HP iscsi storage for small and midsize businesses

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1 HP iscsi storage for small and midsize businesses IP SAN solution guide With data almost doubling in volume every year, businesses are discovering that they need to take a strategic approach to managing data in order to enable growth and control costs. Simple, affordable, and reliable networked storage solutions from HP based on the iscsi protocol can play an important role in your storage strategy helping you lower costs, reduce risk, and respond to business growth. How can this solution guide help? This guide is designed to help you understand iscsi or IP SAN technologies and show you how HP solutions based on iscsi can help address many of the storage challenges you may be facing. If you need more general information about storage technologies and HP s complete solution portfolio, many resources are available as part of the HP Simply StorageWorks program, including in-depth solution guides on storage consolidation, optimized file services, and data protection. Simply StorageWorks solution guides are available at: Part 1: The role of iscsi in your network storage strategy (pages 2 3) The storage area network (SAN) Key benefits of an iscsi SAN HP s approach to iscsi Part 2: Typical deployment scenarios (pages 4 6) All-in-One Storage for business flexibility Dedicated iscsi arrays for storage consolidation iscsi gateways using iscsi and Fibre Channel together Part 3: Choosing the right solution (page 7) Comparing iscsi and Fibre Channel Which HP iscsi solution is right for me? Additional resource links

2 Part 1: The role of iscsi in your network storage strategy Historically, it has seemed that the only way for many businesses to handle the exponential growth of data was to add more servers or direct attach storage (DAS). Yet, this approach does not scale well and in fact, the continued use of DAS is a source of extra headaches creating an environment that is inefficient, expensive, and difficult to protect. So what is the answer? Consolidated network storage offers many advantages over the limitations of direct attach storage. DAS creates islands of storage, leads to under-utilization of resources, and often must be managed using multiple dissimilar interfaces. A dedicated, optimized network storage solution, on the other hand, can vastly simplify management, enable better resource utilization, and protect critical data. Further, because network storage is accessible to any computer that can access the network, it is easier to scale and protect centrally. What s more, the principles of storage consolidation can be applied both to online data storage where applications have access to capacity from a central pool or to data protection, where individual servers are backed up to a centralized device. The storage area network: a key component of consolidation The simplest way of understanding a storage area network (SAN) is to compare it to a local area network (LAN), which helps multiple PCs share key IT resources such as applications, servers, shared files, and printers. SANs provide similar resource sharing but are specifically designed to help servers share storage devices such as disk arrays or tape libraries. To explain the SAN another way, when a server connects to an internal disk drive, it uses a hard drive controller to manage SCSI commands between the application and the physical disk. In a SAN, these commands are transported over the network, resulting in the same block-level access between applications and storage. The application running on the server continues to access data just as it did on a local disk drive for improved performance compared to the same application accessing remote data over a traditional network drive or file share. Traditionally, the network connection between servers and storage devices has been built using a dedicated Fibre Channel (FC) infrastructure made up of Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBAs) in servers connected via Fibre Channel switches and cables to a storage array. 2

