Jan 262011
 

Well, you tell me. You and / or your company have just invested more money in an EqualLogic SAN than the cost of your own vehicle. Heck, probably several vehicles. In other words, you’ve invested – or are about to invest – a lot of money into a premium EqualLogic iSCSI SAN solution…a solution that actually does what it says it’s gonna do. So, yeah, you need ProSupport…but now a couple of questions arise:

What kind of ProSupport do I need…and how much does EqualLogic Support Cost?

Okay, let me break it down for you.

There are two major types of ProSupport – Mission-Critical (MC) and Next Business Day (NBD). From these two options, you have a choice between 1, 3, 4 or 5 years of ProSupport when you initially purchase your EqualLogic SAN in addition to different response times (2-hour, 4-hour, 6-hour).

So which do you choose…? Simple. Listen closely…actually, read closely…

Mission-Critical – select this option for one or multiple reasons:

  1. The EqualLogic SAN will be placed in a location where there will be no technical staff available to physically manage it
  2. Your organization has true mission-critical applications that rely heavily upon the EqualLogic SAN being up always…you know, the kinds of applications you’d get a pink slip for if they ever go down
  3. You simply need the peace of mind that someone will show up within two or four hours with spare EqualLogic parts and a red cape to come and save the day and fix it for you
  4. Your company can afford it, you have some free money (let’s talk…I can help you here…ha!) and / or your company simply has a business requirement that all applications be serviced with mission-critical support agreements
  5. Lack the technical confidence of changing out hot-swappable parts and would rather allocate just a bit more time on “other” projects

Next Business Day – select this option for one or multiple reasons:

  1. None of the above reasons under Mission-Critical really apply
  2. The location where the EqualLogic SAN is to be located is surrounded with technical gurus
  3. Your technical confidence and competence is through the roof
  4. You really don’t have the money for Mission-Critical…but, hey, don’t worry about it…most companies are in this spot as well…
  5. You like to get your hands dirty and exercise those technical skills once in a while…trust me, swapping out hot-swappable parts and configuring a SAN in under 20 minutes can be hard work…

That’s really just about it. But don’t forget…we have EqualLogic Pricing available through our self-service pricing model to give you the options. Honestly, Dell doesn’t do this…you know what they do…? They tuck the cost of ProSupport in with the cost of the array…we don’t do that, we give you ProSupport choices and break it out through our EqualLogic Pricing model. Give me a call or email…I’ll explain it all that ProSupport stuff to you from what’s in it, the differences, etc. All of it.

And, oh, there’s another reason why you need ProSupport. Dell requires it. Yup, that’s right…

 Posted by at 12:11 pm
Jan 152011
 

Okay, so you tell me you need an EqualLogic iSCSI SAN SAS array. But do you really need a SAS array…? I mean, do you reeeeeeeally need a SAS array…? Let’s look at the facts and see if what you have and what you need match up…fair…?

There’s no doubt that you’ve heard that SAS is fast, right? Oh, yeah. In fact, EqualLogic SAS units are extremely fast and have been known (and documented) to even outperform their fibre channel counterparts. Take that, fibre channel!!!

The SAS EqualLogic iSCSI SAN units can come in 10K or 15K RPM drive speeds within the EqualLogic PS4000X, PS4000XV, PS6000X, PS6000XV, PS6010X and PS6010XV models. For the EqualLogic PS6500X and PS6510X models, only 10K RPM drive speeds are available…for now.

So, let’s take a look at what you have. Hmmm…you have some file data and maybe some Exchange and SQL. Yes, database applications are usually pretty demanding and may merit faster drive speeds…SAS would definitely do the trick…

However…

Have you done a perfmon yet…? What’s a perfmon you might ask…? It stands for Performance Monitor (perfmon), and it’s a tool that helps you assess the (storage) traffic on your network. It’ll show you how many IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second) your network is pushing through, where your peak traffic times are and all that good stuff. Federal Appliance happens to coordinate these for free for our clients in an attempt to more accurately assess which EqualLogic iSCSI SAN you might need…whether it’s a SAS or a SATA.

Rule of thumb?

If your IOPS are more than 600 or so, you might want to consider a SAS unit. If it’s under this, you might be better off staying with a SATA unit. Why pay for more horsepower than your network really needs…? SAS does cost more…about 20% to 40%, on average, but if you don’t need it don’t buy it. I have plenty of clients running multiple database applications in their environment across an EqualLogic SATA unit…and it’s more than enough for them. Every client is different.

But there are other circumstances that might drive the need for an EqualLogic SAS unit over a SATA one…such as file size, imaging requirements, disaster recovery, replication needs, additional database applications, SAP implementations, ERP implementations, Oracle, DB2, clustering, future growth, and so on.

Still not sure with EqualLogic SAN is right for you…? Neither am I…heck, that’s why we need to talk. Now. Until we discuss your requirements and assess your traffic with a perfmon or some other network tool, we really won’t know for sure. But knowing what you need will help you build a business case for that EqualLogic SAN you’ve always wanted. You know, that nice new EqualLogic PS6000XV-9.6TB array that those financial tightwads in upper management declined last year…? Well, now you’ve got ammo…so go ahead, buy that PS6000XV-9.6TB…we’ve got your back…

Jan 062011
 

One of the first questions I get from clients who look into the Dell EqualLogic PS6000 series is “Why is it so expensive…?” (get a self-service EqualLogic price quote here if you want to compare yourself).

This question is normally posed shortly after they strive to recover from a five-minute bout of sticker shock as I aid them in readjusting their jaw (which has fallen to the floor by this time…). But this question is a valid one…I mean, you can get the same capacity in the EqualLogic PS4000 for about 30% less cha-ching…so what’s the difference…?

First, I tell my clients to look at their company’s needs and answer a few questions:

  • How much growth are you experiencing year-by-year?
  • How much data do you acquire year-by-year?
  • What (database) applications are you running?
  • Are you looking to do Disaster Recovery or deploy an iSCSI SAN in multiple locations?
  • How many Gigabit Ethernet ports do you really need from your EqualLogic SAN?
  • What are you looking to accomplish long-term with your iSCSI SAN?

Here’s the bottomline…and maybe even a rule of thumb: 1) If your organization is not going to be growing and / or adding tons of data over the next 3 to 5 years, 2) don’t need anymore than two (2) Gigabit Ethernet ports for management into your EqualLogic iSCSI SAN, 3) don’t foresee pooling anymore than two physical EqualLogic arrays into one logical SAN for each location, then I’d say go for an EqualLogic PS4000E (or PS4000X or PS4000XV, depending on your applications and IOPS).

The EqualLogic PS4000 series is going to have about 30% to 40% less horsepower than the EqualLogic PS6000 series will produce, so if you can settle for that and tuck away the pride (cough, cough…), the EqualLogic PS4000 series will not only be more cost effective but will probably meet your requirements as well. Plus, it still has all the bells and whistles the big boy (PS6000 series) has.

If you have the slightest doubt about any of the above criteria, then don’t compromise your organization’s storage needs and consider the EqualLogic PS6000. Which do we recommend…? The PS6000 series, of course…it’s more money…I mean, it’s more flexible and more powerful and you don’t have to worry about any limitations. But, hey, it’s your budget and storage area network…figure out your needs and go from there…

Tony Gonzales
Sales & Technical Manager
4Storage
www.4Storage.com