Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Creating a Scalable Open Source Storage Infrastructure

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1 Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Creating a Scalable Open Source Storage Infrastructure By Alan Radding and Nick Carr Abstract This paper discusses the issues related to storage design and anageent when an IT infrastructure is igrated fro a vertically scaled, large SMP architecture to a horizontally scaled server infrastructure--with large nubers of low-cost coodity servers running Linux to deliver industrial-strength processing. A discussion of the storage capabilities of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, including kernel-level, file systes, logical volue anageent and other features is included, along with an overview of the storage capabilities of Red Hat's ISV partners. The paper concludes with a discussion of the challenges of storage design and anageent in a horizontally scaled infrastructure, and offers guidance on the best storage anageent options available to custoers planning large-scale Linux deployents. June 2004 Copyright 2004 Red Hat, Inc. Red Hat, Red Hat Linux, the Red Hat Shadowan logo, and the products listed are tradearks or registered tradearks of Red Hat, Inc. in the US and other countries. Linux is a registered tradeark of Linus Torvalds. Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Creating a Scalable Open Source Storage Infrastructure 1

2 Introduction: Storage for Horizontal Scalability Many copanies are discovering that horizontal scalability is a better, ore cost-effective way to eet their growing requireents for server processing capability. Horizontal scalability is the process of deploying large nubers of low-cost coodity servers running an open source operating syste like Red Hat Enterprise Linux to deliver large-scale, industrial-strength processing. Previously, organizations requiring such large-scale processing followed a vertical approach to scalability by deploying increasingly larger, expensive, proprietary SMP servers. The horizontal approach to scalability offers a nuber of advantages. By taking advantage of low-cost coodity processors, the servers theselves, even deployed in large volues, are less expensive than the proprietary vertically scaled servers, yet deliver as uch or ore processing power. In addition to low cost, the horizontal approach offers ore flexibility and availability options. However, despite the clear advantages of such horizontal scalability, soe copanies have been hesitant to ipleent adoption progras due to concerns about how to integrate rapidly proliferating storage subsystes to their existing enterprise storage infrastructure, particularly their storage area network (SAN). While they are successfully anaging their SAN and network storage infrastructure with a sall nuber of large servers, they are concerned that igrating to an environent with a large nuber of sall servers will considerably coplicate storage anageent. Quite understandably, these copanies want to continue to experience the benefits of shared access provided by networked enterprise storage and the low total cost of ownership it delivers. Fortunately, with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, organizations can pursue a horizontal scalability strategy and fully leverage their existing investent in shared enterprise storage. Additionally, technologies that enable local (non-networked) storage to be consolidated and anaged as part of the overall storage infrastructure are developing rapidly. Servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux can connect with the organization's NAS and SAN storage via IP, or Fibre Channel. In addition, copanies will find an extensive range of software to support ost storage devices and hardware coponents, as well as interoperability with leading third-party storage anageent tools, such as those fro VERITAS. This paper should put anagers at ease concerning any storage issues arising fro an open source-based horizontal scalability strategy built around Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It will describe Red Hat's current storage capabilities, identify challenges of enterprise storage, and introduce Red Hat storage enhanceents to eet these challenges. Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Creating a Scalable Open Source Storage Infrastructure 2

