iSCSI SAN solution for a VMware ESX 3.5

6950 pts.
VMware ESX
VMware ESX 3.5
Looking for recommendations for an inexpensive iSCSI SAN solution for a VMware ESX 3.5 environment? Moderator Note: This is a user submitted question

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We are using an iSCSI SAN from LeftHand Networks (Now owned by HP) with our HP servers and have not had a single problem with it. We have 3 NSM 2060’s that host about 30 VMs including an Exchange 2007 and SQL 2008 server. Works fantastic and easily scales up if you need more speed and capacity.


Equallogic is a great option for you since all key components are already licensed. Most other products you need to purchase a license for example to replicate or to do snapshots, etc. I would lean towards a hardware over software-based appliance for your SAN needs.


I think you can try stonefly storage. I found its giving an excellent perfomance with ESX 3.0 & 3.5.

Just to add a monatery figure into this you can get a new equallogic iSCSI SAN for around £4k now, only scales in a small way but starter SAN is great with perfromance to match.

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  • IT4Law
    Well, it makes a big difference what your actual budget is. The cheapest solution I would recommend is the free OpenFiler software running on a simple x86 machine with 2 mirrored drives. This kind of solution can easily be achieved for $1000 for 1TB of usable mirrored storage. Obviously this solution doesn't have the same fault protection and high availability of a dedicated storage system. The solution I am considering for about 6 VM servers running some 30+ guest hosts is the EMC NX4FC, it is a tier one storage product that connects via iSCSI, NFS, CIFS, and FC (for some existing FC connected hosts). A full system can run between $20k to $30k depending on drives (any combination of SAS and SATA2) with a good ability to grow to a max of 60 drives. Hope this helps.
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  • Cmbits
    I am looking to leverage the internal disk in my ESX servers for a clustered iSCSI SAN. I have tested a variety of virtual SAN appliances and none of them can provide 20% of the performance I see natively on the internal disk. My VM's that are stored on VMFS get over 300MB/s off of 6 internal SATA disks (RAID10) with up to 16,000 IOPS at 160MB/s. Virtual iSCSI SAN appliances like Sun's storagetek and Lefthand's clustered storage give my approximately 15MB/s off of the same disks. With that said I have high hopes for StorMagic's SvSAN virtual storage appliance. It provides direct control and access to RAID controllers in your ESX host. They currently support LSI, 3Ware, and Intel SAS controllers. Unfortunately I haven't been able to test yet because they don't support ESXi. I have to install ESX 3.5 on my test server before I get the chance to test the performance of SvSAN. If it works as I am hoping it will be a very cost effective clustered storage option for ESX clusters. I will try to post my results when I get a chance to test.
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  • Steveanderson3
    We are looking for a virtual san solution as well. We don't want to add more hardware at our remote locations, being budget strapped as we are. We prefer a simple 2-esx server solution but it seems tha the virtual san market is still pretty new. We also have high-hopes for stormagic, they are supposed to be supporting esxi 4 and a cross-over cable that will provide ha between two esx servers. I will also post results once I get my hands on a copy.
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