MatthewMcG
1 Copper

NetApp FAS2240-2

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Hello All,

Looking at the EqualLogic PS4100X and the NetApp FAS2240-2 for entry level SAN.  10k drives.  Pros and Cons to both solutions.  NetApp has some nices fetures such as CIFS, more Gig prorts per controller, can add disk arrays withgout adding controllers which reduces costs of expansion, etc.  Why should I choose the PS4100X over the FAS2240-2?

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Accepted Solutions

Re: NetApp FAS2240-2

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Hello,

Each vendor has taken different approaches to storage.  So direct comparisons are more difficult.  One key benefit of the EQL individual member design is greater flexibility.  I can add a new storage unit to a group and decide to either add it to  existing storage to increase capacity or as new independent storage in that same group.  Then change my mind and merge or separate them later on or remove a member and move it somewhere else seamlessly.   The data will remain in the original group in that case.

With each new EQL member, you add cache/cpu and disk controllers.  With top down like NetApp, adding more disks puts more load on that one controller head.   Also when it comes time to upgrade HW, with NetApp, you have to manually copy data from the old storage to the new array via the host.  With EQL you can add in the new storage and migrate the data in the background. The array handles the heavy lifting.   Including moving volumes from one storage pool to a different one, live, wo having to make changes at the host.  So you purchase a faster array, create new pool, migrate volumes to new storage without downtime.

Another difference in licensing.  You don't have to repurchase the firmware or new add on software as long as you have a contract on the system.  That's a big savings compared to other vendors.  So all the Windows, Linux, VMware integration software, the SANHQ monitoring software is a no cost option.   I say "no cost" because I don't know many people that have large NAS/SAN's w/o support contracts.   The most current firmware runs on the oldest HW.  So you won't lose out on some new feature two years from now because you purchased a 4100X today.   There are still many customers running the legacy PS50-PS400 and PS3xxxx  series arrays today.  They have a clear path to new HW.

I've asked some other folks who are more versed in NetApp to reply as well.  

Regards,

Social Media and Community Professional
#IWork4Dell
Get Support on Twitter - @dellcarespro

Re: NetApp FAS2240-2

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Hi Matt,

You’ve got some good responses from Don & other folks here.  I work for Dell’s EqualLogic product team (so I have my preference). Determining the right storage choice for any particular application probably warrants a more in-depth discussion with a systems/sales engineer, so a good bet would be to contact a Dell technical sales staff or that of a channel partner to discuss your specific needs.

That said, when comparing the NetApp FAS2240, or any member of the FAS2000 family to EqualLogic, there are a number of factors to consider:

• Scalability – to ensure enough capacity is available today and in the future EqualLogic can scale to over 700 drives in a single system by simply adding additional EqualLogic arrays without disrupting operations.

• Flexibility and simplicity in configuration

-Arrays of different drive type and size can be mixed in common pools, eliminating the burden of managing separate groups of drives organized by controller or drive type.

                  -EqualLogic’s tiering architecture delivers optimal utilization of heterogeneous drive technologies driving down overall TCO.  While NetApp advocates the use of flash cache as an alternative to tiering, this technology has a number of limitations compared to tiering and actually is not supported at all in the FAS2000 family.

-When needed, performance can be increased with EqualLogic by simply adding arrays which brings to bear the additional power of both drives and controllers.  There is no need to perform disruptive controller upgrades as EqualLogic always balances the number of controllers and drives.

• SAN or NAS or both – EqualLogic’s family includes the FS7500 Unified Storage Solution option which offers NAS (CIFS/NFS) connectivity for environments in which a SAN-only approach isn’t ideal.   Based on Dell’s Fluid File System, the FS7500 allows users to start with a SAN-only environment and expand to NAS as workflows dictate.  

• Software licensing – EqualLogic’s all-inclusive approach to licensing drives down both upfront costs as well as on-going support expenses, lowering overall TCO.

There are a couple other things I’ll mention. One is that in an EqualLogic customer satisfaction survey an analyst firm (The Yankee Group) runs for Dell, 93% of the customers that had both EqualLogic and NetApp installed would recommend EqualLogic.  The net of that, I’d recommend doing more of what you’re doing – talk to people who have had experience with both systems. I know a couple who’d probably be willing to talk 1-1 if you want.

