Technical Marketing Solution Guide. Nimble Storage Solution Guide For Server Message Block (SMB) File Sharing

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1 Technical Marketing Solution Guide Nimble Storage Solution Guide For Server Message Block (SMB) File Sharing

2 Document Revision Date Revision Description (author) 5/18/ Initial Release (Neil Glick) THIS SOLUTION GUIDE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, AND MAY CONTAIN TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS AND TECHNICAL INACCURACIES. THE CONTENT IS PROVIDED AS IS, WITHOUT EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND. Nimble Storage: All rights reserved. Reproduction of this material in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of Nimble Storage is strictly prohibited. NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 2

3 Table of Contents INTRODUCTION... 5 Audience... 5 Assumptions... 5 Limitations and Other Considerations... 5 About the Authors... 5 OVERVIEW... 5 Performance and Capacity Efficiency... 6 Integrated Data Protection... 6 Pain-Free Operations... 6 ARCHITECTURE... 6 BENEFITS OF NATIVE WINDOWS FILE SHARING FUNCTIONALITY... 8 SMB (DFS) Distributed File System (including DFS-R)... 8 File Classification Infrastructure (FCI)... 9 File Server Resource Management Tools (FSRM)... 9 Native Disk Management Utility... 9 Shadow Copies (previous versions) of Shared Folders Offline Folders/Files and Folder Redirection Security Additional Microsoft File Services Features NIMBLE STORAGE VOLUMES Volume Creation and Protection for Windows File Sharing Volume and Data Replication for File Sharing Volume and Data Restoration for File Sharing MULTIPLE PATHS AND USAGE Nimble Connection Manager Using the New Datastore HIGH AVAILABILITY VMware versus Microsoft FILE SHARE PERFORMANCE Vdbench Nimble Storage Performance with SMB SUMMARY NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 3

4 List of Figures Figure 1 Ifrastructure Architecture... 7 Figure 2 vsphere Client Network Connectivity... 8 Figure 3 Volume Creation Performance Policies Figure 4 Volume Creation Protection Step Figure 5 Volume Creation - Protection Step Figure 6 Volume and Data Restoration Figure 7 VMware Manage Paths Information Figure 8 File Server Role Figure 9 Initialize Disk Figure 10 Initialize Disk Figure 11 Shared Disk Figure 12 Nimble Performance Monitor Vdbench Run 82K IOPS NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 4

5 Introduction Audience This guide is intended for solution architects, storage engineers, system administrators and IT managers who want to understand how to deploy SMB using Nimble Storage. Assumptions It is assumed that the reader has a working knowledge of VMware vsphere system administration, Microsoft Windows desktop and server administration, iscsi SAN network design and basic Nimble Storage operations. This is not a how to guide. Step by step setup is not covered, examples of screen shots and settings should be sufficient for the reader to apply the right changes to implement the steps outlined in this guide. Limitations and Other Considerations SMB architectures can be setup, protected and managed in multiple fashions. This solution guide will address a specific scenario and how to build around it. About the Authors This solution guide was created by: Neil Glick Technical Marketing Engineer Nimble Storage Overview Nimble has developed an entirely new approach to storage that seamlessly combines SSDs with highcapacity drives. Nimble s breakthrough CASL architecture is designed from the ground up to address SMB and file system performance. Nimble Storage arrays provide a complete application-aware data storage solution that includes flash accelerated primary storage, cost effective capacity, instant application-aware backup, and replication. This allows you to consolidate management of primary, secondary, and off-site disaster recovery storage within a single storage solution. A Nimble Storage array provides iscsi or Fibre Channel target volumes (LUNs) to Physical or Virtual hosts. Volumes created on Nimble Storage arrays are highly optimized for virtual machines by providing the following benefits: NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 5

