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ddavis
Dec 12, 2008


I inherited a Dell AX100 that's a bit long in the tooth. It hosts our Exchange database, SQL database, file shares, and some MS .vhds.

I'm looking to replace this soon and go full tilt with a few VMware servers to virtualize our entire environment.
My question is: one of the key benefits of virtualization (at least from my perspective) is that it divorces the server from the underlying hardware. Servers become pretty generic and interchangeable. Why then isn't it common to follow this same line of thinking and run a SAN on commodity hardware? You'd get all the benefits of an enterprise SAN without the proprietary software. Then down the road when you need to replace something that's no longer supported, it's trivial. Or upgrading becomes much cheaper because you can easily embrace whatever disk interface gives best performance/cost ratio. Does it mainly have to do with support contracts? Or am I missing some big picture aspect?

Something like Openfiler, FreeNAS or even this article seem like viable solutions since iSCSI and NAS are both supported in VMware.

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ddavis
Dec 12, 2008


Ok, this all makes sense. Thanks for the responses.
I was thinking I'd replace the AX100 with a AX4-5F and then use the AX100 offsite with some of our older servers for a DR hotsite.

But I'm not positive a SAN is the way to go. I've read things that proclaim speed on a NAS is just as good if not better. And something like the PowerVault NF500 or NF600 seem really cheap. Are the pluses for SANs things like snapshots and replication?

ddavis
Dec 12, 2008


Catch 22 posted:

AX4 is host based replication, just FYI

I'm still a newb when it comes to SANs, but I take it that means you can only do it via PowerPath/Navisphere loaded on attached hosts?

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