Posted by richswain in Feb 23, 2010, under News
The old adage of faster, smaller, cheaper has been revived in the N series product line. This week (officially) IBM released the information around the highly anticipated OEM re-brand of Netapp’s FAS 2040; the N34000. This system has a small 2U form factor but delivers higher performance than its beefier brother the N3600. If you want to see a full comparison of the three boxes, click here for more information.
IBM has three systems that round out the entry level or departmental storage platform. The N3600, the N3300 and now the N3400. All three are based on internal drives with some expansion to a few shelves as needed. The N3600 comes with 20 internal drives and the smaller N3300 and N3400 comes with only 12 internal disks and can expand to a maximum capacity of 136TB. There are two controllers that allow administrators to have a high availability solution for low cost. This makes the system more attractive as it also supports FCP, iSCSI, CIFS and NFS all from one platform.
The N3400 does have a few things I want to point out:
- 8GB of RAM (2x the amount in the N3600 and 4x the amount of the N3300)
- 512 mb NVRAM
- 2 integrated SAS ports and 8 total 1GBPS Ethernet port
- PCI-e port for expansion
All of these help set this box up for an important role within your datacenter. If you compare this system with other storage systems in the market, you find the new N3400 is well stacked and can compete even with larger mid-tier systems. This box is ideal for our SMB clients who really nee the all in one system with the horsepower to keep up with a growing company. The system is a long way from the first entry level system IBM decided to roll out, the N3700. If the two were to be compared the N3700 would be a ‘Happy Meal’ and the N3400 would be a super sized 2lb Angus burger with fries and shake, maybe even an apple pie.
This new system is considered ideal for both Windows consolidation and virtual environments alike. With the additional ports the system does leverage a larger life span as the new EXN 3000 SAS shelves are becoming more of the standard for the N series product line. The system on the other hand does not support 10GBPS cards or FCoE as the N3600 does. But as all N series systems support the same Data Ontap code, the robust system uses the same commands, interface and is bulit on the same technology as the other N60x0 and N7X000 lines.
Overall, this is an enhanced refresh of the exisitng N3300 with more ability to scale with currently technologies. The performance will be more than the N3600 which begs the question of the need for the N3300/N3600 systems. I suspect as Data Ontap 8 becomes general available from Netapp, there will be more entry level storage devices released.
For more information on the N3400 and all other N series related information, follow this link or contact your local IBM Storage Rep.
The N3400 series systems have been designed to provide double performance and twice the capacity than its predecessor, at an affordable price.
IBM System Storage N3400 series is the newest member of the N series entry-level family of products. This efficient, high performer,
easy to manage N series system can help customers to consolidate their storage in remote and branch offices, offering double the capacity than its predecessor.
Following are the main advantages of the new N3400 series systems:
New 600GB FC and SAS drives (available for all N series products)
Advanced performance for small or midsize enterprise deployments
Increased maximum capacity
Simple to upgrade, deploy and manage without need for extensive resources
Posted by kthuerk in Feb 10, 2010, under Event
There is a demo Feb 11th that will provide an Intro to the IBM N series and how to use N series to bring efficiency to Oracle environments.
WHEN: Thursday, February 11th, 10-11:30am CST.
PRESENTED BY: Mike Flaherty
Do you have older storage on your floor taking up space and is too costly to replace? Why not use a N series Gateway to help add value to that asset and ‘recycle’ the storage for other uses. We are all looking for ways to do more with fewer resources and demand on IT keeps getting larger.
N series storage can use older disk subsystems at the same time using its own native disks. It allows clients to use technology like deduplication, snapshots and thin provisioning with out having to rip and replace your existing footprint. The Gateway uses the underlying storage structure’s RAID for protection so there is no bloat with additional raid from the gateway itself.
If you have multiple storage units, no problem. We can connect via Fibre Channel to multiple storage platforms. This allows us to create teirs of storage for your applications so that slower systems are used for archives and faster systems are used for production data. Once the gateway is configured, the N series will present data just as if the disk were native.
We also add value for systems that don’t support certain technologies. For example, if you are interested in moving into 10Gbps networking. N series is the only platform that supports it at this time. You could use your storage system that you have now, put a gateway in front of it with a 10Gbps card and voila’. It is that easy.
Now you don’t have to use older storage appliance behind a gateway, we are using gateways in front of XiV, SVC and DS5k /8k. Now if you are looking for just Fibre Channel attachment this might not be a good fit but if you are looking for multiprotocol, application integration with Exchange/SQL/Oracle/VMware and the like. We can use the underlying storage system and make it more productive with the N series portfolio.
Other uses for a Gateway include disaster recovery, archiving, VDI projects, Dev and Test environments and much more. We see Gateways being used for data migrations, for site to site mirroring and recovery of data centers.
For more information about N series Gateways, check out the IBM site for N series
(formerly known as the IBM System Storage Symposium.)
If you sign up early you get access to both the Storage University and the System X and Blade Center University. They are at the same time and you can walk from one to other as needed.
There is a ton of information about IBM Storage at this event, if you have never been before, you should atleast take a look at the amount of material that will be covered.
IF your are interested in presenting or would like to know more feel free to reach out to me and I can put you in contact with our staff.
There is a demo on January 14 that will go over the basics of N series and Data ONTAP, and more. Here is the description along with the link to sign up.
WHEN: Thursday, January 14th, 10-11:30am CST.
