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StorNext 3.0 Product Update: Server and Storage ...


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  • 1. PRODUCT BRIEF StorNext 3.0 Product Update: Server and Storage Virtualization with StorNext and VMware NOTICE This product brief may contain proprietary information protected by copyright. Information in this product brief is subject to change without notice and does not represent a commitment on the part of Quantum. Although using sources deemed to be reliable, Quantum assumes no liability for any inaccuracies that may be contained in this product brief. Quantum makes no commitment to update or keep current the information in this product brief, and reserves the right to make changes to or discontinue this product brief and/or products without notice. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval systems, for any person other than the purchaser’s personal use, without the express written permission of Quantum.
  • 2. StorNext 3.0 Product Update PRODUCT BRIEF Executive Summary Today’s IT environments often strive to optimize server and storage deployments by leveraging virtualization technologies. While StorNext as a shared file system already incorporates virtualization techniques that separate the physical layer of LUNs and FC infrastructure from the file system and data access layers, adding support for server based virtualization provided by VMware further increases the opportunity for cost savings and optimal resource utilization. The combined solution incorporates many advantages, from optimizing the usage of server and storage resources to the ability to move resources in and out of the active IT environment, often while data is being accessed. Based on VMware’s ESX product line and Quantum’s award-winning StorNext software, the combined solution leverages StorNext’s unique Distributed LAN Client (DLC) feature as well as SAN Client and Gateway technology to maximize throughput and resiliency while lowering cost for storage connectivity and server hardware. In 2007 Quantum joined VMware’s Technology Alliance Partner Program (TAP). The program allows partners such as Quantum to test and validate their products on VMware Virtual Infrastructure. Methodology StorNext File System (SNFS) provides a shared namespace across virtual servers running in multiple VMware virtual machines. This eliminates the need to distribute storage capacity and data access workload across multiple systems, allowing all virtual machines to access data at the same time. In addition to the StorNext File System StorNext offers an integrated, policy-based HSM solution for transparent, automated data movement to and from multiple archive tiers on disk and tape, called StorNext Storage Manager (SNSM). VMware’s ESX Server is installed on the server hardware system as the primary operating system. ESX Server allows multiple unmodified operating systems and their applications (such as web services or rendering applications) to run in virtual machines that share the actual physical resources. Each virtual machine represents a complete system, with processors, memory and networking. StorNext SAN and LAN Client software enables fast, resilient access to shared storage resources through a shared file system, the StorNext File System or SNFS. For a VMware environment a mix of SAN and LAN clients is recommended for optimum performance and resiliency. LAN Clients access data through SAN Clients that are configured as gateways for a specific file system. Multiple gateways can be configured in an environment, thus allowing for increased resiliency and throughput, but only one gateway can be configured per ESX server. This is due to limited support for LUN sharing in VMware ESX server. StorNext 3.0 Product Update 2
  • 3. StorNext 3.0 Product Update PRODUCT BRIEF Setting up a virtualized server and storage infrastructure Setting up a complete VMware / StorNext solution is achieved in four, straightforward, steps: 1. A shared storage pool, typically based on a Fibre Channel (FC) or iSCSI storage system, is configured. 2. A separate server acting as a MetaData Controller (MDC) is set up to manage access to the shared storage pool. 3. A StorNext SAN client is installed and configured in one of the VMware virtual machines (VMs). This client is used for highest throughput access to the shared storage pool, typically connected via Fibre Channel (FC) or iSCSI. Alternatively this SAN client can be configured as a Gateway system for the Distributed LAN clients. Multiple gateways (on distinct physical servers) can be used to increase resiliency and load-balancing options for the LAN clients. Only one SAN client can be configured on any given VMware ESX server. On the other hand multiple ESX servers or separate non-VMware servers can be deployed to provide additional SAN clients and/or Gateway systems. 4. StorNext Distributed LAN Clients are installed and configured in multiple VMware virtual machines for fast, resilient access through standard network interfaces (LAN) to the shared storage pool from applications running in those VMs. At least one SAN Client is needed to serve as a Gateway to access SAN storage from LAN clients. See Figure 1: Typical ESX Server configuration. The hardware resources, including CPU, memory and network are shared across all virtual machines. VM1 as the SAN client acts as a gateway for the other virtual machines. Typically, applications will reside in the LAN client VMs, in this case VM2 to VM4, but can also reside in VM1 if additional performance is required. Figure 1: Typical ESX Server configuration StorNext 3.0 Product Update 3