3 Red Hat Enterprise Linux core storage capabilities Out of the box, Red Hat Enterprise Linux coes with the kind of robust capabilities needed for enterprise storage. Linux in general brings an extensive set of drivers for yriad storage hardware disk arrays, host bus adapters, network cards. Drivers are readily available and regularly updated by hardware vendors or Linux distribution aintainers. When it coes to storage in general, Linux is on par with any flavor of UNIX and other operating systes. Red Hat Enterprise Linux kernel In technical ters, the current Red Hat Enterprise Linux v.3 kernel provides support for volues up to 1TB in size. Recent file and I/O syste developent work has enabled uch larger file systes to be supported and the next ajor release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which will incorporate the Linux 2.6 kernel, extending the block device liit to 2^64 bytes--virtually liitless. In a 64-bit syste this essentially translates into unliited volue size. In general all the usual liitations file syste size, file size, buffer cache size, I/O transfer size, etc. are being steadily worked on by Red Hat and the open source counity as deanded by custoers. In addition, upcoing versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux will have support for tens of thousands of devices, overcoing the current upper liit of only a few hundred. This is an iportant capability, as storage area networks with thousands of storage devices are no longer uncoon. New systes will be able to accoodate increasingly large physical storage systes, coprising ever ore host bus adapters and devices. The recently published world record TPC/C benchark, achieved by a partnership of Oracle, Red Hat, and HP, included a storage syste with over 2000 physical disks providing a total of 93TB of data, hosting a 90TB database. So the ultiate scalability of Linux is not in doubt. The photograph below shows the actual benchark configuration. Details of the benchark can be found at #"%$'&)(+*#&,(.- / :91;#5 ;5;C 0D2EF-HGI,(J *#& - K)9ML8NO!>J 54P-QR>?(A 5S5& T2EU-HGWV>)X(B>)4Y4 &(-[Z]\N,^I- _ ` 1/bacNd"c&?"c>?(fe 9;bgh ``,` 0 a is) jgwk- K?;,:(l 5VG - Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Creating a Scalable Open Source Storage Infrastructure 3

4 Of greater interest fro an enterprise storage standpoint is Red Hat Enterprise Linux's support for journaled, networked, and clustered file systes as well as logical volue anagers, and its interoperability with third-party anageent storage software. File systes Red Hat Enterprise Linux allows organizations to run a choice of file systes. Particularly interesting to enterprise storage users are the default Linux file syste, Ext3 (Third Extended file-syste), NFS (Network File Syste), and Red Hat's GFS cluster file syste. Specifically: Ext3 is a journaling file syste, which uses log files to preserve the integrity of the file syste in the event of a sudden failure. It is the standard file syste used by all Red Hat Enterprise Linux systes. NFS is the de facto standard approach to accessing files across the network GFS (Global File Syste) allows ultiple servers to share access to the sae files on a SAN while anaging that access to avoid conflicts. Sistina Software, the original developer of GFS, was acquired by Red Hat at the end of Subsequently, Red Hat contributed the software to the open source counity under the GPL license, in keeping with Red Hat's developent ethodology. GFS is provided as a fully supported, optional layered product for Red Hat Enterprise Linux systes. Using an NFS-served Ext3 file syste, or GFS, enterprises are able to deploy large pools of shared storage that can be accessed by ultiple servers. Logical Volue Manager Red Hat Enterprise Linux includes the Logical Volue Manager (LVM), which provides kernel-level storage virtualization capabilities. The LVM allows syste adinistrators to cobine physical storage eleents into a collective storage pool, which can then be allocated and anaged according to application requireents, without regard for the specifics of the underlying physical disk systes. The LVM is the key to efficient, responsive enterprise storage anageent. Initially developed by Sistina and now part of the standard the Linux kernel, LVM has been adopted by the open source developent counity for online disk storage anageent with all ajor Linux distributions. LVM provides robust, enterprise-level volue anageent capabilities that are consistent with the leading, proprietary enterprise operating systes. Developent of LVM capabilities is progressing rapidly, and as of id these include: Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Creating a Scalable Open Source Storage Infrastructure 4

