[SATLUG] OT: Coraid Storage and Other Options

Brad Knowles brad at shub-internet.org
Sat Jun 20 21:45:10 CDT 2009

on 6/19/09 7:48 PM, Channing.ML at channingc.com said:

> I need to replace a SAN and I don't want to pay for an EMC, or the 
> like.  I looked at EquilLogic, but the price point was still a bit on 
> the steep side.  The goal is to replace 54T of storage with a solution 
> that can handle a 40/60 write/read profile..  The connections would be 
> to a pair of Sun v1280's running 9 with Oracle on the SAN.
> Does anyone have anything good or bad to say about EquilLogic, or Coraid 
> as a SAN for a pair of Suns running 9?  Are there other options out 
> there I should look at?

The issue with EquilLogic is that it is iSCSI only right now, with FCOE 
coming down the pike.  I think they might also do FC-AL and maybe FC-SW. 
  But only SAN stuff, no NFS or other NAS stuff.

At UT Austin, we run all our Oracle systems on NetApp NFS appliances, 
and our DBAs would rather kill you or die than run anything else.  Even 
Oracle is still working to get their Linux/NFS based solution up to the 
point where it can perform as well as NetApp, and internally Oracle runs 
huge massive datacenters for outsourced services for their customers, 
and all those systems are still on NetApp -- they may be the world's 
largest customer of NetApp.

That said, if NFS or NAS is not interesting to you, then the next thing 
you get into with EquilLogic is of course the cost -- way more than what 
you can get if you buy EMC SAN equipment through Dell.  The reason is 
that the EquilLogic stuff comes with all licenses enabled 
out-of-the-box, whereas EMC comes with virtually nothing licensed 
out-of-the-box.  If you pile on all those licenses to your EMC-via-Dell 
box, then it would be more expensive.  But almost no one ever does that.

We found that NetApp with all the licenses we needed was less expensive 
than EquilLogic, even with the near-or-below-wholesale prices that UT 
gets from Dell for historical reasons.  And NetApp can do iSCSI as well 
as NAS, and they're also coming out with FC-AL and FC-SW target mode (so 
that they can be used as a true SAN), in addition to their existing 
FC-AL/FC-SW initiator mode (so that they can make use of back-end 
FibreChannel storage from other vendors).  They're also working on FCOE, 
just like all the rest of the industry.

Our big surprise was that the Sun Unified Storage System (USS) was 
considerably less expensive than NetApp, until such time as NetApp 
realized they might actually lose our contract and gave us massive 
reductions on their bid, way beyond what we've ever seen before.

So, Sun and their USS might be an interesting thing for you to 
investigate, especially since you're talking about using Sun hardware on 
the server side, and I think that Sun is very interested in making as 
many deals now as they can.  If you qualify as an educational 
institution, they have extended to the end of June (or July?) their 
Matching Grant program (where your discounted price is 50% off retail, 
as opposed to the normal ~20%), and that would make them considerably 
less expensive than they would otherwise be.

Personally, I think SAN storage, especially over FibreChannel, is aging 
to the point where it's going to go the way of the Dodo.  Ethernet-based 
technologies seem to have won the day, although we have not yet seen the 
full amount of fallout from that battle.

Brad Knowles <brad at shub-internet.org>
LinkedIn Profile: <http://tinyurl.com/y8kpxu>

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