  • 4. StorNext 3.0 Product Update PRODUCT BRIEF Figure 2: Typical Virtual Infrastructure environment See Figure 2: Typical Virtual Infrastructure environment for an environment including a shared storage pool and a disk and tape archive tier. Validated Configurations The following configurations for SAN clients in VMware virtual machines have been tested and are currently supported by Quantum: - StorNext SAN Client (with SAN access to shared storage pool) - SLES10 x86 - StorNext SAN Client (with SAN access to shared storage pool) - SLES10 x86-64 - StorNext SAN Client (with SAN access to shared storage pool) - Windows 2003 x86 The VMware host runs VMware ESX Server. The following configurations for LAN clients accessing the shared storage pool from VMware virtual machines have been tested and are currently supported by Quantum: - StorNext LAN Client (with LAN access to a StorNext SAN client configured as a Gateway) - SLES10 x86 - StorNext LAN Client (with LAN access to a StorNext SAN client configured as a Gateway) - SLES10 x86-64 The following hardware and software setup was used during the self-validation: - A Dell 600SC with Windows XP running VMware VC 2.0.1 (VMware administration and licensing) - A Dell 1850 with VMware ESX 3.0.1 and four SLES10 virtual machines - A Dell 1950 with VMware ESX 3.0.1 and four SLES10x64 virtual machines - A Supermicro system with SLES10x64, the StorNext MDC (SNFS and SNSM) - An LSI 3992 disk array presenting 7 LUNs to a Brocade FC switch. StorNext 3.0 Product Update 4
  • 5. StorNext 3.0 Product Update PRODUCT BRIEF See Figure 3. The screenshot shows a VMware Virtual Infrastructure Host with four VMware guest systems. The VMware host is "evans". The guest "jim" is configured as a StorNext SAN client and is a gateway for "newt", "tip", and "tom", which are configured as StorNext LAN clients. The storage devices (SCSI Target LUNs presented by the array controller) presented on "vmhba1" are raw devices and are allocated to "jim". This allows "jim" to mount the StorNext SAN File System and to access it directly. The other guest systems access the StorNext File System through "jim". Figure 3: VMware Virtual Infrastructure Client showing test setup Implementation Considerations While virtualized infrastructures are very useful for customers focused on server consolidation and space savings, they might not always be the right answer for customers requiring highest resiliency, lowest latency and maximum throughput. Such environments might use standard server setups, while still taking advantage of StorNext’s build-in storage virtualization features. Care must be taken when designing the infrastructure, from choosing adequate storage devices (for example StorNext LSI Disk or 3rd party disk systems) and storage networking devices, server and network infrastructure as well as the right combination of SAN and LAN clients. Frequently asked questions Where can I find out more about VMware ESX? Check out VMware’s website at Where can I find out more about Quantum’s StorNext software? Check out Quantum’s StorNext website at StorNext 3.0 Product Update 5
  • 6. StorNext 3.0 Product Update PRODUCT BRIEF What storage virtualization features does StorNext offer? StorNext offers a variety of storage virtualization features, including: - Spanning file systems across multiple, heterogeneous storage systems - Dynamically move data from one to another storage system while data is being accessed - Dynamically replace out-of-service storage systems while data is being accessed - Dynamically enlarge file systems to incorporate increased capacity or additional storage systems - Automatically and transparently move data between on-line and near-line storage tiers, including disk and tape - All clients have access to the same data at the same time, regardless of Operating System and connectivity type Is StorNext certified with VMware? Quantum has self-validated StorNext running on VMware virtual machine products and will provide full customer support for StorNext in the validated configurations. How do I license a virtual infrastructure? StorNext Licensing is the same for a virtual or non-virtual environment. Key factors are number of clients (SAN vs. LAN Clients) for the StorNext File System and managed storage capacity if StorNext Storage Manager is used outside of the VMware environment. Why do you support only one SAN Client in any given VMware ESX Server? This is a VMware limitation. VMware currently supports LUN sharing (a pre-requisite for multiple SAN clients on one ESX Server) only for Microsoft Cluster Services, not for distributed file systems such as StorNext. How does Distributed LAN Client work? Please ask your sales representative for the Product Brief on Distributed LAN Client or contact the Software Architecture Group. Can I install an MDC in a virtual machine? Quantum currently does not support installation of a MetaData Controller in a virtual machine. Where can I download a VMware Evaluation? See VMware’s website at Where can I download a StorNext Evaluation? Check out Quantum’s StorNext website at StorNext 3.0 Product Update 6
  • 7. StorNext 3.0 Product Update PRODUCT BRIEF Summary The combination of VMware ESX Server and Quantum StorNext enables customers to implement a virtualized server and storage environment, reducing hardware and environmental costs as well as streamlining workflows. Additional Information For additional details on integrating StorNext in a VMware environment, available tuning and monitoring parameters, as well as how virtualization helps customers optimize their environments, consult Quantum’s Software Architecture Group by calling 800-677-6268 or emailing For more information on Distributed LAN Clients, please refer to the corresponding Product Brief (PB00021) that is available at Quantum’s Sales Tools portal. For contact and product information, About Quantum visit, call 800-677-6268 or send Quantum Corp. (NYSE:QTM) is the leading global storage company an email to specializing in backup, recovery and archive. Combining focused expertise, customer-driven innovation, and platform independence, Quantum provides a comprehensive range of disk, tape, media and software solutions supported by a world-class sales and service organization. As a long-standing and trusted partner, the company Backup. Recovery. Archive. It’s What We Do. works closely with a broad network of resellers, OEMs and other suppliers to meet customers' evolving data protection needs. ©2007 Quantum Corporation. All rights reserved. Quantum, the Quantum logo, and all other logos are registered trademarks of Quantum Corporation or of their respective owners. PB00026 July 2007