BVA has been performing many virtual implementations in recent months and over the course of 10 years we have been involved with many different types of SANs on the market. Shared storage for the small to medium size businesses are starting to become a norm and with lower cost points for virtual server software it more advantageous for companies to go with that architecture. Our most common project these days are moving 6 to 15 production servers into a three-cluster virtual node architecture with shared storage leveraging VMware or HyperV. After testing and playing with a few different SAN’s, bva favorite is the The NetApp FAS 2040. It has up to 136 disks (136 TB) storage capacity, FC-SAN, IP-SAN (iSCSI), and NAS (CIFS/NFS) protocol support.
Full SAS capable which is more than capable to handle the typical i/o for small businesses today. Full Fiber Channel capable, full SATA or FC/SAS/SATA disk mix. Single and dual active-active controller models are capable for an aggressive price point. The SAN also has (2) two 4Gb FC ports as well as (4) four GbE ports and 1 SAS port per controller which is very versatile. (4) Four GB cache per controller which is the standard configuration when we are doing our typical installation.
The NetApp 2040
The FAS 2040 systems offers unified file and block storage. That means one solution for CIFS, NFS, iSCSI, and FC SAN storage protocols. The units Data ONTAP operating system provides storage efficiency through higher utilization of capacity via thin provisioning and SnapshotTM technology. The unit is also very scalable by way of having the option to add more drives to an existing original enclosure. It means being able to combine existing and expanded data-management resources in the fastest, most elegant solution.
In working with a few different architectural firms and medical agencies, BVA has learned of several types of backup solutions that lean toward hitting compliance standards. Being able to store large amounts of data for a specific period of time is crucial. We have found that tape is a great solution but the problem that we see is the restore time in case something took place. Even with an LTO4, the restore time would be quite substantial which could be very painful when we are talking about a terabyte of data. In looking around for different solution we found a DISK based solution, GB, that really shortens the gap of restoring. The product is called ProStor InfiniVault and is an array full of disks that are removable which is great.
ProStor InfiniVault is a storage system designed to balance the need to cost-effectively manage increasing amounts of information over extended periods of time. This is the storage solution for terabyte-years. You can restore data fast with reliable retrieval of information from a choice of local online, removable offline or replicated locations. The backup system comes fully equipped with what technology consulting companies and administrators need to manage their data for the long-term. There is no extra cost for software features and RDX disk drives can be added when storage needs grow, without having to purchase expensive disk management tools or new system infrastructure. Data is organized into vaults allowing fast access through a standard NAS interface. The system automatically manages data retention, compression, encryption, and single-instancing de-duplication. It also maintains data integrity for the user so that data is available for years to come.
The intelligent software engine automatically protects itself – there is no need to back it up. The software stores multiple copies of each file to RDX removable disk cartridges, allowing near-line and offline data protection with removability for seamless integration into current workflows. The software provides several features that allow organizations to comply with the rules and regulations that govern their business, such as:
- Hardware-enforced WORM for immutability
- Audit trail with chain-of-custody reporting
- File indexing for search and rapid file retrieval (eDiscovery)
- Data retention and automatic deletion
- Automatic copies
- Legal hold enforcement
- Data encryption and key management
The backup software has a web-based management console and provides a simple interface for configuration and management. The disks used to store the data is called RDX. Over 130 Petabytes of data can be stored on RDX disks today, RDX is the market leader in removable storage. Organizations can trust that the technology is here to stay. RDX has such world-wide acceptance because of its cost-savings benefits such as:
- RDX uses less energy: RDX disks are powered down when not in use, thus reducing power and cooling costs.
- RDX disks are cost-effective: Capacities can be intermixed, and the interface will remain compatible well into the future. Organizations can purchase the latest capacity cartridge at the current best market price.
- RDX is built to last: Each RDX cartridge has a 30-year shelf life, along with protection against drops and static electricity.
Models and Hardware Specs:
BVA’s new favorite SAN is the FAS3100 series which is pretty cool in terms of price points versus features offered. Its scalable, easy to deploy, and price aggressive. It has the following attributes that are in line of why we have this viewpoint:
- Low overhead Double Parity RAID-DP offers better data protection and capacity utilization than RAID 5 and RAID 1+0.
- Snapshot feature helps reduce backup time to minutes.
- SnapRestore feature recovers point-in-time data, also in minutes.
- SnapManager feature quickly returns applications to the same point in time as recovered data.
NetApp has a innovative thin provisioning that eliminates stranded storage. And you can make data-in-place upgrades to more powerful FAS systems. This could be your primary and secondary storage unit. It’s extremely easy to install, provision, manage, and upgrade so you can quickly adapt your storage infrastructure to meet changing business and technical needs. The FAS3100 SAN systems enable you to connect your heterogeneous server environment (including Windows, UNIX, and Linux servers) and clients to one storage system by using standard storage protocols and interfaces.
In terms of cost they roughly are between $35,000 to $60,000 depending on Disk Total, single or dual controller, SATA versus SAS, and NIC speed connections.