6 Performance and Capacity Efficiency CASL s innovative use of flash enhances read performance by adaptively using flash to facilitate reads. Serializing random writes enhances write performance to effectively meet peaks in write IO s CASL compresses all data by default and typically provides savings 30-75% capacity savings without impacting performance. Most importantly, Nimble can respond rapidly to workload fluctuations. In comparison, traditional tiered architectures require hours or even days to respond to changes in IO patterns. Thin Provisioning is enabled on all volumes by default. Efficiently storing compressed data written rather than reserved space. Integrated Data Protection Highly efficient snapshots allow frequent recovery points with the ability for long term retention of user data. Snapshot creation is near instantaneous and does not impact application or storage performance. Zero-Copy Cloning: Preemptive de-duplication to eliminate storage footprint of cloned volumes. Built-in replication ensures user data is protected off-site in the event of a site failure. Pain-Free Operations The intuitive Nimble UI eliminates the complexity of provisioning and managing separate storage, backup, and disaster recovery devices. The Nimble vcenter plug-in simplifies the process of provisioning, replicating, backing up, monitoring, and managing user data for VMware environments. Frequent heartbeats monitor system health to identify potential failures before they occur. High availability and resiliency features combined with truly non-disruptive upgrades virtually eliminate downtime. Architecture This solution guide provides a SMB solution for Windows systems that leverages the power of Nimble Storage performance and scalability, Cisco UCS B-Series servers for compute power and VMware ESXi to virtualize the host and client environments. This is commonly referred to as a Nimble Storage SmartStack. NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 6

7 Figure 1 Infrastructure Architecture Windows 2012R2 has the ability to provide SMB as well as NFS protocols. This guide will focus only on the SMB capabilities. Virtualization of a file share environment allows for architectural flexibility and choices that are not available in a physical environment. To demonstrate the features of this solution, a 1TB volume was created on a Nimble Storage array and presented to VMware vsphere. The storage was presented through VMFS and applied to virtual Windows 2012R2 SMB file sharing host. Note that direct connections through iscsi or Fibre Channel are available and are viable options, but are out of scope in this paper. Client and data connectivity was provided through a 10GbE connection through vsphere over a dedicated NIC located on the Cisco UCS. NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 7

8 Figure 2 vsphere Client Network Connectivity Benefits of Native Windows File Sharing Functionality SMB 3.0 SMB 3.0 is the Microsoft SMB implementation. It s an improved version of the Server Message Block protocol that ships with Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8. SMB 3.0 further enhances the SMB 2.1 protocol offering: SMB Transparent Failover SMB Scale Out SMB Multichannel SMB Direct SMB Encryption VSS for SMB file shares SMB Directory Leasing SMB PowerShell (DFS) Distributed File System (including DFS-R) DFS simplifies the management of multiple file servers by aggregating file shares located in different file servers under a single logical folder. DFS provides location transparency and redundancy to improve data availability during failure or heavy load scenarios by allowing shares in multiple different locations to be logically grouped under one folder. DFS-R offers file replication NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 8

9 capabilities that support remote differential compression to minimize network bandwidth. Ensure the non-microsoft SMB implementation you re evaluating has full support and integration for DFS and DFS-R. DFS-R is Microsoft proprietary and is not available in non-microsoft implementations. File Classification Infrastructure (FCI) Windows Server File Classification Infrastructure (FCI) provides insight into your data to help you manage your file data more effectively, reduce costs, and mitigate risks by providing a built-in solution for file classification that allows administrators to automate manual processes with predefined policies based on the business value of the data. Non-Microsoft SMB implementations cannot integrate with FCI functionality. File Server Resource Management Tools (FSRM) Windows Servers also includes a set of tools that offer quota, file screen and report management. These tools can generate a variety of reports on utilized storage, such as the number of duplicate files that are stored and a report of large files. There is also support for quota management and real-time file screening to halt the storage of illegal content. The FSRM tools are proprietary to Microsoft file servers and thus are not available on non- Microsoft SMB implementations. Native Disk Management Utility The Disk Management utility is used for managing hard disks and the volumes or partitions that they contain. With Disk Management, you can initialize Nimble Storage arraydisks and format volumes with the FAT, FAT32, or NTFS file systems. Disk Management enables you to perform most disk-related tasks without restarting the system or interrupting users. NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 9

