LeftHand boosts its SAN/iQ
Powerful, easy-to-use management tames third-party and proprietary hardwareFollow @infoworld
Thin provisioning, also noteworthy, virtually eliminates wasted space caused by inaccurate estimates. Thin provisioning is tantamount to issuing a capacity IOU to an application that will be honored automatically when the initial allocation for a volume is completely used. This feature not only saves from overallocating space, but also enables a utilitylike, buy-as-you-grow approach to storage.
The first script in my test plan was to define a primary storage location for a SQL server database over a four-node cluster and to create a secondary storage pool over the NSM for disaster recovery. To ensure maximum data integrity, the database had to have local and remote replicas automatically updated according to a schedule.
Using the SAN/iQ console, it took me minutes to group the four HP DL380s into a cluster, carve two volumes — one for my database data and the other for the database log — and assign them to the SQL server machine. Creating the remote cluster and setting up scheduled replicas of the database proved equally fast and easy.
I certainly could have created the same configuration using conventional storage solutions instead of SAN/iQ. However, it probably would come at a cost and a level of complexity that makes similar ironclad data protection only a dream for many midsize companies.
My second exercise was to measure how adding more nodes to a cluster improves performance. To simplify the test, I shrank my primary cluster down to a single node via the management console, an activity just as easy and nondisruptive as adding nodes.
From my application server, I prepared Iometer to run a standard script with random read/writes of 8KB and set the number of outstanding I/Os to 32. After starting the test, Iometer settled around 1,000 IOPS (I/O operations per second). Without stopping the benchmark, I added a second node: The IOPS dropped to the low hundreds while SAN/iQ was restriping the volume across the two nodes. Notably, you can easily contain the performance drop during restriping by setting a threshold from the management console, which I didn’t bother doing during my testing.
A few minutes later, the restriping completed and I saw Iometer showing about 1,900 IOPS on that volume, which was, as I expected, about twice the performance measured on a single node. Adding a third node produced a similar linear increase in the performance.
Based on my testing, it’s difficult to find fault in SAN/iQ, perhaps because it’s difficult to compare the product to traditional, array-centered storage solutions. Based on my review, though, I can say that SAN/iQ is easy to manage, scales well, and includes tools to create a responsive and safe storage platform for your databases at a reasonable price. Keep SAN/iQ in mind if your company is growing fast.