back to article Why Dell's PS6000 isn't quite enterprise class

Dell's EqualLogic storage is positioned as enterprise storage but lacks Fibre Channel connectivity and automated data tiering. The recently announced Dell EqualLogic PS6000 storage arrays are positioned by Dell as enterprise storage. They have iSCSI block access but, typically, major storage and system vendors position Fibre …

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Stop

What absolute rubbish!

iSCSI isn't "enterprise class"? What do you deem "enterprise class", Chris? Anything over $100K? Anything that is a pain in the arse to use?

The iSCSI market boomed by 60% YoY last quarter. FC SHRUNK. Customer's are voting with their wallets and moving away from the technology which has long been a nightmare to administer.

Oh, and EQL doesn't do auto tiering of storage? Yeeeaah, ok. I think you need to read the website some more...

Next you're going to tell me that everything should be NFS in the datacenter....!

Perhaps you should get your nose out of the Tier 1 vendors anus', then you might see something different.... :-)

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Boffin

iSCSI usage...

I have to agree with AC above, but with fewer colourful metaphors. I deal with EQL and NetApp installations across a range of customers, and more are going iSCSI than FC, and more are switching to iSCSI from FC. With 10Gb Ethernet starting to appear (more NetApp at this stage), the performance differential is much less obvious.

Unless you already have a recent FC investment, or have the budget (and it's a credit crunch, don't ya know?), iSCSI is pretty effective for most requirements - even virtualisation.

So, as to whether you think iSCSI is ready for the enterprise, it's more a case of whether Enterprise is ready for it (you've got to get it by the old-school SAN admins).

oh, and I seem to recall that tiered storage (and being able to migrate data between them easily) is one of the stronger selling points of Equallogic. Along with being cheap. Even if it is a bit of a one trick pony, it does it quite well. Go buy NetApp if you want a more flexible solution though (i.e. iSCSI, FC, NFS, CIFS, tiered storage, upgradable hardware).

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Unhappy

Researching before you type.......or not!

Sometimes, just sometimes you come across a 'journalist' who thouroughly researches their subject and produces a great, honest critique of a product......EQL doesn't do automated tiering eh, ISCSI isn't ready for the Enterprise class datacenter......perhaps the Reg should find such a journalist and give them your job, clearly, you've done no research into the Equallogic or ISCSI in general, did you just go to the product launch for a free lunch?

If you'd bothered to do some research you would well know that the EqualLogic can (and does by default) automatically tier data based on the performance needs of that data, you also wouldn't have to look too far to find something such as the Microsoft ESRP program results which show an EqualLogic SAN outperforming most of it's FC counterparts. Clearly with 4 * 1GB ethernet ports on each array and 2GB cache it doesn't take a genius to see that the grid architecture will allow the EquaLogic SAN to outperform all but the highest end FC solutions.

Furthermore if ISCSI is such a stranger to the Enterprise class DC why is it that all the FC vendors have, over the last few years, been busily adding and enhancing their ISCSI support on what are traditionally FC platforms?

Congratualtions on one of the most hole ridden pieces of technical journalism I've read in a while!

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Stop

Chris - I don't know how to sugar coat this: you're an idiot

iSCSI is very much enterprise class. There are thousands of enterprises running their tier1 storage on iSCSI.

Obviously you're not aware of this, nor are you aware of the fact that in some circumstances, iSCSI can be as efficient as Fibre-Channel. In the particular case of Equallogic PS series, the arrays are very efficient and can offer matching performance of fibre-channel arrays with FEWER drives.

Now, how about all of the customers running NetApp iSCSI, EMC Clariion iSCSI, EMC NX iSCSI, EVA, HDS arrays, etc etc ?

So what does Fibre-Channel buy me?

Well, scalability and very high end performance for starters. For many customers, iSCSI is more than adequate and it's only those with a vested interest in selling expensive proprietary fibre-channel switches and professional services that would tell you otherwise.

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Chris is 100% right

Holy smokes are you guys are morons. iSCSI has NEVER been an enterprise class protocol - it's is solidly an SMB protocol. Now, that doesn't mean that an enterprise couldn't use it (especially at the edge), but you will not see an enterprise-class data center be 100% iSCSI. In fact I would challenge any of you to name an enterprise-class data center that is 100% iSCSI. (And NO BS - I mean enterprise-class).

Don't waste your time, they don't exist.

Now... some of you talk about other vendors that are multi-protocol but you somehow confuse that with being enterprise-class. The reason those vendors offer both iSCSI and FC is to reach down the food chain of requirements, not to rise up. This is common sense and well known.

