Enterprise computing made simple

Dec 4 2011   2:49PM GMT

Can you really consolidate your SAN’s and NAS’s?

Alaa Samarji Profile: AlaaSamarji

I remember couple of years back, Storage business was not a business to look out for. The market didn’t really understand or accept the concept of putting all your files data in a single place, everybody just loved having tones of file servers and spinning disks in Raid 5.

Back than a storage case at some customer site will truly make everyone run for their money since a SAN storage was highly linked with a high price and high risk and it was simply not worth it so people tended to keep focus on their servers/networking business and leave the storage part as a secondary target.

Today I have been quoting and consulting for storage boxes like if they were PC’s, everybody just need to get one regardless of he needs it or not it just happen that Storage is next big thing in the IT world and everybody is talking about it.

It has been increasingly noted that more and more businesses tend to have multiple storage brand like for example one customer will have an equalogic box and a LSI box while another customer will be running an EMC box with a netapp LSI box ect… I might agree with those businesses in thinking that multi vendor means not putting our entire eggs in a single basket however with this huge data explosion happening everywhere we are end up with times up to 4 storage boxes per site or more in a multi vendor scenario and this is making the life of the storage administrator a living hell.

One way to solve these issues will be migrating the entire thing into a one big solid storage box however try getting a quotation for a migration plan from one box to another, you will never hear the end of it from your CFO.

Other technologies have emerged from the abyss to tackle such challenges so we find software’s like VMware or Symantec storage foundation or even software’s like RELDATA that virtualize the disk array and make your applications move freely between boxes since and thanks to these software they are speaking the same language.

For me, using one of those solution is just like stretching the highway before hitting the wall because and eventually you will hit that wall!!!

All of those solutions will work for now but will not give you the satisfaction of really merging all of those storage array however I believe I have found the solution!

Introducing the all new Netapp V series, its not all that new but for some reason not a lot of people have heard about it so what is a V series.

If you’re familiar with Netapp controllers, a V series is just a controller without disks just looking like the 3200 or the 63200 FAS series and what they do is actually swallow a 3rd party storage all together!!!

Yes this is not a typo mistake a V series actually swallow your HP, EMC, Dell or even old Netapp boxes  and assume command of its disks in a very seamless and time affective manner.

What Netapp are saying is there is no need to throw away your old disks, no need for migration plan, no need for major planned down time and the risks that comes with it, a Netapp V series controller will sit on top of your old controller(HP, EMC, IBM, Netapp ect…), by pass it  and connect directly with the storage blocks (arrays) that you are currently using.

Upon doing that, the V series assume full control over those arrays, maintain Raid configuration and assume the role of its processing controllers.

But that’s not all, the storage array will now use all the nice feature and software that comes with a Netapp software like flex cache, snap mirror, snap restore, deduping and all those nice features, also the V series not only branch out on a single storage array, it will branch out on your entire storage pool in other world 1 V series will swallow all the storage brands that you have at once and at the same time, boost the performance dramatically and give you capabilities to even grow your data and storage array without even going back to the original principal.

So what are we looking at eventually?

We are looking at a high performing Controller array with all the I/O’s , PCI’s, Flash Cards, lights and bells that you find in a high end Storage controller. This controller will assume control of all disks arrays in your entire datacenter regardless from where those arrays came from or from which vendor.

No migration is required since everything stays in place, you have just improved the performance per storage pool but you are not moving it to another place unless you want to by two click of a button.

You are saving tones of money worth of throwing away the old hard disks and replacing them with new ones.

You are having new consolidated storage administration platform DataOntap to manage the whole thing.

You are now free to purchase new disk arrays and simply add them to the V series and keep growing that tree.

At the end of it a V series is not a cheap solution nor it is for the faint hearted IT managers , if you have a multi-platform in your datacenter and you just wish you can club all of those machines and maintenance contracts in a single box with minimum downtime and cost, have a look at the V series because it is the answer to your prayers.

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