Monday, April 11, 2011

NetApp Training Brain Dump: Problem and Solution

In SAN management, you're always working to meet several requirements depending on the nature of the data.  You may need to just add more space, in which case throwing more disks at the problem might be the best solution.  Other issues can be more complex to address, such as increasing performance working under a strict budget.  Below is a detailed progression of options as we search for the best solution.

Potential Options:
1) If you add more disks, the workload might be spread over more spindles and performance may increase.
2) What speed/size disk are you using?  Do you have well tiered data management solutions?
3) It might be smart to upgrade the RAM/Cache/Controllers in your SAN storage unit.
4) Utilization management: what applications are driving this change in performance requirements?  Can your SQL queries be more efficiently written?  Or maybe backup processes are poorly designed?
5) If you have all your high-transaction data on the same disks, you may want to spread that more evenly with your low-IO data.  This may require better software to be able to manage this solution (NetApp V-Series).
6) If a small amount of your data is responsibly for a disproportionate amount of writes, you may want to implement a Storage Acceleration solution in front of slower disks, giving you the performance you need at a lower cost.
7) If high read access is required, NetApp offers cache upgrades of high performance Flash memory to reduce the impact on your disks.

NetApp V-Series: Somewhat similar to HP SVSP, you place these devices between the clients of storage (servers, etc) and providers of storage (IBM XIV, etc).  This allows you to utilize NetApp's awesome software w/ your existing SAN technology.

NetApp SA (Storage Acceleration): Again, place these between your clients and providers of storage.  The device determines what data to hold in local, very fast memory, and what to relegate back to the actual SAN disk.  Pretty much the same relationship as your laptop's memory vs hard drive.  Increases performance.

Flash Cache: Implement this in your SAN storage unit for an inexpensive solution to drastically boost read operations!  Marketing says the performance of this technology is "comparable to SSD."

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