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How To Build A High Performance, High Capacity Fibre Channel/iSCSI SAN using an HP DL580 G5 Server

A White Paper by Tim Warden; May 24, 2008

In this white paper, we will configure a high-performance, high-capacity Fibre Channel SAN using an HP DL580 G5 server. The objective is to create a scalable appliance loaded with disks and fibre channel ports. The configuration should provide a tier one feature set including snapshots and thin provisioning, as well as synchronous mirroring and asynchronous replication capabilities.

CONFIGURING THE HARDWARE

We select an HP ProLiant DL580 G5 with a quad core processor and 8GB of RAM. The RAM will be employed as storage processor cache.

This G5 model features 11 PCI Express slots: seven PCIe x8 slots and four PCEe x4 slots. We will populate these slots with RAID controllers (for attaching disk shelves) and Fibre Channel HBA's and/or NICs (for use as front end SAN storage ports). The generous number of slots and breadth of PCIe cards available give us a great deal of latitude as to how we configure our SAN. For this example, we will configure the server for up to 480 spindles (the maximum supported by the EMC CX3-80) and ten 4Gb Fibre Channel ports.

Let us begin by configuring the internal drive slots. We load all 8 SFF disk slots with SAS drives. We'll build a RAID 1 set with the first two 72GB disks and create a 12GB boot/system soft partition for the SAN software's foundation OS. We can use the rest of the space for any purpose... file shares (NAS storage) or provisioned as SAN storage. We choose 146GB 10K drives to fill the remaining 6 slots, creating RAID groups as we like and using the resulting logical volumes in one or more Thin Provisioned storage pools for our SAN. If we so desire, we can always add the optional drive cage giving us an additional 8 internal SFF disk slots.

To scale out our SAN, we will attach HP MSA (Modular Storage Array) drive shelves via RAID controller cards. The HP P800 is a high performance RAID controller that sits in a PCI Express x8 slot. The card features two SAS ports that can attach MSA50, MSA60, and MSA70 JBOD shelves. P800 RAID SAS/SATA-II Controller With 3.2Gb SAS performance, each card can attach up to 100 SAS and / or SATA-II drives in RAID 0, 1, 1+0, 5, and 6 configurations. This controller and the MSA product line afford a maximum of flexibility in configuring tiers of capacity (750GB 7200 RPM SATA in RAID 5) and performance (15K RPM SAS, RAID 10).

Note, we will remove the standard P400i card that is delivered with the DL580, as it uses up an x4 slot and we can use the P800's internal ports for the purpose of connecting the server's internal drives.

Although we could install up to seven (7) P800 cards in this box, for this example we will populate five (5) of the PCIe x8 slots with P800 cards, attaching MSA60 shelves to the cards' ports. The MSA60 is a JBOD shelf that can hold up to 12 hot-pluggable SAS or SATA-II drives. You can attach four (4) MSA60 shelves per port on the P800, or eight (8) shelves (96 drives) per card.

MSA60 Shelf with 750GB SATA Drives
MSA60 with 750GB SATA Drives

We will tier the storage, using a mix of 300 GB 15K RPM SAS and 750 GB SATA-II drives. The table below gives an example configuration, fully populating the server with shelves and drives. Each row represents an MSA60 shelf.