3 A B C D E A-E Multiple servers SAN infrastructure Ethernet LAN network Consolidate server storage into storage array Disk storage Tape storage SAN management software SAN: Fibre Channel or IP (Ethernet) network Storage capacity iscsi is an alternative connectivity technology. Like Fibre Channel, iscsi can be used to connect servers to storage resources; however, unlike Fibre Channel, it runs on more widely deployed TCP/IP and Ethernet hardware which is why iscsi SANs are also often referred to as IP SANs. Because most IT users are familiar with Ethernet and TCP/IP, setting up and using an IP SAN is an easy task. IP SANs comprise two basic elements: An iscsi initiator on a host server talks to storage on an iscsi target using disk access commands that are encapsulated and carried over Ethernet. The iscsi initiator on a host application server can be either software-based or part of a dedicated iscsi HBA. Key benefits of an iscsi SAN Consolidating storage in a centralized pool via a SAN leads to greater efficiency because your servers can have shared access to storage, which means that your data can be managed, grown, and protected from a single control point. Using iscsi to create an IP SAN has the added benefits of low cost and easy deployment because it runs on a standard TCP/IP infrastructure that is familiar to most IT users worldwide. iscsi can also be used to provide access to Fibre Channel storage from application servers, which lowers the cost per port of accessing your existing Fibre Channel storage array. What is the HP approach to iscsi? We understand that no technology stands on its own; to provide true value to your business, that technology must integrate into your server, networking, and application environment. With engineering and deployment experience in all of these areas, HP is uniquely positioned to help you make the most of your IT investments by incorporating iscsi into your IT infrastructure. HP was a founding member of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and our engineers had hands-on involvement in writing the iscsi specification that is used by all iscsi providers. We also developed the industry s first multifunction network adapter, which combined Ethernet and iscsi capabilities in a single network card including support for TCP/IP offload and iscsi acceleration. HP has a broad range of iscsi-based storage solutions, making storage consolidation affordable for our customers who are seeking better utilization and higher availability with simplified management, greater flexibility, and improved scalability. 3

4 Part 2: Typical deployment scenarios All-in-One Storage for business flexibility HP All-in-One Storage Systems were designed from the ground up to help IT generalists to deploy network storage without needing significant storage expertise. A unified All-in-One storage solution can be used as both an iscsi target and an optimized file server (NAS) providing simple, cost-effective centralized storage for end-user file shares and shared storage for application servers. Another way to combine NAS and iscsi SAN capabilities is to add the Microsoft iscsi Software Target to the HP ProLiant storage server. Scenario Winsure, Inc. is a fast-growing business that, until recently, had eight servers spread across a couple of physical locations. Their rapid growth led them to add more servers and direct attach storage but then they found that they were spending so much time managing individual islands of storage that they had no time for other IT projects. They were hesitant to move to network storage because they feared they did not have the resources to deploy a better solution. Once they had taken a look at the HP All-in-One Storage System, however, they realized that the AiO1200 could not only provide them with the centralized capacity they needed, but it could also be used as a file server and disk-based backup target. Because it is built on HP ProLiant hardware and uses the Windows Storage Server operating system, the AiO1200 was easy to integrate into their existing environment. In the future, as they add emerging technologies such as virtualization, they can use their AiO1200 as a VMware repository and even replicate data from one All-in-One Storage System to another, using HP Storage Mirroring software. Clients File serving (NAS) via CIFS/NFS protocol iscsi initiator Application servers iscsi target AiO1200 Tape device (MSL2024) Locally hosted iscsi LUNs and NAS file shares are backed up directly from AiO to tape, optical, or other disk on the network. 4

5 Dedicated iscsi arrays for storage consolidation The HP StorageWorks 2000i Modular Smart Array enables traditional shared storage array capabilities over a standard TCP/IP infrastructure. A dedicated iscsi array is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to provide scalable, consolidated storage for your servers. Scenario Alphatex, Inc. is a midsize professional services firm with 650 employees spread across several offices. They had been using a large number of servers with direct attach storage enclosures to extend the capacity of their application servers. Now, they wanted to boost their efficiency in order to lower their IT expenditures, and they felt ready to consolidate their storage into a SAN but they needed to make sure that their new storage solution would be scalable and highly available. After careful investigation, they determined that the HP StorageWorks 2000i Modular Smart Array would provide them with a scalable and highly available storage solution to support their critical applications in an IP SAN environment. In addition, they would be able to use browser-based target-based management tools to manage their MSA2000i which simplified the installation, operation, and maintenance for their storage requirements. LAN (Ethernet) ProLiant DL320 G5 running Linux ProLiant DL380 G5 running Microsoft Exchange ProLiant DL320 G5 running Microsoft SQL Server iscsi SAN (Ethernet) MSA2000i 5

