Aug 232013
 

For many years now, Dell EqualLogic has encouraged its clients to use network switches that will best leverage the iSCSI architecture the EqualLogic iSCSI SANs were meant to produce. To ensure full interoperability and compliance with Dell’s “Level 1: Full Contract Support” policies, it has provided a “Dell EqualLogic Storage: Compatibility Matrix” guide that lists the switches that fall within the Level 1: Full Contract Support category.

In addition to this list, it is also recommended that you seek out the right switch firmware version and array software version to ensure maximum compatibility and interoperability here. For your convenience, the switches are listed here:

1 Gigabit Switches

Brocade: RX

Cisco: Catalyst 3750X-48T-L, Catalyst 4948 10Gb, M3130G, M3130X

Dell: PowerConnect B-Series RX, Force10 C-Series, Force10 S25N, Force10 S50N, Force10 S55, Force10 S60, PowerConnect 6224, PowerConnect 6248, PowerConnect 7024, PowerConnect 7048, PowerConnect M6220, PowerConnect M6348

Juniper Networks: EX4200-48T

10GigE Switches

Dell: Force10 S4810P, Force10 S4820T, Dell Networking S5000, Force10 MXL1, PowerEdge IO Aggregator1, PowerConnect 8024F, PowerConnect 8024, PowerConnect M8024, PowerConnect M8024-k, PowerConnect M8428-k, PowerConnect 8132/8132F, PowerConnect 8164/8164F, PowerConnect B-Series 8000e, PowerConnect J-Series EX4500-40F

Brocade: 8000e, TurboIron 24X, VDX 6720-60

Cisco: Nexus 5010, Nexus 5020, Nexus 5548

Juniper Networks: EX4500-40F

Dell EqualLogic defines Level 1: Full Contract Support as, “For tested devices listed in this Compatibility Matrix, (for the specific version listed), Dell will provide EqualLogic solution support, under an active EqualLogic support contract assuming that all other components in the EqualLogic solution are also under contracted support with their respective manufacturers and that documented recommended design best practices are followed.”

Don’t have one of the switches above…? Not to worry…EqualLogic pricing often contains a compatible switch from the Level 1: Full Contract Support Compatibility Matrix, but any Dell EqualLogic reseller can also help provide full EqualLogic pricing to include a switch here.

Aug 162013
 

Let’s be frank. Every iSCSI SAN in the industry has certain areas and / or environments where it’s going to do extremely well in where there may be certain areas where it can perform “well enough” in but the cost point might be rather high. For example, a very well-known flash-based storage provider in the industry might do very well with certain types of data but falls flat on its face when it comes to Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) data.

Dell EqualLogic is no different by way of its strengths and weaknesses…although in light of the fact that it’s the #1 pure iSCSI SAN leader in the industry might suggest that it has way more strengths than weaknesses. The following is taken from one of its presentations:

Key Differentiators

  • Best total cost of ownership (TCO) in industry
  • 97% of Dell EqualLogic customers would recommend it to their peers
  • Rated number one for virtual servers by IDC

Easy To Manage

  • Enterprise-class iSCSI SAN without the management headaches or expense
  • Continuous resource monitoring, online demand capacity expansion without disruption
  • Tight integration with vendor applications/interfaces (Microsoft, VMware, Linux)
  • Converge blade servers, storage and networking

Easy To Virtualize

  • Highly virtualized, peer storage that scales performance and capacity linearly with automated load balancing for dynamic, virtualized environments
  • 74% of Dell EqualLogic users run VMware
  • Built for and ready to support VDI deployments

Storage That Endures Over Time

  • All-inclusive software functionality
  • Avoid forklift upgrades with multi-generational compatibility that eases migration
  • Environment flexibility that allows mixed and matched arrays to build tiered storage within a single pool or across multiple pools

Looks like a pretty powerful list to me. Now, is the Dell EqualLogic the most powerful and highest performing iSCSI SAN on the planet…? Perhaps…perhaps not. But one only has to look at the facts and weigh in the EqualLogic pricing compared to what you’re getting to realize a Dell EqualLogic iSCSI SAN is a no-brainer.