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Strategy

Current systems

Type 1 Storage - HP 3PAR InServ storage array

Following an extensive research and tender process, the HP 3PAR InServ storage system has been selected to provide our Type 1 storage. This is an enterprise-class storage system engineered for excellent performance and reliability.

It has been selected in the first instance to provide a storage facility for the ongoing virtualisation of the majority of the University's servers. Server virtualisation is a specialised process which requires a very high performance storage system. The InServ is the best choice for this, as 3PAR have included several capabilities specifically designed to integrate with the VMWare virtualisation software to simplify the process of server migration and management.

More detail on the 3PAR system and its implementation within the Storage Area Network Service is available here.

Type 2 Storage - Nexsan SATABeast/E60

During the second half of 2009, the Nexsan SATABeast storage unit was selected to provide our Type 2 storage and has since been superseded by a larger, more powerful model, the Nexsan E60. These are excellent high density storage units designed to provide large amounts of storage space without the premium price of a full SAN infrastructure.

They have been selected to provide a storage facility for applications such as departmental file stores, and other uses where multiple terabytes are required without the need for the multiple redundant systems or enhanced speed of the traditional SAN environment. Despite this, the units have several capabilities which mark them out from the usual range of low to mid-price disk arrays. Backed by the option of dual fabric connection for connected servers, they will provide many of the normal capabilities of SAN storage at an affordable cost.

More detail on the Nexsan systems and their implementation within the Storage Area Network Service is available here.

Connectivity

SAN storage at Warwick is connected via a dual redundant storage network. Hosts accessing the the Type 1 and Type 2 storage infrastructures will be connected to the storage network which will provide connection points for host servers and SAN storage in the four current SAN locations on campus.

It is proposed that the configuration of the storage network will be changed to take advantage of forthcoming enhancements and changes to the University data centre facilities.

Virtualisation

Server virtualisation brings a new set of challenges for the storage administrator. The amount of storage used, and the way it is used is completely different from (and much more demanding than) a standard server host. Additionally, the advent of storage virtualisation means that a SAN can be much more flexible with the way the storage is presented to any host server. Thin provisioning, volume copies, data migration - all these are possible with a layer of virtualisation software between the storage hardware and the host servers.