Six iSCSI SANs unleashed
Adaptec, Celeros, EqualLogic, Intransa, NetApp, and Rasilient move our megabytesFollow @pvenezia
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The GUI and the OS are licensed from Wasabi Systems, which provides a PHP-driven Web interface to configure every aspect of the appliance. The interface is clean and intuitive and provides for all the expected features: CHAP authentication, initiator IQN LUN (logical unit number) assignment, volume creation, system status, and so forth. The RAID controller supports RAID levels 0, 1, 5, 10, and 50, and it's backed by battery power, but the system doesn't approach the EqualLogic or NetApp appliances in terms of resiliency. What's also missing is any form of controller redundancy, whether within the unit or via a redundant appliance.
That said, Celeros' motto of bringing sanity to storage costs does ring true. The EzSAN held its own in the performance tests when used with software initiators or hardware iSCSI accelerators on Windows. Unfortunately, the appliance didn't fare well with the QLogic QLA4010 iSCSI HBA on Linux -- the I/O tests seemed to tickle an interoperability bug, and all of the I/O tests using the HBA failed. The EzSAN wasn't alone here; the Rasilient Rastor 4000 also hit a snag with the QLogic HBA.
Overall, the Celeros hardware is solid, the lines are clean, and the solution is powerful, if not very scalable. Snapshot support is sorely lacking, and the absence of redundancy beyond power supplies is a concern. The sub-$8,000 cost for 3TB of iSCSI storage, however, is a strong argument. For what it aims to be, the EzSAN XR23 delivers.
EqualLogic has obviously poured much effort into its PS200E. I received two units, each boasting 5TB of raw storage laid across 14 400GB SATA drives.
The PS200E is a no-nonsense array. Instead of a glowing LCD panel or fancy front bezel, it sports a low-key face highlighted by disk access and array health LEDs. The redundant controllers set in the back of the chassis each contain three gigabit NICs with both copper and SFP (Small Form-factor Pluggable) fiber connections. The unit runs NetBSD and boots quickly to a console-based initial configuration script that provides addressing for the NICs and defines a storage group to assign the controllers. In EqualLogic's view, all storage arrays are grouped into logical units. This abstraction provides a smooth way to cluster arrays for management and redundancy purposes.