participating, will have to have a read up on that. From what I remember the nexus's don't actually follow trill as it wasn't a ratified standard and cisco use a proprietry 'standard' that's not to say they won't evolve or haven't already.

David Wallis

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Callcredit Information Group

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