10 Shadow Copies (previous versions) of Shared Folders Shadow Copies of Shared Folders provides point-in-time copies of files that are located on shared file server resources that are attached to the Nimble Storage array. With Shadow Copies of Shared Folders, users can view shared files and folders as they existed at points of time in the past. Accessing previous versions of files, or shadow copies, is useful because users can: Recover files that were accidentally deleted. Recover from accidentally overwriting a file. Compare versions of a file while working. Ensure the non-microsoft SMB implementation you re evaluating has full support and integration with Microsoft s Shadow Copies. Offline Folders/Files and Folder Redirection Windows offline folder and file redirection provides a cached online mode, whereby read operations go to the local cache and write operations go to the cache and the server endpoint. Other changes include better handling of per-user encryption and synchronization, support for differential transfers of large files such as PSTs, and seamless offline and online transitions. Ensure the non-microsoft SMB implementation you re evaluating has full support and integration with Microsoft s Offline Folders/Files and Folder Redirection. Security NTFS Folder/File Security: Windows supports all the NTFS security types for files/folders (ACLs, DACLs, SACLs) which are necessary for user / group permissions as well as file auditing purposes. Non-MS SMB implementations may not support the full spectrum of NTFS ACLs, DACLs and SACLs. This can often lead to incompatibilities with applications and security vulnerabilities within your organization. Active Directory Domain Support: This is the primary and critical means most organizations implement to control and enforce user authentication and authorization within their file serving environments. NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 10

11 Failure to have full and proper AD integration and support of all domain types (W2K, W2K3, W2K8, native-mode, mixed mode, etc.) can cause security, integration and support headaches. Additional Microsoft File Services Features Many non-microsoft 3rd party NAS SMB implementations do not offer the same, exact level of specific integration and interoperability when compared to Microsoft. Often times these specific under-the-cover details are overlooked at first, but can become major issues later on. These incompatibilities and integration gaps are viewed by Microsoft as non-supported and non-qualified configurations, leaving the organization in a precarious situation. Some of the more common integration and feature gaps found in 3 rd party non-microsoft SMB implementations that should be tested and verified include: Support for Microsoft reparse points Support for Alternate Data Streams (aka. named streams) Support for SMB Opportunistic locking (better performance.) Support for NTFS ChangeNotify operations Support for Roaming User Profiles Support for NTFS Extended Attributes Support for NTFS Sparse Files Support for Symbolic links Support for full use of Local Users and Local Groups Support for Microsoft Encryption MMC support for user, group and directory quotas Support for all security levels for SMB connections (hisec.inf) Support for Secure LDAP (LDAP over SSL) Server & client side SMB signing Support for Access Based Enumeration (ABE) Support for Microsoft Group Policy Objects Support for LDAP signing and sealing Support for Local account policies Support for file System Access & Logon Auditing via EventViewer On-board, on-access and on-demand Antivirus protection Support for Microsoft WebDAV Support for IPv6 with SMB Support for Granular file blocking MMC Support for Local Users/groups NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 11

12 Nimble Storage Volumes Volume Creation and Protection for Windows File Sharing Creating a volume with Nimble Storage is quick and easy, but there are some decisions that will need to be made to best suit the file sharing environment. Nimble Storage allows for performance flexibility by selecting a pre-created Performance Policy or creating a brand new policy to custom fit the environment. When selecting a performance policy, be aware this is where blocksize, caching and compression options are decided. Figure 3 Volume Creation Performance Policies NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 12

