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Need Advice - New IT Admin Do i need a SAN? RRS feed

  • Question

  • For the last month I been helping a friend who own a private school.  They are making a mayor overhaul to their network.  I recently receive a quote from Dell.  It's a $100K quote for a school.  My question is about two element that I see in the quote.

    I suggest to the School to virtualized everything they can. In this case Hyper-V

    Do the school really need Dell Equallogic SAN? It's a $24K equipment.

    Do the school really need Vault tape library? It's a $9K equipment.

    I want to lower the quote to a more realistic one.

     

     

    Friday, April 2, 2010 9:55 PM

Answers

  • Hello,

    There are a lot of other considerations for a network this size. If a consultant put this quote together and they are going to implement it, then there is probably a good reason they did it this way. If the Dell rep put this together with little or no information about your network, then you may want to look at it more closely.

    Not only your servers, but the entire network infrastructure is very important when scaling beyond SMB. Remember, having lots of capacity means backing it up quickly, making it available to users quickly, storing point in time backups, having redundancy, subnets, vlan's, security, etc.

    I think you should hire a consultant and carefully plan before purchasing. Especially if you are planning a network this size (1K users). Trying to save a few bucks may get you slow performance, angry users and an unstable network.

    Whether you need a tape library or not, I can't say. If you have a lot of data to backup then you may need a library because it may not all fit on a single tape. If there is nobody around that will want to change the tapes, the the library is the way to go. But you need to figure out how much data you want to back up and what your backup and retention policy will be as a starting point.

    Virtualization is great and it will save you energy costs, but if your VM is 25K, you may just be better off getting 5- 3K servers instead of running 5 VM's on one box (unless you are space constrained)

    To answer your original question: If you are budget constrained then no, you do not NEED a SAN. You can add scalable, redundant network disk capacity using DFS. Ask whoever recommended the SAN why they did it. A SAN will alleviate your servers from serving up files.

    Scan a record, find out each document size, then figure out how many documents x how many years x document size for storage needs. Don't forget to project your storage needs for the life of this network. If you plan to keep it another 10 years figure that's 20 years worth of document student records.

    Plan this carefully and hire a consultant to help you figure out the answers to these and many more things you will need to address. You should not be getting quotes and  then more information from school management then going back and modifying quotes. Eventually, after the build out you may hear "I forgot to mention that we need to ..." so make sure you ask all your questions now, while you still are in the planning stage.

     


    Miguel Fra / Falcon ITS
    Computer & Network Support , Miami, FL
    Visit our Knowledgebase Sharepoint Site

    • Marked as answer by Kevin Remde Sunday, April 11, 2010 1:31 PM
    Sunday, April 4, 2010 3:02 PM

All replies

  • Unfortunately I don't think anybody can answer that question with the little bit of information you have provided.  You need to ask yourself a lot of questions here. What's currently in place and what you want to achieve with the upgrade. How many users, servers, what type apps,  what are the storage needs, backup & retention policies, etc.

    Did you give the rep your needs and this is what he came up with? Who will integrate this type of equipment? Experience at this scale? It's good that you are helping a friend but maybe it's a good idea to pay a consultant that has experience and can guide you through this expensive endeavor.

    The Dell rep may be overselling you, but it's impossible to say without proper information. This integration, will be hard to gauge through a forum.

     

    Miguel


    Miguel Fra / Falcon ITS
    Computer & Network Support , Miami, FL
    Visit our Knowledgebase Sharepoint Site

    Saturday, April 3, 2010 4:23 AM
  • Sorry for the lack of information.  The school is changing the current network with a new one, hardware and software. This is a 1000 students school.  Students don't store lot of data right now. Few Powerpoint - Word documents. 

    School will be using Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V.  Some services will be virtualized.  Active Directory, Domain Controller, Exchange, SQL, Web Server, Print server and File Server. 

    Part of the new equipment:
    2 Dell R710 Virtualization Server (48GB Memory, X5550 Xeon 2.66Mhz)
    1 R610 System Management Server
    1 610 Backup Server
    2 Ethernet Switches

    So far I know I can lower RAM and maybe the processor to lower the price.

    Do the school really need DELL Equalogic PS4000XV ($24,000)
    Also a friend told me to watch tape cost for the Dell Powere Vault Tape Library TL2000

    School currently has 2 old server that can be upgrade with more memory and used it in other services.
    After I receive this quote, school management inform me that they want to scan student record.  Around 10 years.

    My apologies for the lack of information.  Anyway I think the current quote will change with the new information school management gave me.

    Anyway thanks for taking your time reading. 

     

     

    Saturday, April 3, 2010 5:12 AM
  • Hello,

    There are a lot of other considerations for a network this size. If a consultant put this quote together and they are going to implement it, then there is probably a good reason they did it this way. If the Dell rep put this together with little or no information about your network, then you may want to look at it more closely.

    Not only your servers, but the entire network infrastructure is very important when scaling beyond SMB. Remember, having lots of capacity means backing it up quickly, making it available to users quickly, storing point in time backups, having redundancy, subnets, vlan's, security, etc.

    I think you should hire a consultant and carefully plan before purchasing. Especially if you are planning a network this size (1K users). Trying to save a few bucks may get you slow performance, angry users and an unstable network.

    Whether you need a tape library or not, I can't say. If you have a lot of data to backup then you may need a library because it may not all fit on a single tape. If there is nobody around that will want to change the tapes, the the library is the way to go. But you need to figure out how much data you want to back up and what your backup and retention policy will be as a starting point.

    Virtualization is great and it will save you energy costs, but if your VM is 25K, you may just be better off getting 5- 3K servers instead of running 5 VM's on one box (unless you are space constrained)

    To answer your original question: If you are budget constrained then no, you do not NEED a SAN. You can add scalable, redundant network disk capacity using DFS. Ask whoever recommended the SAN why they did it. A SAN will alleviate your servers from serving up files.

    Scan a record, find out each document size, then figure out how many documents x how many years x document size for storage needs. Don't forget to project your storage needs for the life of this network. If you plan to keep it another 10 years figure that's 20 years worth of document student records.

    Plan this carefully and hire a consultant to help you figure out the answers to these and many more things you will need to address. You should not be getting quotes and  then more information from school management then going back and modifying quotes. Eventually, after the build out you may hear "I forgot to mention that we need to ..." so make sure you ask all your questions now, while you still are in the planning stage.

     


    Miguel Fra / Falcon ITS
    Computer & Network Support , Miami, FL
    Visit our Knowledgebase Sharepoint Site

    • Marked as answer by Kevin Remde Sunday, April 11, 2010 1:31 PM
    Sunday, April 4, 2010 3:02 PM
  • I agree, the Dell rep may be overselling you, and it's impossible to say without all the information.I will forward this post to my friend who has a Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) degree.
    Wednesday, May 12, 2010 6:30 PM