5 Storage perforance and availability anageent by allowing for the easy addition and reoval of physical devices and through dynaic disk volue resizing. Logical volues can be resized dynaically online, while the Ext3 supports offline file syste resizing (requiring unount, resize, and ount operations). Disk syste anageent that enables syste adinistrators to easily upgrade disks, reove failing disks, reorganize workloads, and adapt storage capacity to changing syste needs Additional and future features Included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a capability called Devlabel, which allows adinistrators to give storage devices persistent naes. This eliinates the proble of device naes changing when a syste is reconfigured. Devlabel can also be used to create consistent naes on systes with shared storage and has a provision for autoatically detecting and naing ulti-path devices. Multi-path access to storage is essential to continued availability in the event of path failure (such as failure of a Fibre Channel adapter). When providing ulti-path support the operating syste ust correctly identify the sae single device at the end of ultiple paths, as opposed to configuring ultiple devices. Red Hat Enterprise Linux s ulti-path device driver (MD driver), recognizes ultiple paths to the sae device, eliinating the proble of the syste assuing each path leads to a different disk. MD driver cobines the paths to a single disk, enabling failover to an alternate path if one path is disrupted. Additional features that are currently available and/or under developent for delivery between now and the next onths include: Snapshot capability to enable fast, consistent backups or point-in-tie recovery of daaged or istakenly deleted data. Host-based RAID-1 (irroring), which enable disks to be cobined into high availability configurations regardless of their physical connectivity (with controller based RAID-1 all devices in the irror set are usually connected to the sae controller). Delivery of all storage anageent capabilities for use in clustered environents. This ensures that all systes in the cluster aintain a consistent view of the underlying storage configuration, both fro a hardware and software standpoint. Storage capabilities fro Red Hat partners In addition to providing storage anageent capabilities in the base Red Hat Enterprise Linux product set or as optional layered products, Red Hat has worked closely with leading storage software providers to ensure their products are fully supported. This flexible approach results fro the realization that while soe custoers wish to use open source storage anageent software, others have standardized or proprietary third-party solutions. Providing a choice of solutions is a critical feature of Red Hat's product strategy. An exaple of this approach is that storage anageent Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Creating a Scalable Open Source Storage Infrastructure 5

6 products fro VERITAS, a recognized leader in the field, are supported on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Red Hat also partners with other leading storage vendors, including Network Appliance (NetApp) and EMC/Legato. Storage Options Enterprises today ebrace a wide range of storage options. Although SAN and NAS have eerged as the preferred enterprise storage approach, direct attached storage reains widespread throughout the enterprise. Red Hat Enterprise Linux supports the full set of enterprise storage options: Direct attached storage SCSI ATA Serial ATA SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) Networked storage SAN (access to block-level data over Fibre Channel or IP networks) NAS (access to data at the file level over IP networks) Storage interconnects Fibre Channel (FC) iscsi GNBD (global network block device) NFS Challenges of enterprise storage Traditionally storage has been directly associated with a specific server through direct attached storage. In the open systes environent, this typically took the for of a SCSI connection to a storage array. More recently, those storage arrays were configured in any of a nuber of RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disk) forats for purposes of high availability and perforance. Today, enterprises still deploy large aounts of direct attached storage, although the proportion is steadily declining as the deployent of networked storage, particularly SAN, increases. According to industry researcher IDC: In the US arket for external disk storage systes, revenue for storage attached network (SAN) systes will exceed the cobined value of network attached storage (NAS) and direct attached storage (DAS) shipents in 18 of 20 vertical arkets by This shift to networked storage is being driven by cost and productivity. Although siple to deploy, direct attached storage proves costly and cubersoe as the nuber of servers and their corresponding storage proliferates throughout the enterprise. Manageent of direct attached storage requires intensive aounts of labor, and it is ipossible, short of physically pulling disk and cables, to shift a server s unused storage capacity to another server that needs ore storage. Siilarly, it is Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Creating a Scalable Open Source Storage Infrastructure 6