13 As seen in Figure 3, there are multiple pre-created policies to choose from or a new policy can be created. For file sharing the decision can be a bit of a challenge. Default, VMware ESX 5, Window s File Server could all be options for a file share, but VMware ESX 5 will be policy chosen in this scenario since storage is being assigned to the virtual machine through vsphere and NOT directly connected to the Windows 2012R2 host. During volume creation a protection window will appear, but it is not necessary to protect the volume to finish the creation of the volume and it can be done after the volume has been created. It is strongly recommended to protect the volume at the earliest convenience to avoid potential data loss. Figure 4 Volume Creation Protection Step 1 NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 13

14 Nimble Storage uses a concept called a volume collection to protect volumes. A volume collection can be 1 or multiple volumes grouped together in a policy that describes when and how the volumes will be backed up. A Nimble Storage snapshot can be taken of the 1TB datastore at any time, but without synchronization with VMware vcenter the file share will be crash consistent. For further consistency Nimble Storage can synchronize snapshots with VMware vcenter as seen in Figures 4 and 5. For further information regarding volume protection, please visit the Nimble Storage technical papers webpage. Figure 5 Volume Creation - Protection Step 2 NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 14

15 Volume and Data Replication for File Sharing While not shown in this solution guide, file share data can be further protected with Nimble Storage array replication. Array replication allows for volume collection snapshots to be replicated from one Nimble Storage array to a downstream partner array. This secondary downstream array can be at the same site or geographically distant. Nimble Storage volume collection replication is easy to use and extremely flexible. Volume and Data Restoration for File Sharing Snapshots and backups are only one side of the coin. The ability to restore data is critical and Nimble Storage makes the process easy, flexible and reliable. Once volume collection snapshots have been taken of the file share volume, there are multiple choices for data recovery. Figure 6 Volume and Data Restoration A snapshot can be restored, set online, or cloned. To quickly revert to a previous known state a restore can be done, but it is important to remember that Restore restores the ENTIRE volume, affecting all of the data contained in it. The volume will also need to be set offline to perform the Restore, which will cause a datastore disconnect in VMware vsphere. Proper datastore maintenance steps should be taken before setting the volume offline. If the volume cannot be brought offline nor entirely restored the snapshot can be brought online or cloned. Once either of these actions is completed the volume can be mounted in VMware vcenter as a new datastore and browsed to find the necessary data. NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 15

16 Multiple Paths and Usage Nimble Connection Manager To assist in volume and datastore path management in VMware vsphere the Nimble Connection Manager (NCM) for VMware should be downloaded from the Downloads page located on the Nimble Storage InfoSight website. The NCM is a package that needs to be installed on each ESXi server which will connect to Nimble Storage. Once the installation has been completed the Nimble Storage best practices for VMware will be applied. The Nimble Storage NCM has two components, the Nimble Connection Service (NCS) and Nimble Path Selection Plugin (PSP). The NCS automatically calculates and maintains the optimal number of iscsi sessions from host to the storage group balance across the host s NIC s for a Nimble Storage device. The PSP automatically directs I/O requests for a Nimble Storage device to the most favorable network route. For more details on setting up the VMware NCM and PSP, consult the VMware Integration Guide. Figure 7 VMware Manage Paths Information NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 16

17 As seen in Figure 7, the NCM has been applied and the file share datastore has two active paths utilizing NIMBLE_PSP_DIRECTED path selection. Using the New Datastore Once the new datastore has been created, add it as a new hard disk in VMware vcenter to the file share host. Since backup and restores are performed at the volume level it is a best practice to have one volume per file share drive. For this reason is NOT recommended to create multiple virtual hard disks from the new datastore. See also the backup and recovery portion of this guide. On your Windows 2012R2 file share host install or validate that the File Server Role has been installed. This role is needed to allow file sharing over the network. Figure 8 File Server Role Navigate to Computer Management and the new drive should be ready and waiting configuration. Online the disk, and initialize it as seen in Figures 9 and 10. During the initialization, select the file system, block size and volume label for best file sharing results. Here the defaults have been chosen. NTFS defaults to 4K which match the block size of the VMware ESX5 block size on the Nimble. This is the smallest blocksize combination recommended and will be good for addressing the variety of user file IO supported on the SMB share. NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 17

