Everything went great and I was amazed at how easy the whole process was. I certainly wouldn't call it "plug and play" though. If you don't know how to set up a fabric or know how basic Xsan topology works, you'd be just as lost with this as older systems. But for someone that only deals with Xsan once or twice a year, it was refreshingly easy.
On a side note, this whole installation is based on 4Gb fibre (3 clients, 2 MDCs, 1 RAID). Curious, I got on eBay to see how much the components we purchased oh so many years ago are going for now. I was surprised. $500 for a 16 port 4Gb switch. $250 for FC PCIe cards. In my discussions with this client about storage additions and upgrades, I was moving her towards SAS/Ethernet. Building parallel systems while phasing out the Xsan. Now, seeing how inexpensively items can be acquired, we're thinking about putting more money into this system instead of building a whole new parallel SAS/Ethernet system. I'm thinking about putting a 4 or 6 port ethernet card in the second MDC to share to laptops and iMacs.
I popped some standard Hitachi Ultrastar drives into the Promise Vtrak to see if they would work, or if the system would require hard drives with special firmware for monitoring. Nope. Everything worked as expected, so it's become an option to upgrade the current Vtrak with new Ultrastars and possibly buy used Vtraks and do the same. This Vtrak is out of warranty, so I'm not concerned about that. Anyone have experience with this?
Of course, I'm not suggesting this for everyone as all situations are different. But looking at the investments already made and the cost/benefit of switching to SAS/Ethernet, I think for this installation staying with Xsan and growing it a bit makes the most sense. The fact this system is based on 4Gb fibre is a big reason why we're thinking about sticking with it. The bandwidth is comfortably larger than 1Gb Ethernet so file transfers are quick, but 10GbE would be overkill and not needed. My previous Xsan installations were 2Gb with Xserve RAIDs, so those NEEDED to be replaced.