7 coplicated for users to navigate to different data accessed through different servers. These factors drive up the cost of operating the storage environent while driving down worker productivity. Networked storage, on the other hand, enables the enterprise to create logical pools of storage that can be accessed by any authorized user or application over the network. Although the initial ipleentation is ore coplicated and costly, networked storage can be anaged centrally and, with the right anageent tools, allocated and reallocated as needed without having to physically ove disks and cables. In addition, data can be efficiently backed up or replicated for availability. As such, networked storage lowers the cost of operating the storage environent, enables greater storage utilization, and expedites access to storage, thus increasing worker productivity. Specifically, enterprise syste adinistrators want to ipleent their storage in such a way as to: Share data aong ultiple servers, enabling any server to access any data (for which it is authorized) anywhere on the network Scale (up or down) as needed by adding and reoving, allocating and re-allocating storage on the fly Converge and consolidate data by cobining block-level and file-level data within the sae storage infrastructure Ensure high availability through the use of irroring, replication, snapshots Protect data through backup and recovery Control costs and reduce total cost of ownership through centralization, virtualization, and autoation Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides the capabilities that enable enterprise storage anagers to eet these challenges. Advanced networked storage options for Red Hat Enterprise Linux Using the core storage capabilities described above LVM, GFS, devlabel, etc. Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides the features necessary to ake it effective for enterprise storage. Red Hat GFS is the single ost iportant of all these features. It allows ultiple servers to attach to a SAN and share a coon file syste apped onto a shared storage device, an architecture known as a data-sharing cluster. A cluster file syste such as GFS eliinates conflicts and probles that arise when different servers want to access the sae file at the sae tie. Using the GFS file syste, syste adinistrators can configure data sharing clusters using a group of Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers. Authorized servers and users can access and share data on the existing enterprise SAN via FC or iscsi (or GNBD, describe below) connections. The cobination of Red Hat GFS and LVM establishes the foundation for an advanced enterprise storage infrastructure that provides the following: Enterprise-wide data sharing aong ultiple servers Virtualization of ultiple disk storage systes Easy scalability, up or down Virtual single-syste iage for ease of anageent and ease of use Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Creating a Scalable Open Source Storage Infrastructure 7

8 Enterprise storage topologies Storage deployents for the enterprise use several different topologies, selected based on perforance and cost. At the high end (in ters of cost and perforance) is the SAN. In a typical SAN configuration each server is configured with a Fibre Channel host adapter that is connected to an external Fibre Channel storage array. In a large configuration a Fibre Channel hub or switch will be used to increase the connectivity, and iprove perforance and availability. SANs provide direct block-level access to storage. When deploying a SAN with the Ext3 file syste, each server ounts and accesses disk partitions individually. Concurrent access is not possible. When a server shuts down or fails, the clustering software will failover its disk partitions so that a reaining server can ount the and pick up its tasks. Deploying GFS on SAN-connected servers allows full sharing of all file syste data, concurrently. GFS technology provides unprecedented flexibility and scalability. These two configuration topologies are shown in the diagras below. NFS environents have been available for any years and their topologies are well known. In general, an NFS file server, usually configured with local storage, will serve file-level data across a network to reote NFS clients. This topology is best suited for non-shared data files (individual users' directories, for exaple) and is widely used in generalpurpose coputing environents. NFS configurations generally offer lower perforance than block-based SAN environents, but they are configured using standard IP networking hardware so offer excellent scalability. They are also considerably cheaper. An NFS topology is shown in the following diagra: Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Creating a Scalable Open Source Storage Infrastructure 8

9 Cobining the perforance and sharing capabilities of a SAN environent with the scalability and cost effectiveness of a NAS environent is a highly desirable goal for custoers and storage hardware and software vendors. A topology that achieves this uses SAN technology to provide the core ( back end ) physical disk infrastructure, and then uses block-level IP technology to distribute served data to its eventual consuer across the network. The eerging technology for delivering block-level data across a network is iscsi. This has been developing slowly for a nuber of years, but as the necessary standards have stabilized, adoption by industry vendors has started to accelerate considerably. Linux support for iscsi exists today and is aturing rapidly. As an alternative to iscsi, Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides support for Red Hat s Global Network Block Device (GNBD) protocol, which allows block-level data to be accessed over TCP/IP networks. The cobination of GNBD and GFS gives syste adinstrators additional configuration flexibility for sharing data on the SAN and throughout the enterprise. This topology allows a GFS cluster to scale to hundreds of servers, which can concurrently ount a shared file syste without the expense of including a Fibre Channel HBA and associated Fibre Channel switch port with every achine. In effect, syste adinistrators can ake SAN data available to any other systes on the network without the expense of a Fibre Channel SAN connection. Today, GNBD and iscsi offer siilar capabilities, however GNBD is a ature technology while iscsi is still relatively new. Red Hat provides GNBD as part of Red Hat Enterprise Linux so that custoers can deploy IP network-based SANs today. As iscsi atures it is expected to supplant GNBD, offering better perforance and a wider range of configuration options. An exaple configuration is shown in the diagra below. Using iscsi or GNBD, storage architects decouple the storage network port connection fro the servers, effectively putting ultiple servers Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Creating a Scalable Open Source Storage Infrastructure 9