MSA60 Capacity Scaling Example
P800 Port MSA60 Spindle Type Spindle Capacity Qty Total Qty Capacity (GB) Total Capacity (TB)
1 1 1 SAS-15K 300 12 12 3600 3.5
2 SAS-15K 300 12 24 3600 7.0
3 SAS-15K 300 12 36 3600 10.5
4 SAS-15K 300 12 48 3600 14.1
2 5 SAS-15K 300 12 60 3600 17.6
6 SAS-15K 300 12 72 3600 21.1
7 SAS-15K 300 12 84 3600 24.6
8 SAS-15K 300 12 96 3600 28.1
2 3 9 SAS-15K 300 12 108 3600 31.6
10 SAS-15K 300 12 120 3600 35.2
11 SAS-15K 300 12 132 3600 38.7
12 SAS-15K 300 12 144 3600 42.2
4 13 SAS-15K 300 12 156 3600 45.7
14 SAS-15K 300 12 168 3600 49.2
15 SAS-15K 300 12 180 3600 52.7
16 SAS-15K 300 12 192 3600 56.3
3 5 17 SAS-15K 300 12 204 3600 59.8
18 SAS-15K 300 12 216 3600 63.3
19 SAS-15K 300 12 228 3600 66.8
20 SAS-15K 300 12 240 3600 70.3
6 21 SAS-15K 300 12 252 3600 73.8
22 SAS-15K 300 12 264 3600 77.3
23 SAS-15K 300 12 276 3600 80.9
24 SAS-15K 300 12 288 3600 84.4
4 7 25 SATA-7200 750 12 300 9000 93.2
26 SATA-7200 750 12 312 9000 102.0
27 SATA-7200 750 12 324 9000 110.7
28 SATA-7200 750 12 336 9000 119.5
8 29 SATA-7200 750 12 348 9000 128.3
30 SATA-7200 750 12 360 9000 137.1
31 SATA-7200 750 12 372 9000 145.9
32 SATA-7200 750 12 384 9000 154.7
5 9 33 SATA-7200 750 12 396 9000 163.5
34 SATA-7200 750 12 408 9000 172.3
35 SATA-7200 750 12 420 9000 181.1
36 SATA-7200 750 12 432 9000 189.8
10 37 SATA-7200 750 12 444 9000 198.6
38 SATA-7200 750 12 456 9000 207.4
39 SATA-7200 750 12 468 9000 216.2
40 SATA-7200 750 12 480 9000 225.0

You may recall that HP never stops asking "What if?" Well, what if we had populated all 7 PCIe x8 slots with those P800 cards and expanded out with another 16 MSA60 drive shelves full of 750GB SATA-II drives? We would have a total of 672 spindles, for 365.6 TB of raw capacity, leaving us 4 PCIe x4 slots for the FC ports. Just a tad bigger than the flagship EMC CX3-80, eh?

MSA60 Capacity Scaling Example
P800 Port MSA60 Spindle Type Spindle Capacity Qty Total Qty Capacity (GB) Total Capacity (TB)
6 1 41 SATA-7200 750 12 492 9000 233.8
42 SATA-7200 750 12 504 9000 242.6
43 SATA-7200 750 12 516 9000 251.4
44 SATA-7200 750 12 528 9000 260.2
2 45 SATA-7200 750 12 540 9000 268.9
46 SATA-7200 750 12 552 9000 277.7
47 SATA-7200 750 12 564 9000 286.5
48 SATA-7200 750 12 576 9000 295.3
7 1 49 SATA-7200 750 12 588 9000 304.1
50 SATA-7200 750 12 600 9000 312.9
51 SATA-7200 750 12 612 9000 321.7
52 SATA-7200 750 12 624 9000 330.5
2 53 SATA-7200 750 12 636 9000 339.3
54 SATA-7200 750 12 648 9000 348.0
55 SATA-7200 750 12 660 9000 356.8
56 SATA-7200 750 12 672 9000 365.6

Now let's turn our attention to the remaining PCIe slots and our SAN front-end ports. The HP FCA2242SR is a dual port 4Gb Fibre Channel HBA (an Emulex LPe-11002) available for the DL series. The cards are typically Fibre Channel HBA used as Fibre Channel "Initiators" for host operating systems such as Windows, Linux, VMWare, etc. Properly configured, they can also be driven as "Targets", allowing them to present LUNs, just like the CX3-80. Your application servers will access their logical disks over these Fibre Channel ports.

In our configuration, we've used five of the 11 PCIe slots for P800 cards, leaving us two PCIe x8 and four PCIe x4 slots. If we install all six remaining slots with the dual port FCA2242SR, we will have 12 4Gb Fibre Channel ports, four ports more than an SP on the CX3-80. For this example, I only plan to use 5 of the dual port HBA's, giving us 10 FC targets, leaving us with one available PCIe slot.

This ProLiant model comes with two integrated 1Gb Ethernet ports and an ILO (Integrated Lights Out) NIC to be used for remote management. We add a 360T dual port Gig-E NIC to our remaining PCIe slot, giving us a total of 4 Gig-E NICs which we can configure for use as iSCSI targets, for file sharing (NAS), or for Asynchronous Replication over IP. Thus our SAN will offer both native Fibre Channel (performance) and native iSCSI (economy) connections.

