How to start speccing a SAN?


I'm planning on implementing a SAN in the next 6 months and would like some advice on choosing a storage system and software packs.

I've got a mix of critical systems (Oracle and some business specific applications) and not so critical systems as ESXi VMs. Each of our ESXi servers currently use DAS and I'm looking to migrate them to a SAN to use things like vMotion, DRS, HA. I've got a gigabit Ethernet network so would like to use iSCSI and currently only need about 3TB per site (2 sites).

I realise I'll need some of the additional software packs and I like some of features of all of them but I'm not sure which ones are necessary/good/superfluous.

I've been recommended the FAS-2040 which seems like a good piece of kit but I'm not sure what features something like the FAS-3210 has which I might need.

Basically I'd like to choose something that works very well with ESXi and has lots of features that'll make my life easier. Reliability, uptime, snapshots for dev and near-instantaneous recovery/failover are the most important features I'm looking for - can anybody make some suggestions?


Re: How to start speccing a SAN?

Hi Michael,

I've passed this along and hopefully can get some info / direction for you.

FYI - there is a SAN blog that may offer some high level perspective as well...



Message was edited by: Teresa Peluso

Thanks so much!
Terri Peluso
Senior Community Program Manager

Re: How to start speccing a SAN?

Hi welcome to the community

OMG, the sales people are going to be all over you!!!!

I would say the most important thing is a 1st rate supplier who can design you a system, implement it and then help support it going forward.  One thing is for certain, it will start small and grow fast, as more and more systems (Exchange, CIFS, NFS, VMware, VDI, Snapmirror, Snapvault, OOSV) get added to the SAN later.  My last employer had EMC/HP kit and then I changed jobs 3+ years ago and now look after 13 NetApp filers and over 1/2 a petabyte of storage.  I have no problem recommending NetApp storage or the NetApp management/backup agents but you realy need to find a good supplier to help you get started.

The NetApp Data OnTap operating system is common to all filers so the features are the same.  The main choice for me when thinking of FAS2000 or FAS3100 systems would be future growth.  The FAS2100 is smaller (fewer expansion slots, ports and smaller processor & memory size) and lower costs, also the software bundles allow you to add features cheaply.  The FAS3100 is a real scalable work horse but costs more.  If your company is small go for the smaller box, again the supplier will be able to tell you where the sweet spot is in terms of sizing and feature costs.  Be sure to look at SnapManager for Oracle, SnapManager of Virutal Infrastructure, NetApp's SRM plug ins and hosting your Oracle & VMware via NFS.

If your employer is going to want you to support the SAN, get them to include the week long NetApp Foundation course in the sale price.  It is a great introduction to everything you need to know.

Hope it helps


Re: How to start speccing a SAN?

Hi Bren,

Thanks for your advice. We've been speaking to a reputable provider and have been told the 3 series will be too costly for our requirements so we'll probably go for the 2040's as they support the latest OS and are quite a bit better than the 2020's.

Now that we've decided on which model to go for, we've been told to look at our storage, disk performance and software requirements. Storage and disk performance shouldn't be too difficult but it's going to take a bit of research into all the different software packages and exactly what each of them will do (and the potential benefit to us).

It'll be a little hard deciding on software I've never seen and can't evaluate but hopefully I can read other peoples' reviews and see some videos about the software.



Re: How to start speccing a SAN?

It is always better to talk about these things with your peers.  Can your Sales person but you in touch with a reference customer?  Where are you based?  The list of NetApp User Groups lives here

Well worth taking a day out and learning what is new and what works well.

Flexclone is a great feature and well worth having.  Snapdrive on each host will make you life easy if you want to use LUNs.