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Elements of Virtualization: Converged Storage

There are many buzzwords and phrases flying around technology today.  Cloud seems to be one of the mosed used, misued, and abused.  A close second has to be ____ as a Service.  The latter has mostly become IT as a Service.    Once you look at information technology as a service we move our thinking toward how we provide access to needed information and less time spent on the traditional structures that we used to spend out time on.   Those structure become a commodity.   There a many types of these structures you can use to provide services.  You must evaluate them to find the ones that fit your business needs and budget.

Server virtualization began our journey which then continued with changes to networking.  This has resulted in making physical location of servers irrelevent to the consumers of the service.   One of the biggest remaining elements in this journey to virtualization of structures is storage.  It is hard to overcome that although the services can be located anywhere and accessed by consumers from anywhere with multiple decvices, the fact remains that theses services are still actually phsically located on disks somewhere.  Security, availability, and reliability are critical at this level.  This level is now seeing innovation and making leaps forward after not changing much over the past years.  The explosive growth of data is also fueling this need for innovation.

HP’s Solution

To overcome these silos of storage, we first address silos within a datacenter and then silos by location.  In this webinar, we looked at HP’s approach.  HP is positioned to provide products and servcies in each area of these covergerd infrastructures with their server, networking, and storage offerings.  They are building systems based on industry standard x-86 architecture using their c-7000 class blade system.  These systems more easily scale up and out without deadending you on a platform which limits growth and forcing costly replacements in the future.  HP uses a software based solution, Storage Provisioning Manager and Storage Essentials Manager, to enable storage management accross platforms and vendors.  These also plug in to other managment systems such as vCenter.  HP’s software uses a common layout so if you are familiar with any of their software such as Systems Insight Manager, you will find your way around.

HP P4800 G2

In this webinar we took a look at the HP P4800 G2.   As stated above, this system is built on the c7000 Blade Enclosure .  This provides advantages of shared resources improving efficiencies in power and cooling.  Converged networking through multi fabric switching options are one of the primary advatages.  The interconnects built in to the system allow you a lot of options such as HPs Flex 10 technology as described in this technology brief.  The guts of the system are the MDS-600 storage system.  It is a SAS disk based blade system storage system.

The brains of the system is the SAN/iQ software.  This brings together storage from different arrays into a converged storage system.    SAN/iQ also handles the copying/replicating of the data between sites.  Based on distance, bandwidth, and thus latency this can be synchronous, asynchronous, or an off site replictation.

Conclusion

The P4800 shows how far we have come in the journey to virtualized systems.  HP has built solutions to break through local storage silos and move toward scaling out to other sites. We also still have further to go.  We still have limitations on storage making it challenging to make storage transparent.   In my position, I fight storage silos popping up and many remote sites.  The solution I need will be the one that can address this.

 

 Disclaimer

This post is the first in a series as part of Thomas Jones (aka Niketown588) “Blogger Reality Contest”.  The contest is sponsored by HP and Ivy Worldwide.  As a contestent I will receive an expense paid trip and conference pass to VMworld 2011.  

 

 

 

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