It is worth noting that the Broadcom NICs typically used with the DL series can be teamed; our iSCSI target drivers will attach to IP stacks, so you can use NIC teaming to maximize the iSCSI throughput.

Below is a schematic of the DL580 Storage Processor.

DL580 STORAGE PROCESSOR — BACK VIEW

Back Side of DL580 Storage Processor

DL580 STORAGE PROCESSOR HARDWARE

The following server was configured using HP's online store. Pricing is list; your HP reseller may be able to provide you with more attractive pricing. Date of this configuration: May 24, 2008.

-Configurable- HP ProLiant DL580 G5 Rack Server
HP ProLiant DL580 G5 Rack Server
Quad-Core Intel¨ Xeon¨ Processor E7320 (2.13GHz/2x2M 80W)
Quad-Core Intel¨ Xeon¨ Processor E7320 (2.13GHz/2x2M 80W)
HP 8GB Fully Buffered DIMM PC2-5300 8X1GB Memory
HP Smart Array P400i Controller
HP SA P400 256MB Cache Upgrade
Dual embedded NC371i Multi-function Gigabit Network Adapters
HP DL580G5 PCI-E I/O Option Kit
Two (2) HP 1200W 12V Hotplug AC Power Supplies
2 HP 1.83m 10A C13-UL US Power Cords
Integrated Lights Out 2 (iLO 2) Standard Management
3 years parts, labor and onsite service (3/3/3) standard warranty. Certain restrictions and exclusions apply.
$8778.00 1 $8778.00
Microsoft® Windows® Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition + 25 CALS (Not Installed) $3,199.00 1 $3,199.00
HP 72GB Hot Plug 2.5 SAS 10,000 rpm Hard Drive (For DL580 Internal Slots) $259.00 2 $518.00
HP 146GB Hot Plug 2.5 SAS 10,000 rpm Hard Drive (For DL580 Internal Slots) $329.00 6 $1,974.00
HP Smart Array P800 Controller $949.00 5 $4,745.00
HP Fibre Channel 2242SR 4GB PCI-e HBA - Low Profile $1,800.00 5 $9,000.00
HP NC360T PCI Express Dual Port Gigabit Server Adapter - Low Profile $229.00 1 $229.00
HP StorageWorks 60 Modular Smart Array $2999.00 40 $119,960.00
HP 300GB Hot Plug 3.5 SAS 15,000 rpm Hard Drive $749.00 288 $215,712.00
HP 750GB SATA 3.5 1.5Gb 7,200 rpm Hard Drive $499.00 192 $95,808.00
Total Hardware & 3 Years Support: $459,923.00

Of course, we'll want to rack the server and drive shelves. In the fully populated configuration proposed here, we can fit the DL580 and the 40 MSA60 shelves into two 46U racks, with 6U left over for FC switches.

Finally, we'll want to add a UPS behind the DL580 and drive shelves to assure continuity in case of loss of power. The SAN software package we will use is UPS-aware and will take the necessary steps to assure any cached data is flushed to disk on power failure.

Front and back diagrams of the fully populated DL580 Storage Array follow.

DL580 SAN STORAGE ARRAY — FRONT VIEW

Front of DL580 SAN

DL580 SAN STORAGE ARRAY — BACK VIEW

Schematic of DL580 SAN

SANsymphony 6.0 SAN STORAGE SOFTWARE

SANsymphony Logo

We have configured the SAN array hardware. What's missing is the intelligence to turn this ordinary high-power server with direct attached storage into a SAN: the volume provisioning, caching, and LUN masking management, as well as the drivers to run the Fibre Channel HBAs and NICs in "target" mode so they'll behave like a storage array's ports. For this functionality we will use a unique software package from DataCore Software Corporation called SANsymphony™. This software will turn the ProLiant into a storage array more powerful than HP's own EVA series — and certainly deliver higher performance than the EMC CX3-80... but for a lot less money.