Many of our EqualLogic customers have opted to run Windows File Services out of a VM instead of deploying a NAS device. This is very common in our install base, as are the applications (SQL, Exchange) and  VMware you want to run on your storage device.

To respond to some of your other comments about what you want.  “Quality, value, performance, "easy" management”- those are indeed right up EqualLogic’s alley. Ease of use is a bit of a religion for our engineering team.

And yes, our systems can indeed dynamically (and manually if needed) migrate across members in the SAN.

Good luck with your research.

-Dylan

Re: NetApp FAS2240-2

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Thanks Dylan,

There's one other feature that directly addresses performance and scalability.   When you have more than one member in a pool, the data is striped across the members.  With 5.1.x firmware, the members will balance IO to prevent a single member from doing more work than the others.  They will exchange busy blocks, known as "hot" pages with another members "cold" pages.  This is know as "Performance Load Balancing".   It's done by monitoring the relative latency of each member.  Part of the "tiering architecture" Dylan mentioned.

Regards,

Social Media and Community Professional
#IWork4Dell
Get Support on Twitter - @dellcarespro

razvar
1 Copper

Re: NetApp FAS2240-2

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Hello Matt,

Benefits of Equallogic:

1- Lower maintenance renewal cost and slower growth of renewal after 3rd year

2- Easy to manage (although managing NetApp is not much harder)

3- You can dynamically move Volumes from one member to the other (but as I understand you will be
purchasing just one)

4-Same software regardless which model you choose.

5-More RAID configuration options and the option to change from faster RAIDs to Slower RAIDs to gain
storage space.

Benefits of NetApp:

1- You can increase and decrease the size of volumes. (By Equallogic you can just increase)

2- Smaller block size (4kb) in snapshots and replications (Equallogic has a 512KB block size).

3- Deduplication (you will see the effect on files and Exchange 2010 databases but not on
Exchange 2003 or SQL)

4- Active /Active controllers better performance and in case you have to replace one, you
do not need to be worry about loosing a connection to a host.

5-SAN and NAS functionality.

Now because I think this is your first SAN storage, please let me tell you a few things you
did not ask:

Better double the amount of storage you think you will need and calculate your needs for the
next 5 years, after you have done so, never think about upgrading or expanding
your storage and the reason why is because every year storage becomes more
affordable and the technology changes, new arrays are introduced with better
power efficiency, performance etc. The other reason is that the support renewal
of SAN storage starts going up after 5 years, so replacing it becomes more
beneficial.  Having one array will cost
you one maintenance renewal and having two will cost you twice, so better keep
your needs in one per location.

All these said, we have had Equallogic for the past 5 years and have been very pleased with the
support, performance and reliability. I have heard the same from NetApp.

Ultimately each benefit I listed may or may not be important in your
environment, for instance how many times you will need to decrease a volume
size or how many time you will need to dynamically move a volume from one
storage to the other, these are the real questions you can ask and then choose
the solution that meets your requirements.

Razmik Vartanian

 

12 Replies
Dev Mgr
5 Rhenium

Re: NetApp FAS2240-2

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Is the NetApp a NAS system (as it supports CIFS)? If so, you cannot compare an Equallogic PS-series to this NetApp.

If the NetApp is a NAS as well as a SAN it becomes a different story.

Don (dwilliams62) will hopefully chime in, as he is one of the Equallogic engineers I think.

Member since 2003

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tommo666
3 Zinc

Re: NetApp FAS2240-2

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Netapp started as a NAS but have evolved and provide SAN features such as FC and iscsi connectivety. The later offerings are switching to a SAS 6gb backend. They are based on a pc type motherboard with pci/pci-e slots and are upgradeable. The filler can be single or dual conroller and runs active/active.

As for which is best, cant answer that one. it depends what you are expecting from the array, what you want to do with it in the future and always the biggie, price.

0 Kudos

Re: NetApp FAS2240-2

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Hello,

Each vendor has taken different approaches to storage.  So direct comparisons are more difficult.  One key benefit of the EQL individual member design is greater flexibility.  I can add a new storage unit to a group and decide to either add it to  existing storage to increase capacity or as new independent storage in that same group.  Then change my mind and merge or separate them later on or remove a member and move it somewhere else seamlessly.   The data will remain in the original group in that case.