EqualLogic is iSCSI only because it cannot integrate FC and was never meant to. It would take a complete platform overhaul to integrate FC.

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Silver badge
Pirate

iSCSI vs FC

To all the iSCSI defenders/proponents/fanbois, in the real high-end of the enterprise (and we're talking large clustered UNIX/Linux), if you even suggested iSCSI you'd be looked at with disbelief. Yes, iSCSI does the job lower down the enterprise (we have used some on the edge Windows/Linux servers), but for those real powerhouse solutions the defacto standard is still fibre channel. The reason is the LAN is usually stretched just handling the network traffic, so adding storage onto it is just going to make everything grind to a halt. Having the storage traffic on its own network (the SAN) with no need to mess with frame sizes, etc, makes for a much simpler life. And whilst 10GbE is only just taking off in most LAN backbones, you can have 8Gb fibre right to the server already. When Brocade came round to tell us about FCOE, we viewed it as a way to have common switches but we would still be using completely separate cabling for the storage to the LAN. We're quite happy for now having the two separated, and iSCSI doesn't even get mentioned.

Relating to the Dell storage kit, without FC it would not be considered for use with our enterprise systems, so Chris is not the "idiot" you all seem to think. It would be interesting to see it up against NetApp in the WIntel arena, but not our enterprise datacenters.

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Anonymous Coward

@Gary @Matt Agree

Agree with both of you.

Chris is smart.

No one knows all the answers and thats why the el reg articles and comments blogs are such interesting and useful reading. Best perhaps if we concentrate on helping each other than point scoring? We could really differentiate ourselves from the warring vendors and deliver real lasting value to each other.

Perhaps the excitement is caused by the phenomenal growth of iSCSI in the last year especially by Dell and HP?

It appears to be caused in part by reaching down to SME/SMB plus by the budget squeezes caused by the economic environment.

It'll be interesting to watch Hitachi's revised AMS soon to see if this truly now can be judged true enterprise class. If true its going to be interesting to see how it fares against CX, EVA, DS and EQL

Would be interesting to hear peoples views of which storage solutions really are true enterprise?

Regards

Ray

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Flame

What you're all mssing...

This is not an iSCSI versus FC argument.

1. If your shop refuses to entertain any other protocol than FC, you're doing your org a disservice. if only FC, are you now saying that NFC is not enterprise class? CIFS? How about Infiniband - is this not enteprise class? How about FCoE if/when that becomes a standard? Contstraining one's choice of storage by a protocol is at best naive and worst an indictment of a storage administrator not looking for the optimal alternatives for his business. Dreamworks is an enterprise, but they chose not to look at traditional enterprise storage at all, but it was obvious this was an enterprise solution. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/03/29/hp_ibrix_monsters/

2. "Enterprise class" is defined by a number of aspects of a storage solution architecture - redundancy, manageability, scalability, performance, functionality, acquisition cost, TCO. Dell's Equallogic product satisfies these criteria up to about the 100TB level.

3. iSCSI does not today offer potential bandwidth of FC8, but the chances are that your servers are not using this. If you need (not perceive that you need) >FC1 performance and >100TB scalability for a single app, then your choice is unlikely to be iSCSI. However, do your own research and don't take the advice of the storage vendors who have vested interests to tell you otherwise.

Flame, for the firestorm this topic has set off.

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Who is Naive?

Geoff Mitchell said: "Contstraining one's choice of storage by a protocol is at best naive and worst an indictment of a storage administrator not looking for the optimal alternatives for his business."

Right - that's an argument against buying EqualLogic. If you bought an EqualLogic box, you would be constraining yourself to iSCSI which would be naive if you were truly enterprise.

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@Gary A

Gary, Geoff did not advocate EQL, he said you shouldn't constrain your product choice based on protocol.He also explained the practical EQL limitations (100TB and >FC1) He is correct, and you're not reading his remarks correctly. We've got FC NetApp and iSCSI EQL, and our EQL arrays are faster by a fair margin. But to be honest, neither are taxed too heavily in terms of IOPS, only constant load.

I too am amazed out how ludicrous this article is. Suggesting iSCSI isn't enterprise ready is like how people used to say "TCP won't scale". All very naive. We got off the FC path a while ago and stopped buying, as its just plain obvious that iSCSI is the way to go. Voice, Virtual Servers, and Storage are all layers of the same onion, you'd have to have a very unique reason for building an entire FC SAN, and have deep pockets to buy and maintain it. I'm glad I'm not going cap in hand to EMC or NetApp for FC kit anymore.

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