Test Center review: BlueArc Titan 3200 is a giant among NAS systems
The Titan justifies a stiff price tag with stellar performance, top-notch scalability, advanced storage management features, and a smooth admin GUIFollow @infoworld
Setting limits on the space used by snapshots may seem overly cautious until you realize that the Titan can take 1,024 snapshots for each file system, either manually or driven by a schedule. Considering that you can define more than one hundred file systems, snapshots could quickly become a significant part of your storage allocation.
The Titan makes it easy for users to recover lost files from a snapshot. Users can access a read-only folder hidden in their own directory to retrieve lost files without having to wait for an admin’s help.
Moving beyond file systems
If you expect to go beyond the 256TB limit of a BlueArc file system, or if you want location-independent shares, the Titan offers a powerful CNS (Clustered Name Space) option. Conceptually similar to Microsoft DFS, Titan's CNS makes user directories immune from any move (users always find their files at the "same" network drive), and lets you put the aggregate capacity of multiple Titan file systems to good use.
CNS is easy to set up from the multifaceted management GUI. A wizard leads you through the steps: First you create a namespace, which also establishes the root for all future directories under CNS. The next step is creating a CIFS share or an NFS Export on that root, which you should do to keep files from different departments separate, for example. The next step is to link an existing file system to the CNS folders.
That’s how you migrate existing folders to CNS and how you can bring multiple file systems under the same name space. In my case, I had only two file systems to add.
It’s important to note that adding an existing folder to CNS is a disruptive action. For users to reach their files at the new location, they will have to point to the CNS address of their folder. I typed a simple net use command in Windows and immediately gained access to the new folder under CNS.
It’s the price to pay to start with a global name system, but after the folder is under CNS, any subsequent moves -- to balance load across file systems, for example -- will be transparent to users. Moreover, as mentioned, CNS opens wider horizons of capacity and performance. Depending on your requirements, that could be a compelling reason in itself to consider the Titan.
Cutting the fat on primary storage
CNS does the trick for painless and user-friendly administration. But what if users crowd your expensive storage arrays with files that are seldom if ever touched? The Titan has some powerful tools to automatically and painlessly move old files to a different storage tier.
Setting up automated data migration takes only a few steps from the management GUI. I first defined a target file system, then defined a migration path listing my source and target file system, and finally created a migration policy.
In the migration policy, you define the files to be moved according to location, file name, and the date the file was last accessed. Naturally, you can combine those criteria.
I set my source to a crowded file system on my FC arrays, and created a target file system on the less expensive and larger SATA drives.
After the migration, my source directory still looked intact, because the process replaces every migrated file with a stub pointing at the target location. Clicking on the stub immediately opens the file.