Last night the IT team at Watermark completed the addition of a new EqualLogic array into our existing SAN solution. There are many things that I love about EqualLogic, but first and foremost is the simplicity. Here at Watermark, we really aren’t an IT shop. We have two full time IT people (myself included) and a part time helpdesk person. We are currently supporting a ton of users, a large campus, Windows servers, Mac OS, Web Development, VMware ESX, etc. The last thing I need to worry about is allocating hours of time to support our storage solution. That’s where EqualLogic has been a huge win for us.
We purchased our first EqualLogic array one year ago from VR6 Systems (whom I HIGHLY recommend you talk to if you are looking to purchase). It is a sixteen drive, 8 Terabyte solution meant to drive the storage for our VMware ESX implementation project. Since that time, we have moved our Exchange 2007, Sharepoint, File Serving, Print, SQL servers, a domain controller, etc over to VMware with the data stores on the SAN. We’ve experienced great performance with few issues at all. A perfect result for a small-to-midsize IT team.
We have also seen our data needs grow tremendously over the past year. We began to look at cloud storage with Amazon S3 and others for some of these growing needs but at the end of the analysis, the amount of time uploading these files, storing them, downloading them again for reuse was going to become more costly over 3 years than looking at new EQL storage solution not even considering the speed benefits of local storage.
Last night we upgraded the firmware on our new array and the existing one to the latest 4.1.4 version. No major issues on either and it took very little time. At that point we ran the wizard provided by EqualLogic, which found the new uninitialized array. A series of maybe 4 questions later and the new array was added to the existing group. Just… Like… That… It really is that easy. Adding the new 16TB of storage to the existing pool and right away, that space was available. Within minutes, the (now one large) array was moving data over to the new spindles. Over the next week, it will automatically move the data to the right number of disks to give us the best performance. We did notice last night that one of the iscsi connections from VMware had also automatically starting using the NICs on the new controller, so once again, we are starting to see the benefit of adding more gigabit connections to our data.
I love that we get to enjoy working with such great technology, especially when doing it for ministry. It’s a blessing.