NEC’s Vice President of Advanced Storage Products, Karen Dutch, recently brought out some salient points about storage management in her Spring 2008 SNW presentation, “Defining Storage Solutions in the Data Center 2.0“. Specifically, she described the features that new storage architectures should deliver in order to keep storage management manageable as storage growth in organizations continues. Of course, the not-so-subtle message is that NEC’s HYDRAstor delivers on these new features. Here’s how I see the HYDRAstor doing so.
- Self managing. NEC’s HYDRAstor architecture supports self-management through the dynamic addition of nodes (servers) that offer either more capacity or performance. As more Accelerator or Storage Nodes are added to the HYDRAstor grid architecture, it non-disruptively redistributes data across old and new nodes to optimize performance and maximize data resiliency. This eliminates the normal processes of provisioning, sizing and data migrations that administrators have to perform, while alleviating the management overhead and costs associated with archive and backup processes.
- Data mobility. Data mobility comes more prominently into play when new Storage Nodes are added into the HYDRAstor grid storage architecture as well as during technology refreshes of Storage Nodes. As new Storage Nodes are added, the HYDRAstor re-balances data across existing and new Storage Nodes to simplify data management. As existing nodes are retired, data from an existing node is automatically migrated to a new node and, if companies have multiple sites, HYDRAstor supports the movement of data to alternative sites to create an enhanced level of data resiliency.
- Non-disruptive evolution. The HYDRAstor grid storage architecture addresses one of the most problematic aspects of storage management today: technology refreshes. As current storage systems age, usually the only option companies have is to purchase an entirely new storage system and then use either host or network based data migration tools to move to new storage controller architectures. Since HYDRAstor is based on a grid architecture, it can transparently evolve to newer technology simply through the introduction of new Accelerator or Storage Nodes based on the latest and greatest hardware technology. The HYDRAstor adds these new nodes into the grid while older nodes are marked for decommissioning and non-disruptively taken out of service.
- Scalability without trade-offs. A key problem with current storage system architectures is that you generally have to pick between performance, capacity and cost when scaling the architecture. Since HYDRAstor’s Accelerator and Storage Nodes are based on industry-standard, off-the-shelf hardware, the typical hardware costs associated with proprietary storage hardware architectures are avoided. Since HYDRAstor also decouples performance (Accelerator Nodes) and capacity (Storage Nodes), users can scale one or both to accommodate whichever direction their storage environment grows.
- Enhanced, flexible resiliency. The HYDRAstor accounts for the growing possibility that today’s RAID data protection architectures are insufficient when deduplication is used across 100s or 1000s of TBs of capacity. Administrators can define the level of data redundancy that is appropriate to their site and the HYDRAstor will dynamically distribute the data across the nodes to deliver the desired level of resiliency.
- Integrated data management services. The HYDRAstor comes with two sets of integrated data management services. The base level of services includes the automated management of the data, more efficient storage (deduplication) and enhanced data resiliency. Advanced services like replication, WORM, security, classification and search are other features that users can optionally license from NEC.
- Industry standard interface support. The HYDRAstor presents an industry-standard NFS and/or CIFS interface, so any Linux, Windows or UNIX server can archive data to it or, alternatively, any backup software can treat it as a disk cache and store data on it.
The most compelling benefit of the NEC HYDRAstor grid storage architecture is that companies who adopt this architecture can start to take their focus off managing the storage infrastructure and focus more squarely on the data they are entrusted with protecting and managing. Today’s businesses live and die by how well they manage their data and the management of data is still tied too closely to how well the hardware is managed. By meeting these new storage solution features of the Data Center 2.0, NEC HYDRAstor restores the focus of administrators back to optimal data management and protection.