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HP Lefthand Networks

Storage Clustering

  • SAN/IQ® Storage Clustering allows a customer to create pools of storage by consolidating storage nodes on the network into clusters. Storage Clustering provides online scalability, both within a volume and across the entire storage pool. All available physical capacity is aggregated and available to the volumes created on the SAN.
  • In order to scale capacity and/or performance, the IT administrator simply adds nodes to the storage cluster. SAN/IQ® software automatically redistributes the data for optimal data availability and performance. All the capacity, processing power, and bandwidth included in each node are aggregated into the entire SAN, ensuring an increase in performance as the SAN grows. To make the process even easier, LeftHand P4000 SANs let IT administrators expand volumes and add storage nodes online, without taking the volumes offline or causing application downtime.
  • For increased access to hardware, customers can install storage nodes anywhere on the IP network. Within a facility, storage nodes in a cluster can be spread out between the server room and a network closet. A single cluster can also be spread across physical sites or data centres to eliminate the risk of data loss from a site or data centre failure.
  • Customers can use SAN/iQ® Storage Clustering to implement different tiers of storage in their SAN. For instance a storage cluster of SAS-based storage nodes can be implemented for performance while a storage cluster of SATA-based storage nodes is implemented for higher density, all managed from a single interface.

Network RAID

SAN/iQ® Network RAID stripes and mirrors multiple copies of data across a cluster of storage nodes, eliminating any single point of failure in the SAN. Applications have continuous data availability in the event of a power, network, disk, controller, or entire storage node failure. SAN administrators can manage redundancy on a per-volume basis to optimize storage utilization and match the data protection of the volume to the application data on that volume. Customers choose one, two, three or four copies of data across the storage nodes, only allocating additional storage space for data that warrants additional protection. For increased protection, Network RAID can also be integrated into environments where application servers are clustered, enabling true, seamless, geo-cluster solutions that provide both application and storage clustering across geographies.

Thin Provisioning

Most SAN vendors place the provisioning burden on SAN administrators, asking them to predict how much space will be needed in the future for volumes, snapshots and remote copies, and what the SAN's expected growth rate will be. That information is required because most storage provisioning models call for pre-allocation of storage space on the SAN. Errors in estimation are inevitable, and can be expensive or cause snapshots and backups to fail. Worse yet, if administrators over-allocate storage, it is nearly impossible to reclaim that unused space. LeftHand P4000 SANs do not require pre-allocation of storage space. SAN/iQ® software manages all the storage allocations underneath a given volume, and the Thin Provisioning feature allocates space only as data is actually written to that volume. SAN/iQ® Thin Provisioning allows customers to purchase only the storage needed today and then add more storage to the clusters as application data grows. This raises the overall utilization and efficiency of the SAN and ultimately increases the ROI associated with the SAN.

Snapshots

Snapshots create instant point-in-time copies of data on a per-volume basis. Snapshots can be created in a variety of ways to meet business or application requirements. Administrators can create them manually ad-hoc, on a scheduled or scripted basis, or via the Microsoft VSS framework, and can then access these point-in-time snapshots to recover individual files or folders from the volume, or rollback an entire volume. Unlike most SAN vendors that require a snapshot reserve, SAN/iQ® Snapshots are always thin provisioned for efficiency, only consuming storage space on the SAN for the data written to the snapshot, eliminating any upfront space reservation or guesswork that could lead to snapshot and backup job failures.

Remote Copy

SAN/iQ® Remote Copy lets customers replicate thin provisioned snapshots between primary and remote locations. Because LeftHand remote copies are thin provisioned no space reservation at the remote location is required. Remote Copy is used for centralized backup and disaster recovery and can be set up on a per-volume basis. Remote copies placed on a recurring schedule allow customers to achieve point-in-time asynchronous replication of the data between locations, sites, or data centres. Integrated into the SAN/iQ® Remote Copy software is intelligent bandwidth management ensuring that the data traffic can be sent across shared WAN links without adversely impacting other network traffic. Administrators simply set the bandwidth limit for remote copies between the two sites and the SAN/iQ® software holds that limit. A failover/failback wizard is also included with Remote Copy for step-by-step, easy to execute disaster recovery procedures when needed most.

Performance Management

The SAN/iQ® Performance Management System is designed from the ground up to make it easy to obtain the performance metrics that customers need, when they need them. One click of the mouse and the Performance Monitor is up and running in the Centralized Management Console (CMC) so there is no external software to install. The monitor provides a short list of relevant statistics and counters, letting administrators obtain performance metrics rolled up to their preferred level of abstraction. The SAN/iQ® Performance Monitor provides performance information on a per-application server/virtual machine, logical volume, snapshot, storage cluster, and storage node basis, so there's no wading through irrelevant statistics in search of pertinent information. The Performance Monitor's graphical user interface is simple and elegant, and each statistic includes a detailed explanation of what it means for SAN performance.

SmartClone™ Technology

SAN/iQ® SmartClone™ technology instantly replicates data volumes and data sets into virtual copies or "clones" without requiring additional storage space. Each volume clone lets administrators save time and space in a variety of environments and applications, from server and desktop provisioning, to boot-from-SAN provisioning, to the rapid copying of production data into test and development environments. SmartClone™ technology is based on the space-efficient SAN/iQ® Thin Provisioning architecture, and the volume clones can be used without limitation along with all other SAN/iQ® features like Network RAID, Thin Provisioning, Snapshot, and Remote Copy. The feature works by taking any volume or snapshot and making one or many clones in an instant. The cloning function makes a permanent, read/write volume on the SAN, pointing back to the original volume's blocks instead of duplicating the blocks. By managing each clone as a pervasive volume, SmartClone eliminates any requirement for a volume, snapshot, or any of its predecessors to exist after the clone has been created, and also eliminates the need to run de-duplication software, because there are no duplicate blocks. The clone shares the original volume's blocks and uses copy-on-write semantics. SmartClone™ technology reduces storage costs and increases overall storage efficiency. Administrators can store "gold-master" system images on the SAN for virtual desktop and boot-from-SAN implementations, and quickly provision test environments using real production data. To simplify management, administrators can view all of the relationships between clones, volumes, and snapshots graphically in the Control Management Console.

Control Management Console

The entire LeftHand P4000 SAN is managed from the SAN/iQ® Centralized Management Console (CMC). An administrator simply connects via the IP network to the storage nodes. Multiple data centres and sites of storage can be managed from a "single pane-of-glass" no matter where the nodes are physically located. The CMC also includes an integrated Performance Monitor providing administrator with detailed, real-time metrics and the ability to export statistics. All of the SAN/iQ® features are managed from the CMC for simple, easy-to-manage storage.