Storage Management Efficiency –A Unified Approach
by Hu Yoshida on Mar 19, 2012
Management efficiency is a key part of storage efficiency. The explosion of data and data types cannot be managed if we continue to take a piecemeal approach to storage management.
Most data centers have a mixture of storage products from different vendors, which require various storage tools and procedures. Even when the storage products come from the same vendor, there may be different management tools required for enterprise, modular, NAS, content and cloud storage. This creates inefficiencies with added costs for training, operations, maintenance and tech refreshes.
The HDS approach is to provide one management platform for all data, whether it is structured, unstructured, semi-structured or rich media; it also manages data across different storage infrastructures like file, block and content, as well as different vendor products that are virtualized behind VSP. This management platform is Hitachi Command Suite (HCS).
The architecture of HCS is built on an abstraction layer covering the different element managers, so that a services module like configuration or protection can service all the supported element managers underneath it. Above the services layer is an asset management layer, and above that are business intelligence and dynamic infrastructure orchestration layers. Not all the element managers are in place today, but will be incorporated in the future.
The virtualized storage element manager enables HCS to administer other vendor products that are virtualized behind VSP. Once a LUN is created on an external storage system using that particular vendor’s configuration tool, HCS can manage the LUN as though it were a Hitachi LUN. For instance, you would need to use the EMC tools to create a DMX LUN and set port assignments with BIN files. However once the LUN is created, HCS can provide all the higher-level management services for the EMC LUN. HCS can move, copy, replicate, tier and thin provision it as though it were a Hitachi LUN.
This unified approach to managing data becomes increasingly important as applications begin to push more workload down into the storage; and functions (like provisioning) are shared between the application and storage layers. An example are the APIs from VMware (VAAI) that push VM functions, like formatting of virtual disks, VMotion of data across storage systems, and recovery of storage capacity from deleted virtual machines down to the storage. Instead of implementing these APIs on different systems with different management tools, they can be enabled only once in the VSP controller and mapped across all the systems virtualized behind VSP. Similar support is provided for Microsoft, Symantec, SAP and Oracle plugins, adapters and client/providers.
There are an increasing number of administrators who are managing storage, and all of them need to have a consistent view of storage. A VMware or hypervisor administrator carves up the virtual disks for their virtual machines. A file administrator is carving up file shares and distributing it across a global name space—this also needs to be seen by the storage administrator. HCS provides a view into the infrastructure to VMware through a vCenter plugin and at the same time provides the storage administrator a view of VMware’s storage utilization through a Command Director portal. The Command Director provides a storage administrator a view of storage utilization from the application perspective. VSP, as well as HCS, supplies SMI-S providers so that third party management systems can discover and visualize the resources under VSP and HCS.
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For other posts on maximizing storage and capacity efficiencies, check these out: http://blogs.hds.com/capacity-efficiency.php