The flagship SANsymphony™ product was developed by DataCore in the late 1990s to address a fundamental limitation inherent in Storage Area Networks or SANs: true inter-operability between the disparate storage systems offered by the various vendors. Although storage arrays from IBM, EMC, HP, HDS, etc., can conceivably be connected through the same storage fabric, the vendors have never settled on a standard management system or protocols over which data could be moved from one platform to another in a transparent and seamless manner. Indeed, while such functionality would be of enormous benefit to IT departments and their storage admins, it would be counter-productive to the hardware vendors' sole objective: to generate revenue — in this case, recurring revenue via customer retention. SANsymphony™ breaks the hardware vendor lock, providing customers with an open software platform that offers Tier-1 SAN functionality, virtualizing SAN storage and facilitating the migration or displacement of any SAN volume within the infrastructure.

Storage Virtualization

DataCore has typically positioned and sold the SANsymphony™ product as a Storage Virtual platform for enterprise customers looking to address the handful of significant problems found in large datacenters, particularly where multiple tiers (e.g. DMX + CX + AX) and multiple vendors (e.g. HP + EMC + HDS + EqualLogic) are common:

  • Complexity of Administration
  • Provisioning and Utilization
  • Business Continuity
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Inter-Array Tiering
  • Volume Migration
  • Cost of Ownership

SANsymphony™ runs on a standard x86 + Windows server platform, and acquires its storage resources through the device manager. Any disk devices presented through the device manager — whether they be SCSI, Ultra 320, Fibre Channel, SATA, SAS, ATA (EIDE), iSCSI, FireWire, or USB2, or LUNs from other SAN devices — are thus candidates for virtualization.

SANsymphony™ presents an abstraction layer that allows any underlying storage to be sliced, diced, pooled, and provisioned out as Fibre Channel and iSCSI LUNs to SAN clients. To SAN storage arrays, SANsymphony™ is just another application running on a Windows server. To your SAN clients or Application Servers, SANsymphony™ is a well-behaved SCSI3-based Fibre Channel / iSCSI SAN storage array.

The server's built-in Ethernet ports become "iSCSI" targets, allowing you to create an inexpensive SAN infrastructure using common IP switches and NICs. By adding in industry standard Fibre Channel HBAs, SANsymphony™ turns the PC server into a Fibre Channel SAN, thus offering both native FC and native iSCSI functionality.

SANsymphony™ uses the PC server's commodity RAM for its sophisticated caching engine, resulting in impressive "Tier-1" performance.

If you need to evolve beyond the DL580 G5 configuration we've presented here, multiple SANsymphony™ nodes can be loosely clustered into a "Storage Domain" and managed as an autonomous unit. The architecture is "N+1", so you can add as many SANsymphony™ nodes as required. What's more, as we've noted, SANsymphony™ is a storage virtualization platform, and can virtualize and manage any existing SAN storage you may already have.

SCALABILITY: UPWARD, OUTWARD, FORWARD

In the example configuration we have developed here, our SAN storage array is fully populated with target ports, storage controllers and disk shelves. Clearly, just as with a traditional SAN storage array, we aren't obliged to swallow the whole enchilada in one bite. We can build our SANsymphony™ storage array to measure, in line with our current business requirements. Maybe we start with only 50 TB of storage on a few shelves, with the reassurance that at any time we can add additional controllers, shelves and disks as our needs dictate. In other words, we can "scale up" within the box.

But as we've noted, SANsymphony™ is an "N+1" architecture, allowing us to loosely couple the SANsymphony™ storage controllers into a kind of storage cluster in which volumes can be mirrored and migrated between the nodes and all the storage managed as a whole entity. This flexibility goes well beyond the appliance approach of the SAN vendors. Add in the fact that SANsymphony™ can be used to virtualize any existing SAN storage array you have on the floor, and you can see how SANsymphony™ truly "scales out", allowing you to treat all your storage — current and future — as a pool of commodity devices.

Finally, as a software package running on the ubiquitous Windows server platform, the SANsymphony™ license you buy today can take advantage of the technologies the industry offers tomorrow.

Case in point: When SANsymphony™ shipped in 2000, Fibre Channel was the only game in town and the costs associated with the fabric limited the reach of shared storage in the datacenter. But all that changed in early 2003 when the iSCSI recommendation was ratified and DataCore shipped version 5.2 of SANsymphony™. Our existing customer base was able to immediately take advantage of iSCSI by installing the free PSP2 service pack and using the common, low-cost NICs to tier and extend their SAN.

