Do you need SSD?

February 26, 2009

George Crump @ Storage Switzerland has a great post on evaluatiing whether or not SSDs make sense for your IT environment.

The steps to figuring out if you are a good candidate?

  1. Gather statistics about your environment: storage I/O, application server performance
  2. Figure out your CPU utilization — to help you determine if your problem is the application stack or the storage
  3. Delve deeper to find out if storage I/O is the problem:  can you figure out is the disk queuing commands, and there is a backlog?
  4. Can you improve response time with more drives?

Answer these questions, and you should be able to figure out if you can take advantage of SSD.   Read the full article for more advice on what you should look for in these tests.


Tutorial: Setting up iSCSI initiators via Linux Command Line

February 24, 2009

Here’s a quick tutorial (about 6 minutes) on how to set up StoneFly IP SANs with Linux iSCSI initiators.  This demo covers the command line set up.  Stay tuned for GUI set up.

How to set up an iSCSI initiator

How to set up an iSCSI initiator

I’d like ??TBs of storage please..

February 23, 2009

Would you like RAID 5 with that?

Planning storage configurations is hard, there are a lot of choices:  RAID levels, drive types…each with a different impact on storage capacity, performance and bandwidth. We designed a Storage Capacity Calculator that allows you to enter your desired hardware configurations to help you determine the number of disk drives you’ll need.

Give our calculator a test-run and leave us your thoughts in the comments.

iSCSI Performance Myths Explained

February 19, 2009

Saw this on twitter today:  iSCSi is a dog

cloudcomp_group iSCSI is a dog only when you’re not doing some sort of hardware offload or when you need high throughput. There are many many applications that do just fine with Sure, but you lose a significant amount of storage in the interim. > With nominal capacities running in the 146gb range (for good > drives…not failure-prone knockoffs), you would require 10x’s the > amount of drives to git the same usable capacity of a 1.4tb SATA drive > (which, btw, would consume less aggregate power than those SSDs). > > The scale is not there. >

Time to clear up a couple of myths about iSCSI:

  1. iSCSI is 1Gb only
  2. iSCSI uses SATA drives exclusively
  3. iSCSI is slow

Point 1: 1Gb vs multi-1Gb vs 10Gb:  It is pretty save to say any higher-end enterprise class IP SAN offers multiple gigabit ethernet ports for redundancy and performance.  In our case, all of our IP SANs have at least 3 connection — even at the low end.   Putting the theoretical performance right at the 4Gb fibre channel.  Many vendors (like us) also have 10Gb IP SANs.  These SANs are obviously much faster than the previous generation 1Gb SANs.  Some of the 10Gb SANS even offer dual 10Gb connections.  So iSCSI s only as fast as the server feeding it data.

Point 2: iSCSI uses SATA disk only.  First and second generation iSCSI solutions utilized SATA disk exclusively for cost savings and ease of deployment.  Some vendors even offered tiered storage with FC or SCSI disk and SATA in the early days.   (We offered multiple levels of disk starting in about 2005).  With the advent of SAS disk, most enterprise focused vendors offer SAS and SATA disk in the same chassis for additional performance with transactional data, and tiering of storage so IP SANs can be used for multiple applications:  email, backup and heavy duty processing.  iSCSI is a great fit for most applications, but the absolutely heaviest transactional data.  (Think NYSE).

Point 3:  iSCSI is slow?  You haven’t been to our labs, we are seeing performance in excess of 900MB/s with 10Gb, in a single IP SAN.  Wow, I think that’s pretty fast.

Picking out storage is a lot like choosing a car.  All of them get you places, and basically handle the same things, but when you go offroading, you might want to rethink bringing your Honda Civic.  One size fits all doesn’t work for cars, or storage.  And there are many options depending on what you need.

Need more help on picking out an IP SAN solution?

Discerning the six myths about movable storage

February 19, 2009

Is the data on your laptop or movable media secure? If you answered “Yes!”, you may be buying into one or more of these myths:  

1) Tapes are obsolete.
2) Protecting tapes and laptops is a job for technical people.
3) Losing a tape is primarily a security problem.
4) There are no technology solutions; it’s all about tight controls.
5) Encryption is a silver bullet.
6) If you protect your tapes and laptops, you can feel secure.

Read the full article from InfoWorld.

How do you go about safeguarding your movable media? What other myths have you heard about? Drop us a line.

Is using server virtualization easy?

February 17, 2009

Techtarget looks at a few of the challenges of “virtual datacenters”.

Firtst up:  here’s why midsized companies are using virtualization

  • 49% to improve business continuity and disaster recovery
  • 46% to improve server managibility and flexibility
  • 38% to cut hardware costs

The biggest glitches:

  • virtual server sprawl
  • virtual server management
  • application performance monitoring
  • change management
  • tracking and noting virtual server configuration details

What is your organization dealing with?  Do you have similar challenges?  What sort of tools are you using to manage your virtual servers, and what would make life easier?  Chime in with the comments.

Setting up Ubuntu, the easy way

February 17, 2009

Thanks @FreeITTraining

How to install Linux, easily.  From Train Signal Training.

There are a few things that I am going to address in this article:

  • I’ll talk about how to use the Live CD so that you can try out Linux without actually installing it
  • I’ll also discuss how to do a complete install for those of you who have given up on Windows completely … hey, I don’t blame you, I sympathize
  • I will also address another option for those of you who still want to be able to use Windows every now and again while also having Linux
Install Splash Screen

Install Splash Screen