With each new EQL member, you add cache/cpu and disk controllers.  With top down like NetApp, adding more disks puts more load on that one controller head.   Also when it comes time to upgrade HW, with NetApp, you have to manually copy data from the old storage to the new array via the host.  With EQL you can add in the new storage and migrate the data in the background. The array handles the heavy lifting.   Including moving volumes from one storage pool to a different one, live, wo having to make changes at the host.  So you purchase a faster array, create new pool, migrate volumes to new storage without downtime.

Another difference in licensing.  You don't have to repurchase the firmware or new add on software as long as you have a contract on the system.  That's a big savings compared to other vendors.  So all the Windows, Linux, VMware integration software, the SANHQ monitoring software is a no cost option.   I say "no cost" because I don't know many people that have large NAS/SAN's w/o support contracts.   The most current firmware runs on the oldest HW.  So you won't lose out on some new feature two years from now because you purchased a 4100X today.   There are still many customers running the legacy PS50-PS400 and PS3xxxx  series arrays today.  They have a clear path to new HW.

I've asked some other folks who are more versed in NetApp to reply as well.  

Regards,

Social Media and Community Professional
#IWork4Dell
Get Support on Twitter - @dellcarespro

MatthewMcG
1 Copper

Re: NetApp FAS2240-2

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Thank you all for your feedback.  I am also looking forward to feedback from some people hat have some more NetApp experience as well.

I have come to some of the same conclusion that have been pointed out as strength \weaknesses of both products.  We will be using the SAN for Windows File Serving (if we choose EQL we will place a VM in front), lower IO SQL DB's, Exchange DB and maybe a few VM's.

NetApp has the built in CIFS and seems like a greater variety of "features", which some must be licensed for at an additional cost.  Also, they have dedupliction which is beneficial although not as important for us right now.

I am looking for quality, value, performance, "easy" management, and it would be nice to have CIFS built in as well.  Replication, deduplication will be more important in a year time frame.  I also want to migrate data across members without any downtime which might limit my options to EQL.

I have also read that NetApp management is "harder" then EQL.  I am not exactly sure what that means, but one thing that was pointed out is that an Admin must configure the controllers separately which seems like a pain in the butt.

Again, thank you all for you feedback.

Matt

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Re: NetApp FAS2240-2

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Hi Matt,

You are most welcome.

Re: Mgmt, it's not the first time I've heard that said about Netapp.  One of the founding goals of EQL was to simply the installation and operation of SAN storage.

If I might sight a personal example.   I first started with EQL technology in '04.  I was a contractor writing tech white papers for EQL.   Basically, they sat me down, gave me the login credentials and about 5 min tour.  After that I was on my own.  I've been working with storage for more than 25 years.  Nothing I've ever worked with was as easy.  Setting up groups, volumes, etc was dead simple.

Social Media and Community Professional
#IWork4Dell
Get Support on Twitter - @dellcarespro

0 Kudos

Re: NetApp FAS2240-2

Jump to solution

Hi Matt,

You’ve got some good responses from Don & other folks here.  I work for Dell’s EqualLogic product team (so I have my preference). Determining the right storage choice for any particular application probably warrants a more in-depth discussion with a systems/sales engineer, so a good bet would be to contact a Dell technical sales staff or that of a channel partner to discuss your specific needs.

That said, when comparing the NetApp FAS2240, or any member of the FAS2000 family to EqualLogic, there are a number of factors to consider:

• Scalability – to ensure enough capacity is available today and in the future EqualLogic can scale to over 700 drives in a single system by simply adding additional EqualLogic arrays without disrupting operations.

• Flexibility and simplicity in configuration

-Arrays of different drive type and size can be mixed in common pools, eliminating the burden of managing separate groups of drives organized by controller or drive type.

                  -EqualLogic’s tiering architecture delivers optimal utilization of heterogeneous drive technologies driving down overall TCO.  While NetApp advocates the use of flash cache as an alternative to tiering, this technology has a number of limitations compared to tiering and actually is not supported at all in the FAS2000 family.

-When needed, performance can be increased with EqualLogic by simply adding arrays which brings to bear the additional power of both drives and controllers.  There is no need to perform disruptive controller upgrades as EqualLogic always balances the number of controllers and drives.

