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Evaluating StoreVault S500

by on Feb.14, 2008, under Storage

This week I had a chance to evaluate StoreVault S500.
I’ve never used or seen such a device before as I mainly dealt with HP storage devices, so I had no idea what to expect. The reason for evaluation is to see would it suit our VMware ESX environment. The unit came fully populated with 12 500GB disk that is 6TB of storage.

The first impression after unpacking the device was ‘It looks like Dell’. Before powering it up I’ve opened the top cover to see what is inside and was surprised to find a standard motherboard with 256MB CF flash card(this is where OnTap OS is sitting).
So lets power it up and on screen we see some flavor of linux/*nix booting up. You cannot connect the keyboard to the device. Although the ports are the re but they are hidden. The only way to configure S500 is to install StoreVault Manager on the PC.

Once StoreVault S500 is connected to the network it will try to get an IP address from DHCP. If it cannot get the address it will use the default one 10.10.10.10/24

The whole configuration is straight forward and everything is written in the manual. Once StoreVault Manager discovers S500 you can login configuration. There are only 2 RAID levels RAID4 and RAID DP(double parity). For VMware I needed speed more than space and my idea was to have RAID10. So I’ve chosen RAID DP.

After initial configuration was complete I’ve used StoreVault Manager to configure NFS. You don’t get all the features out of the box. You have to buy licenses for them.
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The biggest surprise was when I saw how much disk space I had. StoreVault manager was showing me 2.6TB of usable space. So where are 3.4TB ? Read on:
RAID DP uses 2 Disks for parity + 1 online spare. So this is 500*3=1.5TB. If needed it is possible to use online spare disk.
By default 20% of space is used for snapshots. Once I’ve disabled that I got 3.4TB but still that is 2.6TB-1.5TB=1.1TB short.
Once I’ve looked at the individual disk info it was telling me that it had only 413GB of usable space. After spending some time Googling I found that the disks were formatted using NetApp filer which also uses disk space.
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I do understand that the space is being used for all the feature and so on, but loosing half of the storage just for that is a bit frustrating and also knocking that you won’t get the same performance as with RAID10.

I’ve tested NFS and CIFS on S500 and they both worked fine and were ease to configure. I did not like the performance and statistics window as it present information in number ans in a small window. No graphs are available and I could not find how to make it run constantly in order to see overall performance like in VMware.

That’s about it.

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