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Storage selections for disaster recovery

With two major hurricanes sweeping through the Gulf in the last month, more 3000 sites are thinking about disaster recovery systems. Backup options are a key element of a DR setup; you'd like to save some money on a system that will only be mission critical in the event of a disaster, rather than requiring 24x7 uptime like a production systems.

Such DR configuration led OpenMPE board member Donna Garverick to ask for user reports on storage array options. Customers chimed in with options less costly than the top-flight XP disk arrays from HP.

Garverick, whose 3000 shop we profiled making good use of a VA 7100 array with its production system, asked:

I’m working on building a DR server (which is likely to be a 989... but whatever it is, it will not be a PCI system  — just too $$$). I’ll need to attach ~350GB of disc to this box.

I know I can do (multiple) Mod 20s, but I am worried about the age of these arrays (not to mention the discs and the batteries) as well as the total amount of disc that needs to be attached.

There are also the 12Hs.  Am I correct in thinking that they can be ‘locked’ to a particular mode... and that way get around the autoraid performance problem?  And again, what about the total disc?

Finally, there’s a VA array (7100 most likely).  I already have four fibre-to-SCSI routers, so that’s not a problem. For either of the SCSI arrays, I’m probably looking at multiple chassis.

I should say that I’m not concerned about performance in the same way that I would be if this were truly going to be a production server. So, for example, I know that if I were to go with a VA the routers are going to create a bottleneck... and that’s okay.

Joshua Scott, the HP Systems Support Manager at HP hardware and support provider SourceDirect, offered a set of options:

It all comes down to price/performance. Choose one of the following:

2 Mod 20s in RAID-1 with 20x 18GB each
2 12H arrays with 11x 36GB drives each
4 12H arrays with 11x 18GB drives each
VA7100 with 10 73GB Drives 2x VA7100 with 20 total 36GB Drives

The Model 20's are the most easily configurable (beside the VA7100), and you can set up RAID-10 which cuts down on the number of LUNs. You can only have 8 LUNs usable on Model 20 systems, so this could be an advantage. The VA7100 would have much better performance because of the higher speed drives.

Mark Landin added, "Don't forget about the Model 30s, which were basically FibreChannel-attached Model 20s, but with 30 disks."