• SAN or NAS or both – EqualLogic’s family includes the FS7500 Unified Storage Solution option which offers NAS (CIFS/NFS) connectivity for environments in which a SAN-only approach isn’t ideal.   Based on Dell’s Fluid File System, the FS7500 allows users to start with a SAN-only environment and expand to NAS as workflows dictate.  

• Software licensing – EqualLogic’s all-inclusive approach to licensing drives down both upfront costs as well as on-going support expenses, lowering overall TCO.

There are a couple other things I’ll mention. One is that in an EqualLogic customer satisfaction survey an analyst firm (The Yankee Group) runs for Dell, 93% of the customers that had both EqualLogic and NetApp installed would recommend EqualLogic.  The net of that, I’d recommend doing more of what you’re doing – talk to people who have had experience with both systems. I know a couple who’d probably be willing to talk 1-1 if you want.

Many of our EqualLogic customers have opted to run Windows File Services out of a VM instead of deploying a NAS device. This is very common in our install base, as are the applications (SQL, Exchange) and  VMware you want to run on your storage device.

To respond to some of your other comments about what you want.  “Quality, value, performance, "easy" management”- those are indeed right up EqualLogic’s alley. Ease of use is a bit of a religion for our engineering team.

And yes, our systems can indeed dynamically (and manually if needed) migrate across members in the SAN.

Good luck with your research.

-Dylan

Re: NetApp FAS2240-2

Jump to solution

Thanks Dylan,

There's one other feature that directly addresses performance and scalability.   When you have more than one member in a pool, the data is striped across the members.  With 5.1.x firmware, the members will balance IO to prevent a single member from doing more work than the others.  They will exchange busy blocks, known as "hot" pages with another members "cold" pages.  This is know as "Performance Load Balancing".   It's done by monitoring the relative latency of each member.  Part of the "tiering architecture" Dylan mentioned.

Regards,

Social Media and Community Professional
#IWork4Dell
Get Support on Twitter - @dellcarespro

tommo666
3 Zinc

Re: NetApp FAS2240-2

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I work with both Dell and Netapp as an authorised server partner, the main thing that i get involved with is the hardware break/fix. I am pleased to say that both support teams offer similar world class support. So which ever way you go, the support you'll get will be excellent.

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razvar
1 Copper

Re: NetApp FAS2240-2

Jump to solution

Hello Matt,

Benefits of Equallogic:

1- Lower maintenance renewal cost and slower growth of renewal after 3rd year

2- Easy to manage (although managing NetApp is not much harder)

3- You can dynamically move Volumes from one member to the other (but as I understand you will be
purchasing just one)

4-Same software regardless which model you choose.

5-More RAID configuration options and the option to change from faster RAIDs to Slower RAIDs to gain
storage space.

Benefits of NetApp:

1- You can increase and decrease the size of volumes. (By Equallogic you can just increase)

2- Smaller block size (4kb) in snapshots and replications (Equallogic has a 512KB block size).

3- Deduplication (you will see the effect on files and Exchange 2010 databases but not on
Exchange 2003 or SQL)

4- Active /Active controllers better performance and in case you have to replace one, you
do not need to be worry about loosing a connection to a host.

5-SAN and NAS functionality.

Now because I think this is your first SAN storage, please let me tell you a few things you
did not ask:

Better double the amount of storage you think you will need and calculate your needs for the
next 5 years, after you have done so, never think about upgrading or expanding
your storage and the reason why is because every year storage becomes more
affordable and the technology changes, new arrays are introduced with better
power efficiency, performance etc. The other reason is that the support renewal
of SAN storage starts going up after 5 years, so replacing it becomes more
beneficial.  Having one array will cost
you one maintenance renewal and having two will cost you twice, so better keep
your needs in one per location.

All these said, we have had Equallogic for the past 5 years and have been very pleased with the
support, performance and reliability. I have heard the same from NetApp.

Ultimately each benefit I listed may or may not be important in your
environment, for instance how many times you will need to decrease a volume
size or how many time you will need to dynamically move a volume from one
storage to the other, these are the real questions you can ask and then choose
the solution that meets your requirements.

Razmik Vartanian