Case in point 2: Qlogic recently announced their 8Gb Fibre Channel products... and DataCore immediately offered a free download for SANsymphony™ that enables using those 8Gb cards *today* to implement your 8Gb SAN storage array. If you are an existing SANsymphony™ customer using 4Gb FC cards, you can simply replace your 4Gb HBA's with the QLE2562 dual port cards and enjoy 8Gb SAN performance now. And comparative to 4Gb FC technology, the cards are affordable; a few weeks ago I received a quote of less than $1400 for the dual port 8Gb QLE2562 card.

Of course, if you aren't a SANsymphony™ customer, you can always wait another 6 to 24 months for the traditional SAN vendors to catch up — you'll probably need to forklift out the old array, bring in the new box and hope your vendor has a good data migration story!

When you add it up, SANsymphony™ really does represent the quintessential definition of scalability for SAN storage: upward, outward, and forward.

THE MANAGEMENT INTERFACE

SANsymphony™ storage controllers are managed and monitored from a simple Windows drag-and-drop style application. The SANcentral window displays status information about the SAN, whereas the SANmanager window is used to perform the common provisioning and LUN masking operations.

Monitoring SAN Health
SANcentral provides a simplified, centralized SAN monitoring window

From the SANmanager tabs, the storage admin can manage Storage Pools, create Virtual Volumes, assign them to Application Servers, manage Quality of Service, Synchronous Mirroring, Asynchronous Replication, Data Migration, Snapshots and Volume Clones.

SANsymphony™ Storage Domains use standard Windows user accounts to control access to SAN management allowing you to, for example, separate Linux and Windows storage management.

Drag And Drop LUN Masking
SANmanager provides simplified, consolidated drag-and-drop management

The SANsymphony™ GUI is rich and provides management tools such as reporting and real-time performance monitoring.

Realtime SAN Monitoring
SANcentral Real-Time Performance Monitoring Tools

THIN PROVISIONING — A DATACORE FIRST

DataCore's NMV (Network Managed Volume) feature is a unique concept that combines Storage Pooling with the advanced features of Thin Provisioning and Over Subscription.

The concept is based on the complete abstraction of back-end physical storage and front-end virtual storage. With Network Managed Volumes, physical storage resources (whether they be actual physical disks or LUNs from a RAID controller or back-end SAN storage array) are placed in NMV "Storage Pools".

Virtual Volumes are created as logical entities whose physical representation is based on storage allocated dynamically from the associated NMV storage pool. The storage administrator no longer needs to be concerned with the geometry of partitions on the RAID groups — new Virtual Volumes are created with a simple right-click menu selection over a storage pool.

Thin Provisioning

When an NMV volume is first created, it is logically-sized by default to its maximum of 2TB. The storage administrator can then resize the volume to a smaller value as desired. Although the volume's geometry begins at 2TB, no physical storage has yet been allocated.

The pool's physical storage is allocated to the volume on a demand basis. Only when data is written to the volume will "storage allocation units" be assigned from the pool to hold the data. This concept is known as "Thin Provisioning" and allows several volumes to share the Storage Pool's physical space, thus maximizing the utilization of physical storage resources and eliminating waste.

With Thin Provisioning, it is possible to over-allocate space to the virtual volumes. For instance, given the example of a 1TB pool, we could easily create several 2TB LUNs and assign each to different servers (our MS-SQL, Exchange and File Servers, for instance). The NMV Pool manager will notify us as the physical storage in the pool depletes. An adjustable "Low Water Mark" is set to warn when additional storage needs to be added to the pool. The additional storage can be added without interruption to the production environment — indeed, our databases, mail servers and file servers continue to run with their large LUNs even as we feed the pool.

Storage Pool Utilization

This concept, referred to as "Over Subscription", facilitates capacity planning and reduces or eliminates the need for downtime to "resize" volumes or add storage to the SAN. I like to think of it as a "storage credit card".

