Expanding half-full HP MSA P2000 G3 SAS

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MarcoP82

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Feb 3, 2016
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Hi, my first post, let's get right to it:

Our small 250-500 seat non-profit has a simple ESXi 5.1 HA-setup which runs two ESXi hosts and a SAS storage unit, the HP MSA P2000 G3. When I started here, as a junior, this setup was just a few months old. It had half of the single shelf filled with twelve 10K rpm 300GB SAS drives (from HP) in RAID6 with two spares.

Let's move a few years into the future and our storage is over 90% used. I'm thinking about the following options:
a) commercial SSDs
b) enterprise SSDs
c) more enterprise HDDs

Goal: 1-2TB more storage, preferably faster storage, non-production reliable

Situation: since we're a non-profit, budgets are tight but not impossible. We are also not a production facility, time isn't money, but when something fails people get annoyed and frustrated. So we're still aiming for keeping everything running during office hours but if something fails, they know it's a budget issue, not an IT issue.

We are having about 100-150 people active at any time during office hours on our few Remote Desktop servers, we run Exchange, fileserver, internal webserver. I feel the storage we have now is adequate but it could certainly benefit from the speed of solid-state storage. Our P2000 G3 has dual controllers, redundant power supply (+ lines), each controller is connected to each host for redundancy.

Research: the P2000 G3 doesn't officially support SSDs, although I've read good experiences with people that do. Still, does someone have experience with this ?
Reliable consumer SSDs like the Crucial MX-series and Samsung Pro-series seems like a good choice price-wise.
Enterprise SSDs like the already low-budget Toshiba PX03SNF series are about 4 times more expensive, but dual-port SAS seems quite the feature to have when we have dual-controllers. The 6 times higher DWPD factor seems very appealing too. Maybe the SATA Intel DC S3610 is an option, floating in between the price ranges with massive write endurance.
Or should we just shut up and fill the 12 remaining slots with 10K rpm HDDs and call it a day ?

I've read RAID6 on the P2000 G3 is not a good idea. The issue is this is our only main storage, I can't just change this. So we have to live with this. So my idea was to go for a decent RAID10 setup, move most servers (except mass-storage) over so this problem is tackled.
 
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andrewbedia

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Crucial anything does not belong in anything you care about. Crucial and reliable shouldn't even be used in the same sentence. Samsung consumer drives should just be flat out avoided in any sort of RAID environment.
 

MarcoP82

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I've added to the start post that the Intel DC S3610 might also be an option. Although it's still SATA meaning no controller redundancy.
 

andrewbedia

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Non-production reliable would mean (to me) that enterprise sata would be just fine.
 

MarcoP82

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For the enterprise SSD options, I have these available that seem suitable for our use-case:

- Toshiba PX03SNF020 (200GB SAS 12G, MLC, 1 DWPD, 5yr warranty) 2,25€/GB 450€/pc. 5.400€/12
- Intel DC S3610 (200GB SATA 6G, HET-MLC, 3 DWPD, 5yr warranty) 1,00€/GB 200€/pc. 2.400€/12
- Samsung SM863 (240GB, SATA 6G, MLC, 1,5 DWPD, 5yr warranty) 0,75€/GB 180€/pc. 2.160€/12

I'm partial to the Intel, the Toshiba is ridiculously more expensive due to the SAS dual-port, the Samsung seems like a better deal to get 1.2TB instead of 1TB and two free drives compared to the Intel.
I'm thinking if we go this route, 12 disks of which 10 make up the RAID10 for a total unformatted storage of 1TB and with 2 hot-spares.

And let's not forget the caddies.
 

TuxDude

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Sep 17, 2011
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It doesn't look to me like you're doing anything that really needs the performance of SSDs, and its all running a config that is horrible for performance right now and yet bad performance isn't the reason for upgrading. So I would say go with the 12 more 10K HDD's in raid-10, presented to the two ESXi hosts as a second datastore. That leaves you with a smaller high-performance datastore for OS drives or performance-sensitive VMs, and a large slow datastore for your file server and any other stuff that just needs to be stored but performance doesn't matter. That also leaves you in a fully-supported configuration if you need to phone HP for anything.
 

MarcoP82

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Feb 3, 2016
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Yes that's why I was also leaving 10K HDDs as an option, as a single SSD will probably be an upgrade over the current configured storage array.

These are the original drives and a larger option:

- HP 507127-B21 (300GB, SAS 6G, 10K rpm, Dual-port, 3yr warranty) 0,44€/GB 135€/pc. 1.600€/12
- HP 581286-B21 (600GB, SAS 6G, 10K rpm, Dual-port, 3yr warranty) 0,47€/GB 280€/pc. 3.360€/12

So while the 300GB option isn't severely cheaper than the Samsung or Intel SSDs, it's still more storage for less money.

An option also available to us is SSDs in the hosts as cache, but I have to research that more if it's possible/useful for ESXi 5.1.
Another option is to only get 10 disks, since we already have 2 (global) hot-spares. This would leave the option for two (larger) SSD's in RAID1.

While we don't have a requirement for SSDs, I feel the time and price are right to always consider them when talking about primary storage. The boost some SSDs could give to our entire IT network would be considerable.
 
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MarcoP82

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Using SSDs in the two hosts as a read/write cache is not going to work for us, available from 5.5 and later, but requiring an Enterprise Plus license, we have an Essentials Plus license. Cache for host-swap is useless as we aren't RAM constrained.

My updated list:
  • Toshiba PX03SNF020 (200GB SAS 12G, MLC, 1 DWPD, 5yr warranty) 2,25€/GB 450€/pc. 5.400€/12
  • Intel DC S3610 (200GB SATA 6G, HET-MLC, 3 DWPD, 5yr warranty) 1,00€/GB 200€/pc. 2.400€/12
  • Samsung SM863 (240GB, SATA 6G, MLC, 1,5 DWPD, 5yr warranty) 0,75€/GB 180€/pc. 2.160€/12
  • Intel DC S3510 (240GB, SATA 6G, MLC, 0,32 DWPD, 5yr warranty) 0,70€/GB 170€/pc. 2.040€/12
  • HP 651687-001 (Caddy for SSD, 2,5” SFF G8 design, 4x screws) 25€/pc. 300€/12
  • HP 507127-B21 (300GB, SAS 6G, 10K rpm, Dual-port, 3yr warranty) 0,44€/GB 135€/pc. 1.600€/12
  • HP J9F40A (300GB, SAS 12G, 15K rpm, Dual-port, 3yr warranty) 0,75€/GB 250€/pc. 4.000€/12
For SSDs I'm leaning towards the DC S3610 because of the endurance and extra over-provisioning, since ESXi doesn't have TRIM support. The 15K rpm drives don't seem to worth the trouble and HDDs don't seem like a good move unless we can't afford over 2.000€ for the drives. Otherwise we'd be able to have a 12-drive RAID10 with the global spares, which would give us 1.8TB of unformatted capacity. So I'll leave it as the lowest tier option.
 
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MarcoP82

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I've read to many issues with HP and 3rd-party SSDs (example 1, example 2) that I'm following TuxDude's advice and go with 100% supported devices, most likely 12 HP 10K 300GB drives in RAID10 as a second data-store. Thanks for the feedback everyone !