6 iscsi gateways using iscsi and Fibre Channel together Many businesses have invested significant resources in deploying Fibre Channel arrays and infrastructure to support their critical applications. However, a large number of their application servers are still not connected to the Fibre Channel SANs. Products like the HP ProLiant Storage Server DL380 G5 x64 SAN Gateway or multi-protocol routers allow some application servers to connect to the SAN via iscsi while others connect via Fibre Channel, enabling businesses to make better use of their storage infrastructure investments. Scenario Smartronix, Inc. deployed an HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) last year to support their SAP and Microsoft Exchange application servers. After that deployment, they realized it would be a good idea to use the array s excess capacity to provide shared storage to some departmental application servers. Rather than connect all of those servers through individual Fibre Channel ports in their SAN fabric, though, they chose to lower their costs by using an iscsi gateway. The HP ProLiant Storage Server DL380 G5 x64 SAN Gateway uses the Microsoft Windows Unified Data Storage Server (WUDSS) operating system to provide unified storage to clients and servers on the network. This solution had the dual advantage of providing both performance-optimized file-serving access and iscsi connectivity, for improved asset utilization and greater storage efficiency. Application servers Connected to SAN via iscsi gateway Clients iscsi SAN LAN File serving (NAS) via CIFS/NFS protocol HP ProLiant DL380 G5 x64 SAN Storage Server Fibre Channel SAN Application servers connected via Fibre Channel 6

7 Part 3: Choosing the right solution Comparing iscsi and Fibre Channel Fibre Channel (FC) technology is very well established and is the standard interconnect option in most of the SANs deployed today. It has the ability to provide high speeds, scalability, and reliability for block-based access to disk storage. Fibre Channel network fabrics typically run at speeds up to 4 Gb/s with minimal latency, which makes it a preferred connectivity choice for high I/O workloads and the demanding needs of transaction-intensive applications. While these are all advantages of Fibre Channel SANs, this highperformance infrastructure does require an investment in dedicated HBA cards and switches to create the SAN fabric. As discussed earlier, iscsi is a SAN interconnect protocol that uses standard TCP/IP equipment to create a SAN fabric which can lower the cost and complexity of deployment. Most TCP/IP networks today run at 1 Gb/s speeds, although 10 Gb/s Ethernet technology is starting to become more widely deployed. The key advantages of iscsi SANs include low cost and simple management. Many small and midsize application environments which could benefit from consolidated SAN storage do not need the higher throughput and scalability of Fibre Channel SAN fabrics. Setting up a dedicated iscsi network and utilizing Ethernet technologies such as TCP/IP offload engine (TOE), port teaming, and hardware iscsi initiator cards can improve throughput and performance. In general, application environments with a large number of servers or very high transaction rates will continue to be best served by a Fibre Channel SAN infrastructure, while smaller environments looking to take advantage of the efficiencies that storage consolidation can provide should consider iscsi as a viable alternative. Which HP iscsi solution is right for me? If you are consolidating storage for a small number of servers and do not need a high-availability system, you should consider the HP All-in-One Storage family, which provides both iscsi SAN and NAS fileserving capabilities. These systems are designed to be easy to install and can be managed by IT generalists with no storage expertise. If you need a solution with higher availability and the ability to clone storage areas, you should consider the HP MSA2000i, which offers dualcontrollers and writable snapshot functionality. This system can scale and perform well at higher workloads. If you need a mix of iscsi and Fibre Channel, you should consider adding an HP ProLiant DL380 G5 Storage Server x64 SAN Gateway in front of your existing Fibre Channel SAN or utilizing the iscsi option kit for the HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA). Whatever your storage needs, HP has the storage solution components and expertise to help you more effectively respond to the challenges of rapid data growth. In addition to iscsi storage products, HP also offers a full range of multifunction network adapters designed for HP ProLiant and HP BladeSystem servers. These multifunction NICs support hardware-based iscsi acceleration to improve performance, and when paired with HP StorageWorks iscsi arrays, deliver an end-to-end iscsi solution from the server through to the storage. For more information To learn more about HP iscsi storage solutions, please contact your HP representative or HP Channel Partner, or visit: 7

8 To learn more, visit Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein. Microsoft and Windows are U.S. registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. 4AA1-9151ENW, April 2008

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