SNAPSHOTS AND VOLUME CLONING

  • Reduces application downtime for backups to near zero
  • Ensures rapid recovery to a known good point-in-time
  • Offloads application server from transmitting disk contents during backups
  • Facilitates automating Disk-To-Disk backups of any and all SAN volumes

SANsymphony's Snapshot feature can be used to generate point-in-time copies of production volumes, which can then be used for backups or for dev/test environments. The snapshot volumes can be used as Read-Only or Read-Write, depending on your needs. They can also be "pointer-based" or complete image copies (clones or "Disk-To-Disk Backups) of the source volumes. Based on "Copy On Write" technology, a newly-enabled snapshot is immediately usable. Snapshot disk usage was the impetus for the development of DataCore's Thin Provisioning invention; pointer-based snapshot volumes require only the space necessary to hold the original blocks of any changed data on a source volume. Snapshots won't eat up all your disk space.

Thin Provisioned Snapshots All Snapshot features can be driven entirely from SANsymphony's intuitive GUI or scripted using the CLI interface — ideal for automating backups. They are also compatible with DataCore's VSS (Microsoft Volume Shadow Service) provider.

ASSURING BUSINESS CONTINUITY

  • Dramatically enhances data availability
  • Makes possible non-intrusive storage server hardware changes
  • Inter-compatibility between Fibre Channel and IP (iSCSI) connections

The key to implementing Business Continuance is High-Availability through total redundancy. In the traditional SAN model HBA's, cables, switches, and storage array components are made redundant with automatic failover capabilities.

SANsymphony™ takes this model one step further, allowing for physical isolation of the storage processors and their associated disk resources. In the DataCore model, two or more active SANsymphony™ servers provide complete redundancy and implement synchronous data mirroring with automatic failover and fail-back. The mirroring is, in effect, a RAID-1 implementation of the virtual volumes. A mirrored volume is comprised of a Primary and a Secondary mirror part, each associated with a SANsymphony™ server.

Business Continuity via Mirroring and Failover This unique capability keeps your data available even in the event of a complete storage system failure.

Here's how it works. When a server writes data to a volume, it writes to the volume's primary node. This node caches the write and immediately copies it to the partner node containing the secondary part. Once the secondary node has the write in cache, the write acknowledgement is returned. This feature is commonly called "Mirrored Write Cache". If a failure occurs that renders one of the nodes inaccessible, steps are taken to assure no data is lost: write cache is flushed to disk and the node places the volume into "Cache Write-Through" mode.

The system includes a logging mechanism to facilitate rapid recoveries: only those blocks which have gone out of synch will be resynchronized once the failed or stopped node is brought back online.

Finally, the system is designed to allow not only for automatic failover, but for automatic fail-back, as well... no scripting required, no user intervention required.

Given the autonomous nature of the SANsymphony™ storage servers, DataCore's Business Continuity implementation provides an elegant solution for eliminating downtime associated with scheduled routine facility or storage maintenance. Just as XenMotion or VMotion are employed in Server Virtualizaton systems to keep your application servers available, DataCore's Auto-Failover and Failback functionality can be used to keep the data 100% available.

SANsymphony™ mirroring has been implemented to allow for active-active writes on volumes, and supports clustering and third party failover agents such as Microsoft's MPIO, Veritas DMP, or native systems such as VMWare ESX multipathing and VMotion, XenServer's multipathing and XenMotion, or Virtual Iron's LiveMigrate.

AIM Destination Volumes
I mirror my business critical volumes to keep the data 100% available

The SANsymphony™ mirroring system is based on common foundations such as Fibre Channel and iSCSI, making it ideal for "stretch" clusters where application servers and storage are geographically separated.

When combined with Thin Provisioning, Synchronous Data Mirroring provides the maximum in availability without unnecessarily wasting disk space: the mirrored volumes only occupy that space in their associated pools necessary to hold the actual data.

AIM Destination Volumes
Thin Provisioniing at work: this 80GB Mirrored Virtual Volume only occupies
36.41GB of disk space on each of two redundant SANsymphony Storage Arrays

The SANsymphony™ storage solution we propose here is "Business Continuity Ready" — just add another SANsymphony™ storage array, hardware + software license. There are no additional "feature" or "capacity" licenses or hidden costs.

ASYNCHRONOUS REPLICATION — DR READY

DataCore offers a unique long-distance replication feature ideally suited for a DR project. AIM or "Asynchronous IP Mirroring" uses standard IP protocols to replicate volumes between DataCore-based storage products such as SANsymphony™ and SANmelody™.

