OnStor unleashes one cool NAS cat
Bobcat 2200 NAS Gateway brings flawless support for multiple platforms
See correction below
NAS appliances have become common, and NAS gateways are available to attach to SANs and make data accessible via Ethernet. Every time you want to add a NAS appliance, however, you have to create new drive mappings for any computer that needs to use the storage.
That changes with the OnStor Bobcat 2200 NAS Gateway. Highly scalable, feature-rich, and priced competitively, the offering takes NAS gateways to the next level. The appliance virtualizes storage, allowing companies to consolidate and manage data on storage gear from various vendors as if the data were on a single NAS device. Data moves transparently from one physical device to another while the mapped drive the client uses remains the same.
For example, a single physical storage system can provide multiple virtual file servers; multiple physical storage systems can be combined into a single virtual server; and data can even be moved from one storage device to another with no impact on users.
The Bobcat 2200 is a 1U appliance with two 10/100 Ethernet management/heartbeat ports, four SFP (Small Form Factor Pluggable) Ethernet ports available as fiber or copper, two FC (Fibre Channel) ports, a serial console port, and two compact flash slots for boot drives.
Through N-way clustering, the highly scalable Bobcat expands from one system supporting a couple of terabytes to a 20,000TB system with as many as 400 file systems per cluster, as much as 100TB per file system, and as many as 1.5 million active files. This configuration could support some 128,000 NFS file operations per second and about 20,000 users. (This is according to the company; my lab has neither 20PB of storage nor the capacity to generate that kind of traffic.)
The Bobcat offers native CIFS and NFS Version 2 and Version 3 support; full Active Directory, and NIS (network information service) support; and support for NDMP (Network Data Management Protocol).
You perform initial configuration of the system through the serial console port. After you’ve configured the network information, you access the system through SSH, serial console, or NAS Gateway Manager, a well-designed, easy-to-use GUI management application. NAS Gateway Manager is built on the .Net 1.1 Framework, which means Linux and Unix shops will be limited to the SSH command line for administration unless they install a Windows management workstation. When you launch the NAS Gateway Manager, it prompts you for the IP address of the management interface of the Bobcat; it won’t search for manageable boxes.
Configuring the file systems and ACLs (access control lists) is simple. You import client log-in information from either Active Directory or NIS. You may configure the Gigabit Ethernet ports in aggregated mode so that multiple physical ports can be treated as a single logical port, with the load balanced across all ports. Fail-over is automatically supported; you may also choose active/passive fail-over mode.
In my tests, I quickly created a virtual volume, made it accessible to clients, and then mirrored the volume from one array to the other with no perceptible impact on client-file operations. I also moved the volume from one storage array to the other without changing the client drive mapping or affecting client file access during the data move.