PRESENTED BY: Gary Sewell
The topics that will be discussed during this N series presentation are:
1. Simplifying Data Management
2. Storage Efficiency
3. Protecting mission critical business applications (Oracle, Exchange, SQL, VMware & SAP) better than our competitors
4. Most importantly, see how we recover these applications in a matter of minutes!
Posted by richswain in Jan 04, 2010, under News
Welcome back from the holiday season! I am sure some of you worked through the holidays and hopefully most of you had time to spend time with friends and family the past few weeks. I have been doing some of both, IBM doesn’t shut down for the holidays but I was able to spend more time at home with my family just the same.
As we look forward to the first year of this decade, storage admins are facing new issues with conserving storage. The footprint is (and has been for some time) getting larger, we are keeping data longer, and everyone wants more space for less money without a performance penalty. I am sure you seeing similar issues and more in your own data centers, but what are storage vendors doing to help you solve these issues?
If you take a look at your storage plan today, does it match your business plan or a strategic plan? If your company has a strategic plan in place how can you look at that and gauge the storage plan? You may not have a plan in place today but that doesn’t have to stop you from looking 6 months ahead.
A couple of factors that can help you put a plan together.
1. Where is your data today? Clients are always looking to put the right data on the right system. Look for the benefits of both hardware (cache, processor, HBA, NICs) and software (snapshots, mirroring, data locking) to match a data type to the system. Does your Windows File server really need to run over the Fibre Channel SAN?
2. Is it on the right disk type or speed? Different disk types have different disk I/O measurements. Look at how your SATA vs FC vs SAS drives match the data set. Are you using high end disk for data that is hardly being used?
3. Can you be saving space by de-duping your data? We all multiple copies of the same files out there on storage. Why keep multiple copies of the same files/blocks if you can de-dupe that data on the storage system itself and free up storage for new data. Sales people love to sale new storage and help clients add on to their systems but you can extend the time to purchase by condensing the data you already have purchased.
4. How many systems are you running today? Can you consolidate those into a single platform? There are pros and cons of moving to a single platform, but instead of running three, think about running two? If you have multiple file servers, can you consolidate them on the N series system using its CIFS license? or Multi-store? With it on the storage side, you save money (AV agent license, backup license, OS license) and de-dupe the data so you don’t ‘need’ as much to begin with.
5. What is your backup/restore/retention schedule? Do you really need tape? It is 2010, people in 1980 were asking the same question and have been ever since. Tape still plays a big play in the data center today, but are you relying on it for restores? Whats your restore time? How reliable is the restore ?
There should be other parts of your plan but these questions should get you started. Take a different approach and interview other parts of IT like DB admins, developers even those network guys. Also different parts of the business, accountants, HR, Operations. You make get a better idea of their needs for the near future. Take the time to plan out the storage this year and hopefully it will save you not only time and money but a piece of mind as well
Posted by richswain in Nov 18, 2009, under News
There are a few new training classes that IBM is offering and our training partner FastLane.
If you are looking for simple, self paced online training check here
For more traditional classes on N series:
Also our training partner Fastlane now has N series training. Here is an excerpt from their site:
“Fast Lane is now an IBM N series Authorized training partner for the IBM System Storage N series product line. Fast Lane is now offering classroom courses for the entire IBM N series Unified Storage Solutions product line for IBMers, Business Partners and Customers.
In addition to our publicly available courses, Fast Lane can bring these standard courses or customized versions of these courses to your location at your request.”
If you are looking for training these are a good start, and remember you can always take classes at the Netapp University.
Posted by richswain in Oct 30, 2009, under News
Some of you had asked to know when this was released so here it is. Please, as always take time to read through the release notes and the admin guides to familiarize yourself with the changes. There are new commands and some have been retired.
A couple of key things for this release:
Support for the EXN 3000 disk shelf
Port based load balancing option for multimode VIFs
There is a lots of good information in the release notes that a lot of people miss and end up calling support. Everything in the document is linked so you can quickly move around and find things easily.
Posted by richswain in Oct 29, 2009, under Videos
There are MS Exchange admins out there that if you ask them how long does it take to recovery an Exchange server, you will see them shudder over the thought. And those who are recovering from tape? It gets even worse. I know there are requirements for tape and there are some that still like putting a tape in a fire proof safe just in case but lets talk about recovery.
Messaging is increasing becoming a top priority in companies around the world. We use it to communicate latest releases, respond to clients requests, get the scores from last night. It may not be as important as keeping the SAP database online, but its provides value that is noticed when down.
Not all recoveries are done through swinging the entire data center through the DR strategy. There are times when we need to restore a mailbox for legal reasons or people asking for certain emails to be brought back from an errand delete. How quick is your restore at that point? Can you pull the data off tape quicker than someone can recreate the excel spreadsheet?
With SnapManager for Exchange, we can quickly backup and restore exchange mailboxes. The same technology that we use for file level snapshots apply to here to a database. We put the database into a backup mode and take a consistent snapshot of the data with out the end user noticing. Backups can then be mirrored to another system either at a DR site or just another exchange cluster. This allows you to have a point in time capture of the data in case you need to restore.
Restores seem to be the more of the headache for most admins. With the snapshot restore via SnapManger for Exchange, an admin can simple choose which recovery point they want to restore from and they can have the data restore over the production or they can restore to a recovery storage post. The restore is quick and is intuitive which also cuts down on the overall recovery time.
Here is a quick video of the backup and restore function of SnapManager for Exchange.