Friday, June 13, 2008

Cool Technology of the Week

I'm often asked what tools and technologies we use to manage our 425 Terabytes storage infrastructure (almost half a Petabyte). What's cool about this array of hardware and software is that it works so well. We've not had downtime in 5 years, we've kept up with customer demand, and we've been able to meet our budget/green initiative goals despite significant increases in demand for storage capacity. Here's the overview.

1. Symantec Netbackup - Used to move all files into backup and archival storage.

2. Akorri Balance Point - Used with our Clariion storage to monitor disk contention and hotspots, recommend best placement of data, and where to get best performance bang for buck (e.g. add spindles, cpu, or memory?).

3. NetApp Onaro SanScreen Foundation and Capacity Manager - Provides means for server team to make provisioning requests, checks configuration changes to make sure they are being done correctly, and flags errors.

4. EMC Control Center and Storage Scope - Used for provisioning Symmetrix and reporting utilitization, so we can ensure our most expensive tier of storage is used most efficiently.

5. EMC Backup Advisor for Data Recovery Management Reporting - Gives us a report card of how we are doing with all clients for backups,
how fast each client is etc. It greatly helps us at focusing tuning of the backup environment and ensuring we haven't missed anything.

Our production storage arrays consist of (in Terabytes):

Top Tier Fast/Highest reliability storage
DMX 2000 24.5
DMX 1000 3.5

Mid Tier SATA and Fiber Channel drives/High reliability storage
Clariion CX700 14.1
Clariion CX3-80 87.7
Clariion CX3-80 40.8

Third Tier backup and archiving
Centera (non-PACS) 19.1
Centera PACS 162
Data Domain 580 70.5

Of note, the Data Domain appliance is used to efficiently compress and de-duplicate archival data. It has worked very well and been quite cost effective. We've not found another vendor with such a good archival storage product. I recommend you read this hilarious blog entry by Data Domain describing the industry reaction to their products.

Finally, we have also introduced Acopia File virtualization into our environment, which enables us to move files among storage devices and storage tiers without having to remap applications, user file shares, or operating system configurations. It's truly made us nimble in the allocation of storage types and locations.