18 Figure 9 Initialize Disk 1 NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 18

19 Figure 10 Initialize Disk 2 Once initialized, the disk or a directory within it can be shared for other computers and users to use. Utilize Microsoft best practices to set proper security and performance configurations for the file share. NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 19

20 Figure 11 Shared Disk To ensure file server best practices have been implemented on the Microsoft Windows 2012 server, Microsoft has created the File Services Best Practices Analyzer (BPA). It includes a number of rules, including 99 rules for SMB. The tool will help discover best practices that have currently not been met on the file server, the severity and where to get more information on how to correct the issue. High Availability VMware versus Microsoft Creating a highly available file sharing environment is important. Not only for protecting user data, but ensuring continued operation and data availability during business hours. To deploy high availability both VMware and Microsoft have created clustering and high availability products. If complete site recovery is necessary, VMware Site Recovery Manager or SRM can be used. An entire vcenter site can be failed over to an alternate vcenter, bringing along datastores, virtual machines and all components to keep a virtual environment running. Within a vcenter instance, administrators can use VMotion, High Availability, Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) and Storage DRS. Each of these products can help keep a file sharing environment highly available and avoid downtime. More information regarding Microsoft and VMware high availability products can be found at their respective websites. NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 20

21 File Share Performance Vdbench To test performance of the SMB file system, a Nimble Storage volume was mounted as drive E: on the client virtual machines and Vdbench was installed on those systems. Vdbench is a command line utility which is used to create disk I/O workloads to validate storage performance and data integrity. The following configuration file was used on the separate Vdbench hosts, with each host generating two test#.txt files. It was observed that two files per client produced more I/O than a single test file. The simplest design is to have a single file server with a single Nimble Storage volume shared out to the appropriate resources. However, architectural variations along with other applications can be utilized to realize the complete storage performance capabilities of the Nimble Storage array. compratio=1.5 sd=sd1,lun=e:\test40.txt,threads=32,size=50g sd=sd2,lun=e:\test41.txt,threads=32,size=50g wd=wd1,sd=(sd1,sd2),xfersize=4k,rdpct=50,seekpct=100,openflags=directio rd=run1,wd=wd1,iorate=(max),elapsed=1800,interval=5 This generates data with a compression ratio of 1.5:1. The blocksize is 4k with a 50% Write and 50% Read ratio and an IO rate as high as the hosts will let the data flow. Nimble Storage Performance with SMB A performance test running Vdbench was run on multiple Microsoft Windows clients connected to the SMB file share which produced a total of 82K combined read and write I/O. This result demonstrates that using a virtual Windows 2012 server within a VMware environment provides exceptional performance capability, by taking advantage of the Nimble Storage CASL architecture to accelerate both read and write IO. The Nimble Storage array used in this test has additional read and write IOPS available, which demonstrates a high performance file share with additional reserve that can be used for more file shares or the introduction of another application. NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 21

22 Figure 12 Nimble Performance Monitor Vdbench Run 82K IOPS The test results above were performed using a Nimble CS700 series array. Summary This solution guide provides administrative techniques and best practices to create a SMB file share environment utilizing Microsoft File Server capabilities hosted in a virtualized VMware vsphere environment with Cisco UCS servers and Nimble Storage. The use of native Windows 2012 SMB capabilities ensures 100% compatibility with SMB 3.0 features. For more information, contact your local integrator or vendor for more details. NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 22

23 Nimble Storage, Inc. 211 River Oaks Parkway, San Jose, CA Tel: ; Nimble Storage, Inc. Nimble Storage, InfoSight, CASL, SmartStack, and NimbleConnect are trademarks or registered trademarks of Nimble Storage, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. SMBG-0515 NIMBLE STORAGE SOLUTION GUIDE 23

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