When I compared various modular storage area network (SAN) solutions and tools, I found HPE 3PAR StoreServ and IBM FlashSystem to be the most effective ones currently available on the market.
One of the things that I initially noticed about HPE 3PAR StoreServ was how easy it was to deploy and manage. HPE 3PAR StoreServ gives us the ability to quickly create and control spaces where our data can be stored. It is designed with a number of functionalities that streamline and simplify the processes that we use to manage our data. These functionalities include:
Point and click deployment. Any member of our team can easily deploy HPE 3PAR StoreServ, saving us a great deal of time and other resources when we initially deploy it.
An easy-to-use GUI. HPE 3PAR StoreServ employs a single pane of glass GUI that comes loaded with many powerful tools. It has general screens that enable us to handle basic scheduling, activities, and dashboard management. Additionally, VMware screens make it possible for us to manage and track our virtual machines.
A major benefit that HPE 3PAR StoreServ offers us is the way it enables us to scale our data storage to meet our needs. Our data storage needs can evolve over time. HPE 3PAR StoreServ is designed in a way that enables us to address this issue. HPE 3PAR StoreServ reduces the storage capacity needed to hold our data by as much as 75 percent when compared to other products. We start with several terabytes of storage space and have the ability to scale up to 80 petabytes of space.
One of the aspects of IBM FlashSystem that I appreciate is the way that it supplies us with not only powerful and valuable insights, but also complete control of our data storage architecture. IBM FlashSystem has a number of features that allow us to gain a deep understanding of our data. These include:
AI analytics: IBM FlashSystem leverages a powerful AI algorithm. This AI mines more than two exabytes of data. It then examines it and looks for trends and the potential consequences that we did not know could result. IBM FlashSystem then makes it possible for my team to see potential issues before they ever have the chance to harm our business.
Centralized dashboard. IBM FlashSystem has a single dashboard that we can use to keep track of our data storage. Any and all information relevant to the health and status of our data storage are fed to this dashboard. Everything that we need to know can be found in one place.
We can also use this solution to easily secure our data against all manner of threats. IBM FlashSystem employs a suite of features that ensure that we always have options when a security-related issue arises. The security features that it offers include:
IBM Spectrum Virtualize software. This software tool works together with a technology called IBM FlashCopy. IBM FlashCopy makes copies of data that can be used to prevent data loss in the case of a system failure. If any data is corrupted or deleted these copies can be relied upon.
Safeguarded Copy. IBM FlashSystem enables us to create “air gapped” pockets that contain our most valuable data. These pockets cannot be found by hackers if they penetrate our servers and cannot be deleted or changed by a bad actor if our system is breached.
Ultimately, either HPE 3PAR StoreServ or IBM FlashSystem will empower you to take control of every aspect of your data storage and migration process.
Cloud Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Jun 17, 2022
When it comes to changing to other storage fabrics (from SCSI to NVMe) or reaching out to other transport layers (ethernet, infiniband or FC), all units once initialised only operate with the modules installed at initialisation time.
So you better define which type of fabric, performance requiremenets you need, and what transport layer(s) and protocols you need and what your current infra supports. Some are more expensive than others. FC is for sure more expensive then ethernet based fabrics, though its far more secure, as it does not use IP and therefore storage traffic is completely isolated from your network/IP stack. The same goes for low latency storage networks operating under Infiniband, which come in more expensive due to proprietary switches and Infiniband NICs
Nowadays, it's about the time to really consider NVMe and decide upon which type of fabric suits your needs. You have FC NVMe, NVMe TCP, NVMe (iWarp), NVMe (Infiniband), and NVMe Rocky (ROCev1/v2).
In the strict sense choosing any of the fabric options excludes the other one. NVMe is about 30% more expensive than traditional SSD/SAS (SCSI) based Storage that has been out till now which is compared to its gains worth it. If you really have big elephants bursting data to your storage, you definately require NVMe storage, higher bandwidth and a more efficient transport layer (RDMA or Remote Direct Memory access) or FC NVMe.
FC still uses the same transport layer as back in 1990 and only needed to accomodate the NVMe Protocol, whereas all ethernet based fabrics had to cover both aspects and all of which might be subject to changes in the future. So the story of NVMe OF (over Fabric) is not final and nor are the choices. Some might perform better over time, as the struggle is no longer about the SSD media and NVMe protocol, but the performance differences are now in the transport layer. Still the advances are that huge that going to NVMe is far better then buying another storage array based on SAS/SCSI.
So buying a solution is much based on where your fabric (SAN) is going to , then it is actually focussing on the array. You have to figure out which fabric combines fair costs and offers for your business fair latency/performance. The array opted for needs to support your fabric of choice that fits your business needs, from there you have the scale up/out topic related to storage arrays in general.
All can scale up, replace controller units with more powerfull ones etc. The one that scales out the best and actually allows to use nearly whatever backend storage is definately IBM SVC/IBM Spectrum Virtualisation. I do find the concept of DELL EMC Powerstore getting close to that, though its still locked in to the Powerstore controller units and expansions and still disallows to attach other vendor backend storage to be virtualised.
Business Development Manager at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Jul 27, 2020
It is dependent on use case. Generally NAS is used to store file level data and SAN is used to store block level data. Like for storing data like word Excel files NAS is used and SAN is used to store data from database applications. There are unified storages to store both file and block level data. Also SAN has more better bandwidth and better performance due to connectivity like fibre up to 32 Gbps and NAS has connectivity on network or LAN up to 10Gbps.
Cloud Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
May 27, 2021
NAS has no upfront investments, you can use standard NICs in your servers, segment NAS traffic etc... and you might want to reuse your current switch infra. Still it is recommended to use a separate from LAN infra and use a larger MTU size (for jumbo frames). In the past , the density of VMs on a NAS solution compared to the SAN , for a given latency was lower.
SAN has by default network isolation as it uses seperate from LAN ,SAN switches. It comes at a higher cost however and Server HBAs are more expensive. One does require the skillset, as the Fabric OS and its flow control mechanism is quite different from managing Cisco/HP/Juniper switches. FC SAN is considered faster, and due to the higher initial costs, tends to be seen at most at larger organisations, likely taking up 80% or more of the storage infra in those organsitations. Currently for some use cases S3 object Storage is changing the game. Traditional SANs for backups (especially longterm archived data) are now loosing ground in favour of S3 Object Storage.
VMware : NFS 4.1 does not support Storage DRS, there is no support for Site Recovery Manager (NFS3 does) , no Storage IO Control. One of the most significant changes in v4.1 was adding multipath, by introducing better performance and availability through load balancing and multipathing.
Historically, SAN was the native initial VMware platform, and the so called VAAI primitives were initially only avaialble on SAN Storage Arrays. Thats why FC SAN is the traditional storage platform for VMware. After some time NAS stood up, and closed the gaps (Mainly Netapp did) , but the use case for a NAS is CIFS/SMB and NFS services for the applications and not to run VMs on NFS volumes. Some microsoft clusters modes, are not operable on a NAS solution as well.
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