Midrange SANs master high-end features
Compellent, iQstor, and Xiotech combine sophisticated enterprise capabilities with amazing ease
Setting up the Storage Center is a simple matter of configuring the IP address of the controller through a serial connection, which is usually performed by the Compellent tech during on-site installation. The wizards that help you automatically configure the system for use can safely be left in their default configurations, and virtually any setting you make can be changed later without having to reconfigure the volumes you create. This includes RAID levels, spare drives, number of tiers of storage, volume size, and more. The system automatically defines storage tiers based on the types of drives available; if more storage is added, additional tiers become available.
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The automated data migration feature is unlike many ILM systems in that the administrator does not have to manually designate files to be moved or even create policies that move all files of a certain type or location. Instead, data that is infrequently accessed is moved automatically from the first-tier FC drives (10K or 15K) or second-tier FC drives (7.2K) to third-tier SATA-based storage, without requiring manual configuration or intervention by the administrator. Frequently accessed data is automatically kept in first-tier storage, and data that has been migrated is automatically moved back to first-tier when it begins to be used. Of course, the admin can designate partitions or even folders that will not be automatically migrated, if desired.
The instant replay function is another extremely useful feature of the Storage Center. An instant replay is a snapshot of the system at a given point in time. Because an instant replay uses only pointers to data, two replays use only as much storage as is required to store the pointers and copies of any files that have changed between the two snapshots. This amounts to data deduplication, and allows for virtually unlimited snapshots (unlimited by the software and limited physically only by disk capacity). Instant replay also supports VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) in Windows Server 2003, so Windows users can take advantage of the deduplication feature as well.