Enterprise Services in a Modular Package
by Hu Yoshida on Sep 15, 2007
Last week I talked about the differences between enterprise and modular storage from an architecture standpoint. Enterprise storage systems have many storage port processors that share a large global cache so that the application can continue operation if one of the processors has a planned or unplanned outage. The large cache and large number of processors also enables the enterprise storage system to support many concurrent applications while supporting data mobility functions like distance replication. In comparison, modular storage typically has two active/passive processors with separate caches. Modular storage is designed to serve a few applications with great efficiency ( low cost and no overhead required to support a global cache) but availability is limited since it requires maintenance windows if one of the processors is taken off line for repairs or maintenance. Today I’d like to talk about how enterprise and modular storage is used and how we can combine the best of both. Enterprise storage users are generally large accounts that run hundreds of applications, need 7 by 24 availability, has critical applications that need a remote disaster recovery site, and usually have some mainframe requirements. Modular storage users are typically midrange customers. They don’t have mainframes, run fewer applications, and use host based software for data mobility functions like replication and migration.
Recently I have been meeting with customers who would be classified as midrange customers, who run their business on dual controller, modular arrays. However, based on the increasing amount of storage that they are installing and their increasing requirements for continuous availability and compliance, there is little difference in there storage requirements from larger enterprise customers. Their modular storage systems are beginning to run out of gas. While larger disks, like SATA 750GB disks, enable them to scale capacity to over 350 TB, modular architecture still limits them to two processors with separate 8GB caches and 2 or 4 ports per processor. So connectivity and performance is not in proportion to its capacity. Host based software is no longer able to move the data in any reasonable amount of time. Host based software also is limited, since it requires host server cycles which impacts application server performance; and it can not support consistency groups of data volumes that span multiple hosts. While these customers could clearly benefit from an enterprise storage system, their facilities and their budget may not be prepared for that class of storage system.
The Hitachi Data Systems’ USP VM is designed for these types of customers. It has all the functionality of the enterprise class USP V, including all data mobility functions, virtualization of external storage, and thin provisioning, with packaging and pricing that places it within the modular storage range. It is packaged in a 10u high, 19” form factor, with 220v power requirements. The USP VM has 48 4Gbps FC ports, each of which can be virtualized into 1024 virtual ports for enterprise class connectivity, all of which access a common cache enabling any number of ports to access the same cache image for availability and performance. When it is available in October, it will come with VMWare certification. The USP with external attach storage has been certified with VMWare.
The USP VM can be installed in front of exiting modular storage, and through virtualization, enhance their functionality with its enterprise services, and enhance performance through increased connectivity and cache performance. No need to rip and replace existing storage, or rewire the data center to install an enterprise class storage system. You can recover host server cycles and eliminate software licenses by offloading data mobility functions to an enterprise class storage controller that can support consistency groups and transfer data at FC speeds. If capacity is underutilized and additional capacity is not required, the USP VM can be acquired for about $60K with the Virtualization software included in the Basic Operating system.
If you are a user of modular storage and your business requirements are outgrowing the limitations of that architecture, you can enhance your modular storage with advanced enterprise functionality without having to rip and replace and upgrade your data center with 3 phase power, take a look at the new USP VM from Hitachi Data Systems and our family of partners and resellers.
Or, you could stick with your current mid-tier storage vendor, and move up to the “enterprise modular” storage array that is #1 in market share – the Symmetrix DMX-950. Migrate in non-disruptively, use single-phase power, install MORE drives, *AND* you can still use those SATA drives in the DMX to keep your storage (and power) costs down (something you can’t do with the USP-VM).
(OK – I know you won’t post this, but give us a break – it’s not like you guys INVENTED small enterprise-class storage or anything. EMC has been shipping the entry-level DMX800/950 for over four years now, and you’re just now getting around to copying that strategy. Pretty lame, if you ask me.)
And stuff like this erodes your credibility, you know. You can do better…I know you can.