AIM can be used over any of the server's network connections to implement replication over an existing network or VPN. No special Protocol Converters or hardware is required.

Disaster Recovery via Async Replication Any or all of the SANsymphony™ virtual volumes can be replicated between sites, including those volumes based on LUNs from any back-end SAN arrays virtualized by DataCore. You can replicate your EMC, HP, IBM, HDS storage to a SANsymphony or SANmelody server running at your DR site! That's virtualization.

AIM is a byte-level replication engine, live-replicating the data written to AIM source LUNs — once the mirror is established only the "deltas" are written.

AIM Destination Volumes
Monitoring AIM Source Volume Replication in SANsymphony

AIM is designed to allow flexibility in the use of the inter-site IP link. It can withstand link downtime and allows for scheduling of replication and bandwidth throttling.

AIM offers in-band snapshot and custom marker mechanisms to create checkpoints and automate processes on the replicated data at the DR site. AIM snapshot markers are integrated with SANsymphony's Snapshot manager and can be driven by GUI, by script, or by the DataCore VSS package.

AIM Destination Volumes
Monitoring AIM Destination Volume Replication, with Snapshot Markers

The setup and management of AIM is intuitive and DataCore and its partners can provide best practices, tools and Professional Services to plan and facilitate the deployment.

The SANsymphony™ storage solution we are proposing here is "Disaster Recovery Plan Ready". The AIM feature is included in the license — just add a SANsymphony™ or SANmelody™ storage array at the DR site. Again, there are no additional "feature" or "capacity" licenses or hidden costs.

"KISS" SOFTWARE LICENSING

Speaking of software licensing and costs, let's talk about how SANsymphony™ is sold. DataCore offers a simple bundled pricing model that includes all features (snapshots, volume clones, synchronous mirroring, asynchronous replication, storage pooling, thin provisioning, storage virtualization) with unlimited capacity. Like I said, "No hidden costs."

Let's add it up:

  • Up to 672 SAS and SATA-II drives with unlimited capacity license
  • 10 4Gb or 8Gb Fibre Channel ports
  • 4 x Gigabit NICs for iSCSI, NAS, and Async Replication
  • Full SCSI-3 recommendation implemented
  • Storage Pooling for convenience and flexibility
  • Thin Provisioning & Over-Subscription
  • Thin Provisioned Snapshots
  • Snapshot Volume Cloning (i.e. Disk To Disk Backups)
  • Quality of Service Controls over SAN Bandwidth
  • Scalable in capacity, ports, processors: Scales Up, Scales Out, Scales Forward
  • Software license can be installed and re-installed on any x86 hardware: Intel, AMD, HP, Dell, IBM, or white box
  • Storage Virtualization platform can virtualize any SAN storage you may already own
  • Business Continuity — Synchronous Mirroring Ready
  • Disaster Recovery — Asynchronous Replication Ready

Total price of this solution, fully configured hardware and software with 10 FC ports, 480 drives and 225 TB of capacity, based on list pricing? Well, I'm not authorized to publish DataCore's prices, so you'll need to contact DataCore or one of their Authorized Resellers for more information. Let's just say the total cost will be a small fraction of the cost associated with a similarly configured box from EMC, NetApp, HP, etc.

NEXT STEPS

SANsymphony™ is sold uniquely through DataCore's network of Value Added Resellers. For more information on the SANsymphony™ product and to find an authorized reseller in your area, please visit the DataCore website at www.datacore.com.

TGIF: Storage Virtualization - A Demo of SANsymphony

Presented by: Tim Warden, DataCore Software Corporation
Time: 09/26/2008 02:00 PM EDT
Duration: 1 Hour(s)

Want to see a live of demo of SANsymphony presented by the author of this paper? Just register for TGIF - The Friday Technical Deep Dive, a webinar presented on Fridays to highlight advanced topics of Storage Virtualization. Tim periodically gives an overview of SANsymphony, DataCore's Storage Virtualization platform, showing many of the advanced features including Synchronous Mirroring, Asynchronous Replication, Data Migration, etc. The presentation is intended for a technical audience with a cursory knowledge of SAN storage concepts. Following the demo, the presenter will entertain questions from any of the attendees. [Register...]