10 through the sae storage network port connection. This approach allows the syste architect to achieve specific price, perforance and storage capacity objectives ore easily than with systes designed using only Fibre Channel for the SAN. With the ability to independently scale storage and capacity, a wide variety of file and database applications can be addressed in a cost-effective anner. In just the sae way, a SAN switch with both Fibre Channel and iscsi ports can aortize expensive Fibre Channel connectivity across a less expensive, ore scalable Ethernetbased IP network. For exaple, an organization can use GFS to cluster 128 servers connected via Gigabit Ethernet to 16 GNBD servers connected, in turn, to a SAN network with 16 shared storage devices. Instead of paying about $500,000 to directly attach each GFS server to the SAN (128 servers at $3000 per director port cost plus $1000 per FC HBA) the cost with GNBD would be about $100,000 (16 Linux GNBD servers, each with a FC HBA, at $2500 each and one 32-port FC switch at $60,000). The Red Hat GNBD/GFS approach saves $400,000 over the pure FC SAN approach. Add the extra savings of an open source Linux operating syste and coodity servers and the financial advantages of the Red Hat approach are overwheling. Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Creating a Scalable Open Source Storage Infrastructure 10

11 Red Hat Enterprise Linux storage ipleentation scenarios With Red Hat Enterprise Linux, organizations have several options. As upcoing enhanceents are rolled out, those options will continue to increase. The following table presents four coon enterprise storage scenarios using Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Scenerio Description Coponents Advantages Drawbacks NFS to NAS Connect ultiple servers to a NAS array to access files ISCSI to SAN Connect ultiple servers via IP to the FC SAN to access blocklevel data Servers to FC SAN Connect ultiple Linux servers to a SAN via FC Servers to converged SAN/NAS Multiple servers share file and block data on NAS and SAN Red Hat Enterprise Linux running NFS NAS array Ethernet/IP link NIC Red Hat Enterprise Linux running GFS iscsi Linux driver (available with Red Hat Enterprise Linux in late 2004 or early 2005) NIC Fibre Channel (FC) SAN Switch with FC and iscsi ports Red Hat Enterprise Linux FC HBA for each server 1 ulti-port FC switch Red Hat Enterprise Linux running GFS iscs/gnbd FC HBA and GNBD for a subset of servers Switch with FC and iscsi ports Industry-standard NAS configuration Low cost (no server HBA) POSIX-copliant Industry-standard SAN configuration Easy to deploy Low cost (fewer FC HBAs) POSIX-copliant Not POSIX copliant Slow Liited file sharing Note: All the above scenarios can take advantage of the other storage anageent capabilities provided by Red Hat Enterprise Linux, such as LVM, Devlabel, etc. Mediu perforance Higher perforance for FC-attached servers No Data sharing between servers unless used with GFS Costly (need FC HBA on each server) More coplex configuration Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Creating a Scalable Open Source Storage Infrastructure 11

12 Conclusion: Linux-Based Utility Coputing For large enterprises, scalability is the issue. Previously forced into deploying costly, proprietary, vertically scaled servers, enterprises can now deploy large sets of open source, coodity servers in a horizontal scalability strategy and achieve the sae levels of processing power for far less cost. And, they gain flexibility that is not possible with a vertical approach. Such horizontal scalability can lead an organization toward utility coputing, where server and storage resources are added as needed, on the fly. With Red Hat Enterprise Linux, anagers can achieve substantial server and storage flexibility the ability to add and reove servers and storage and to redirect and reallocate storage resources dynaically. This brings the to the brink of on-deand utility coputing but without the considerable price associated with today's utility coputing offerings. Even before organizations go that far, an enterprise storage strategy involving Red Hat Enterprise Linux will fit into their existing NAS and SAN storage environents. There, it will deliver iediate benefits in ters of storage consolidation, efficient anageent, low cost, and flexibility. Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Creating a Scalable Open Source Storage Infrastructure 12

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