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CIO  February 2006

CIO February 2006

Subject:

Re: Storage: traditional SANs and iSCSI

From:

Scott Lowe <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 14 Feb 2006 09:18:19 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (105 lines)

Chris,

We deployed an EqualLogic PS200E iSCSI SAN last March and couldn't be
happier that we went this route.  For us, an overall Fibre Channel
solution, including the array, HBAs, switches, etc, was simply too
expensive and had too high a learning curve.  Bear in mind that we're a
pretty small school of only about 1,600 FTE.

Our EqualLogic SAN houses 2,000 Exchange mailboxes, our Jenzabar student
system database, our Raiser's Edge database, all of our file storage for
faculty and staff (which includes desktops for some user profiles), and
more.  From a performance standpoint, the unit has been outstanding.

From a risk perspective, you're right: Fibre Channel is tried and true,
and we knew we were taking at least a slight risk in choosing the fairly
new iSCSI solution.  As for the future, I think the future for iSCSI is
very bright, but I expect some of the current stand-alone iSCSI players
to either exit the hardware market (in favor of software-only
solutions), or be acquired by larger storage companies.  Even if these
scenarios happen, simply because of the cost savings and future
improvements (10Gb Ethernet, Serial Attached SCSI drives, for example),
I expect iSCSI is here to stay.

One of the trade magazines (I can't remember which) did a piece on iSCSI
arrays last year and put the EqualLogic PS200E array at the top of their
list even over offerings from Network Appliance.

You can probably tell that I am pretty pleased with the PS200E.  When
the EqualLogic sales rep told us that it would take 15 minutes to
install and configure the unit, I took it as a marketing exaggeration
and was proven right.  It took about 20 minutes.  :-)

Scott Lowe
IT Director
Elmira College

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Christopher Sedore [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Monday, February 13, 2006 9:12 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [CIO] Storage: traditional SANs and iSCSI
> 
> Greetings,
> 
> I'm relatively new to this list, but have been lurking for a while to
get
> a feel for the conversations here and appreciated much of the
interaction
> thus far.
> 
> I'd like to query the collective experience here related to a project
that
> would provide significant quantites of centralized storage (home and
> shared directories) for faculty, staff, and students and may also
include
> Microsoft Exchange for campus electronic mail.  Total storage size to
> support both is expected to be 25 to 50 terabytes in the next few
years.
> 
> We have a variety of perspectives on storage technologies here and are
> looking primarily at iSCSI and more traditional SAN offerings as
possible
> solutions to support home directories and Exchange storage.
> There is some debate among our own technical staff about the viability
of
> iSCSI and its future in the market.  We've had one iSCSI vendor bring
> equipment in and some of our staff have been impressed with the
> capabilities and at least satisfied with the performance.  The iSCSI
> solutions we've reviewed can offer significant cost savings, allow us
more
> flexibility in choosing vendors, and have some interesting
capabilities
> for geographic distribution and failover, but these solutions are not
as
> proven as the offerings from the big SAN vendors.  NAS is not favored
in
> the Exchange environment, so we've not actively investigated that
option.
> 
> I'm curious about the experience and perspective of others on storage
and
> storage directions:  Are you deploying iSCSI for enterprise projects
and,
> if so, are you satisfied with the outcomes?  Did you investigate iSCSI
and
> decide to stick with traditional SANs?  What is your view on the
future of
> iSCSI vs traditional SANs?
> 
> Best,
> 
> -Chris
> 
> Chris Sedore
> Director, Network and Communications Services
> Syracuse University
> 
> **********
> Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE
Constituent
> Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

**********
Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

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