A StorageMojo reader has a problem. Can you help?

Our mail hub (80,000+ mailboxes) is virtualized with vSphere 4.1 with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 x64 and Dovecot 2.0 [an open source IMAP/POP3 email server for Linux/UNIX-like systems]. We are using HP LeftHand Networks P4300 iSCSI storage in a “network RAID10 setup of RAID10 storage” for Dovecot indexes and multiple “networks RAID1 of RAID5 storage” for actual mailboxes.

This is my take: our Dovecot indexes are getting hammered with lots of small I/O requests, about 8,000 IOPS continuous during 8-working-hour days, 75% write. Indexes are fairly small (50 GB) and expected to grow to 100-150 GB, but need a lot of random I/O. We need real-time replication in storage (LeftHand is ok for us) and we think that SSD should shine in this situation. Bandwidth is not a problem (200-300 megabits of indexes traffic, but we need more IOPs).

The problem is the indexes, but our total mailbox capacity is expected to grow to 6 TB compressed using zlib compression in Dovecot.

We want to buy a storage appliance with the following requirements:

  • Vsphere 4.1 & 5 certified storage, VAAI enabled (if possible)
  • iSCSI (1 gbps)
  • High number of IOPS (at least 12,000+, most of them writes)
  • Small size (200 GB)
  • Fault tolerant (RAID, battery-backed write cache, power supply, fans, multiple gigabit uplinks, synchronous replication)
  • Cheap (less than $30k the full setup)

We want to buy at the beginning of 2012. Any product that fits?

The StorageMojo take
Suspect price will be the most significant limiter. But the respondent only needs index storage not the whole shooting match. He’s pretty happy with LeftHand for mailbox storage.

But if we can solve both problems for him, why not? If he should relax some constraint, feel free to suggest it.

He’ll be watching the comments, so if you have questions please ask them. I’ll be following the comments as well.

Courteous comments welcome, of course. His email was edited for clarity.