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skullone
Jan 28, 2009


New user to the forums, but I've lurked on and off for years. Oddly, SA comes up on some google searches for the thing I'm about to talk about...

The Sun X4540 server, or the "Thor" for the Sun sales people who like to impress PHBs...

We just got a pair of X4540's, 48x 1TB drives, with RaidZ (8 groups) we are left with about 32TB useable on each.
Sun promised us that ZFS snapshot replication would work so well, so well in fact that they wanted to use us as a whitepaper study to schill more of their products.

Aside from some initial problems with ZFS snapshot replication (it was so ungodly slow at first), and file systems not mounting in the write order at boot up, these units are starting to fill their roll (albeit months behind schedule).

Word to others who purchase any type of NAS/SAN from -ANY- vendor:
Interview your vendor plenty, even if they bring the "big guns" from corporate who tell you how loving awesome they all are, it doesn't matter.
Get evaluation units in your hands for a few months before you give them a dime, it will save you headaches, cash, and maybe even your job.

And whatever NAS/SAN you get, it'll suck. There will always be odd performance problems that you'll have to spend hours troubleshooting before your vendor will listen to what your saying, only to have them say its a known problem, and a patch will be ready in a few weeks.

I'm not bitter or anything :)

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skullone
Jan 28, 2009


bbatter posted:

Bit of a side track here, but its worth mentioning that Sun are by far the shittiest vendor in Australia. All the storage at work is (unfortunately) Sun, including 1 massive 100% uptime SAN I wont identify here.

So far the storage has been ok (you might be in luck!), apart from the fact that low model storage (6140 style) has no way to replace the (redundant!) cache batteries without turning your storage off.

The problem is that sun support is just a loving joke. And you'll be using it too with the frequency that sun products poo poo themselves. If its not too late, ask Sun for written assurances that they have spare disks available within your support time frame. Take great care with your support contract - by default suns 4 hour parts replacement is 4 hours from when they agree to replace the part, not 4 hours from fault lodgement.

You guys are scaring me... I already have a drive with predictive failure on my Sun box. Haven't reported it to Sun yet... but now I'm thinking "this RAID-Z set with hot spares isn't look as good as RAID-Z2 anymore"

I pretty much fired our Sun reseller last night, and I'm trying to find a new rep at Sun to get us the stuff we need.
Siiiigh.

skullone
Jan 28, 2009


Thought I'd provide an update on my Sun X4540 / Thor adventures.
I haven't had a lot of time to devote to it, so it's been sitting around as a $100k test environment... would've been my dream to play around with it had I not been so busy.

We had to use OpenSolaris 2008.11 for the in-kernel CIFS service, but it introduced us to a bit of a "void" with Sun support. Granted, we PAID for Solaris -and- OpenSolaris support contracts, when you call/e-mail support regarding OpenSolaris, the Sun support people are virtually useless. They know nothing about OpenSolaris, and still think it's not even released yet (my christ...).
So I've been doing all my own support related to ZFS snapshots, replication, iSCSI target software, network stack kernel panics, and on and on.

I'm really not happy with Sun themselves, but theres nowhere else you can get 100TB for $100k, even with some of the issues we're running into, its a good deal.

Most of my issues are resolved, or worked around, and we're seeing 100+MB/sec on CIFS reads and writes, and iSCSI performance is near wire-speed as well.
Though we did have to disable the ZIL, which puts us at a small risk for data loss, before it enters production I intend to install a separate file system log device on an SSD or something for performance.

I'm at the point now, that bonded GigE ports aren't enough, we can saturate 400MB/sec quite easily, and the Sun box isn't even sweating. I'm hoping with 10GigE, I can make the server get a good workout!

Overall, if you have Solaris/OpenSolaris experience, and some time to work out kinks in your environment, I'm pleased with our solution.
However, if you are faint of heart, or lack Solaris skills, stay away from Sun for the time being.

With risk, comes reward though. Or loss of your job.

skullone
Jan 28, 2009


complex posted:

Windows Server, not sure what version, 2003? I'm not a Windows guy.

I use the OpenSolaris COMSTAR iSCSI target, with both Win2k3 and Win2k8 iSCSI initiators.
Note: I DID disable the ZIL. I saw terrible numbers with it enabled (almost as slow as entry level EMC/BluArc)

I'll get some DRAM ZIL device someday... I hope

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