This will be my first shared storage system. I did help setup an EqualLogic for a sister company a year ago with a 2 node VMware cluster and it's been working great other than a few bad firmware upgrades. I have a great VAR that I have worked with for a number of years but want another opinion before I spend a lot of money on my employer's behalf. I've been impressed with the Nimble presentations and don't think there is any other product out there I'd want. I do think VMware's VSAN is interesting, but too new and expensive to get on board at the moment.
My current environment is 8x ESXi hosts with about 45 VMs. Not a lot of I/O intensive apps. I have 3x physical SQL 2000 servers that I can't upgrade for at least another year.
I'm a Dell shop and have no reason to change. I'll be going with 3x Dell R630 servers for my hosts. Probably 320GB each, dual procs with 12 cores each, VMware on mirrored SD cards.
Will buy two HP ProCurve switches dedicated for iSCSI traffic. My core is a ProCurve 5412zl but will keep iSCSI isolated on it's own switches.
Our CS3000 will have 24TB raw (12x2TB, 4x160GB SSD).
Now to my questions...
My VAR is recommending we use 1GbE instead of 10GbE since our requirements don't justify the costs of 10GbE....with having multiple 1GbE ports trunked and VMware's MPIO, performance will be fine they tell me. Is this sound advice or should I bump up to 10GbE? Could I order my servers with 10GbE but connect to 1GbE ports to future proof? I believe 10GbE is backward compatible, but is that OK for connecting to the iSCSI switches? Not sure how much more 10GbE controllers are over the 1GbE ones on Nimble. Upgrading on Dell servers is less than $1K.
Having all of my eggs in the Nimble basket makes me nervous, won't lie. I have never had an outage in the 7 years I've managed this environment, all with local storage. Without replicating to another Nimble, what's the most cost effective way in having a Disaster Recovery Plan in the event of a complete Nimble outage? I'll probably switch from Unitrends to Veeam for our backup solution and I've heard Veeam has a decent replication feature at no additional cost. Does anyone use Veeam as their DR plan?
In the event a controller fails or we failover on purpose, is an outage created? Would SQL or Exchange have a problem?
Is there a single point of failure on a Nimble unit? I can't find any horror stories online with a unit going completely down. Has anyone seen one go down? What spare parts are good to keep onsite?
I think that's about it for now.
Appreciate any feedback!