Any reason we shouldn't use a Meraki to run a san?

GavinMcMenemy
Building a reputation

Any reason we shouldn't use a Meraki to run a san?

The switch we use for our SAN has failed. It was an old Dell switch but we weren't too worried about it because we are moving more and more traffic into the Cloud. We're not using the fibre channels on the SAN - just the RJ45 ports - it's just 3 node setup running on 10gig ports. It works fine, or rather it did. 

Today I need to replace that switch. 

We have a sticking plaster solution but I am not happy and I'd like to think a bit more long term. I've had a look at a couple of conversations on here about using a Meraki switch to run a san. The consensus is... don't??? Why? There seems to be some discussion that the Meraki switches don't handle jumbo frames. Surely a modern switch should be able to handle the traffic? And as we already have Meraki switches it makes sense to keep using the interface we like. 

Am I missing something? 

Anyway, hoping for a decent discussion on the pros and cons. 

We are a small setup. As time moves on I expect we will move even more stuff into the cloud and leave the switches just handling a small lab setup and lan traffic.




5 REPLIES 5
JeremyBresley
Conversationalist

For a small iSCSI SAN, there shouldn't be any issues using a Meraki switch.  The Meraki switches can absolutely handle jumbo frames (specific sizes vary depending on the model, but most are 9570+ bytes max size).  The support for jumbos and specific limitations are in the specifications tab of each switch.  The only current model I didn't see it mentioned on was the MS350s, but all the other MS1XX/MS2XX/MS355/MS4XXs did mention jumbos and their specific limits.

 

The biggest concern with using a general purpose switch for storage uses is when you start pushing large amounts of bandwidth through it.  Unless the switch is capable of line-rate forwarding, you can potentially have dropped packets.  For normal IP traffic this isn't a big deal, but when you drop packets in a storage environment, it's a big problem very quickly and some systems do NOT handle these drops gracefully (you're doing the equivalent of yanking the cable to your hard drive out in the middle of writing to it, which tends to lead to bad things happening).


@JeremyBresley wrote:

For a small iSCSI SAN, there shouldn't be any issues using a Meraki switch.  The Meraki switches can absolutely handle jumbo frames (specific sizes vary depending on the model, but most are 9570+ bytes max size).  The support for jumbos and specific limitations are in the specifications tab of each switch.  The only current model I didn't see it mentioned on was the MS350s, but all the other MS1XX/MS2XX/MS355/MS4XXs did mention jumbos and their specific limits.

 

The biggest concern with using a general purpose switch for storage uses is when you start pushing large amounts of bandwidth through it.  Unless the switch is capable of line-rate forwarding, you can potentially have dropped packets.  For normal IP traffic this isn't a big deal, but when you drop packets in a storage environment, it's a big problem very quickly and some systems do NOT handle these drops gracefully (you're doing the equivalent of yanking the cable to your hard drive out in the middle of writing to it, which tends to lead to bad things happening).


Interesting. That's fair. 

KarstenI
Kind of a big deal

My number one reason *NOT* to use the regular Meraki switches for iSCSI is that I don't want the servers to lose their hard drives when I reboot the switches or anything related to fat-finger-syndrom happens.

GavinMcMenemy
Building a reputation


@KarstenI wrote:

My number one reason *NOT* to use the regular Meraki switches for iSCSI is that I don't want the servers to lose their hard drives when I reboot the switches or anything related to fat-finger-syndrom happens.


Is this something that happens to you a lot??


@GavinMcMenemy wrote:

@KarstenI wrote:

My number one reason *NOT* to use the regular Meraki switches for iSCSI is that I don't want the servers to lose their hard drives when I reboot the switches or anything related to fat-finger-syndrom happens.


Is this something that happens to you a lot??


No, but I sleep better if I know that it can't happen. Especially if the potential problems can be avoided with a quite small amount of money.

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