Virtualized Storage NetApp extends from hardware to Application Layer

Source: Internet
Author: User
Tags ontap

To achieve the goal of separating data from hardware devices, NetApp expands virtualization technology from the device layer to the application layer to enhance virtualization functions, and also releases new versions of VFM 6.0 and SnapDrive software, let the virtualization technology go further.

James Lau, Founder and Executive Vice President of NetApp, said that storage virtualization is still the main axis of NetApp's future development, and NetApp wants to expand its storage virtualization technology from the device level to the application level, in order to realize the benefits of virtualization, on the one hand, it can improve the storage utilization, and on the other hand, it can simplify the storage management and architecture.

For devices that currently support storage virtualization, resources on heterogeneous platforms are mostly managed through a single interface to achieve centralized devices, reduce storage space, and improve efficiency.

James Lau said that in addition to providing V series products that can centralize heterogeneous platform devices into a "virtual pool", NetApp is more eager to import virtualization technology into each device. Currently, NetApp provides a virtualization solution that not only virtualizes multiple storage devices into one device, but also virtualizes multiple devices from one device, and also isolates data from devices, to solve the complex management problems brought about by increasing data volumes, enterprises can shift their focus from management devices to management data.

Supporting multiple protocols is the basis of Storage Virtualization

NetApp currently applies the storage virtualization technology to products such as the FAS series, V series, and Virtual Tape Library NearStor VTL.

The same Operating System Data ONTAP is used for the FAS and V series. The most important feature of the operating system is that it supports both fc san, iSCSI, and NAS (supports CIFS and NFS protocols).

Jiang Qun, Technical Director of NetApp, said that when enterprises move to the network storage environment, since each protocol is independent, it seems to have returned to the original DAS architecture, therefore, the architecture must be simplified by integrating different protocols. In a multi-protocol architecture, storage virtualization can be used to achieve unified management.

VTL is a disk backup solution. It simulates a disk as a tape to improve the backup efficiency without changing the existing architecture and management mechanism.

Virtualization improves space utilization

NetApp also provides a variety of virtualization functions on Data ONTAP, such as FlexVol, FlexClone, and Snapshot, to improve resource utilization.

FlexVol is the Thin Provisioning (storage resources are allocated as needed) technology. The key is to allow the front-end servers to install more storage capacity than the actual storage devices, for example, the actual storage device capacity is only 100 GB, but the front-end server can think of 1 TB through the Thin Provisioning technology.

Generally, the first step for an enterprise to build a storage system is to allocate the storage space to each application system. However, when the storage space is allocated to an application system, other application systems cannot use this space, which is equivalent to locking the disk space, resulting in a waste of space. In the early deployment phase, it is usually difficult for managers to precisely know the actual capacity requirements of each application system. Thin Provisioning changes this approach and all application systems can share the space.

On the other hand, NetApp also added a Space reclause function built in the new SnapDrive version. Jiang Qun said that this function can further improve the efficiency of Thin Provisioning, the storage space usage can exceed.

Generally, when an application system uses a certain sector, even if the data is deleted later, the storage device itself cannot identify that the data has been deleted, so the storage space cannot be recycled, space reclause can determine whether data is deleted, so Space waste can be avoided.

FlexClone and Snapshot are used to save space for data copying and Snapshot respectively. FlexClone mainly refers to the replication of applications in databases. When an enterprise wants to perform test and development, it may need several copies. Therefore, the enterprise must prepare several times of capacity, said Jiang Qun, flexClone creates a virtual clone, so you only need to prepare a copy of the space. Snapshot allows 256 blocks to be virtualized in each sector. Therefore, you do not need to prepare disk space of the same data volume when creating the first Snapshot backup.

Separate data from equipment, simplify management

Virtualization separates devices from data, making it easier for enterprises to manage data.

NetApp's Virtual File Management (VFM) and DataONTAP GX use the Global Namespace technology to build a Virtual logic layer at the front-end of the storage system, virtualize the original storage path as a logical path. Therefore, when you want to download an archive, you do not need to know which storage device exists in the archive, the Application of archive virtualization also includes online Migration, replication, and archiving.

NetApp is also expected to migrate the DataONTAP GX function to a later version of DataONTAP 7G. In addition, in the new version of VFM 6.0, the data migration feature is also added to increase the elasticity of data migration.

Jiang Qun said that because the enterprise's IT architecture is very complex, each department or operating unit has different management permissions and needs to purchase multiple independent storage systems, MultiStore can meet such requirements, by simulating a NetApp FAS Storage system into multiple independent virtual Storage systems, each virtual Storage system has independent management rights, and its spirit is similar to that of VMware.

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