The Enterprise Storage

The Enterprise Storage Challenge:
Non-Stop Computing for the 21st Century

The Storage Challenge

Organizations now face storage challenges unlike any they have faced before. They need to store seemingly inconceivable amounts of information. By 2000, organizations will have over 2,600 petabytes of primary storage capacity, over 1000 petabytes more than in 1999. In addition to absorbing this massive amount of storage capacity, they also need to ensure that the stored information is readily available, around the clock.

Driving the demand for this kind of storage is a number of factors. First, the Internet and Web-based e-commerce, both consumer and business-to-business, have ushered in an era of continuous, non-stop business, where systems must run and data must be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Second, organizations now recognize the value of information as a corporate asset. To leverage the value of this corporate asset, organizations are investing in data warehouses, data marts, business intelligence solutions, analytic applications, and more. With the average data warehouse projected to exceed, 6TB by 2002, the amount of storage for data warehousing alone is immense.

Third, organizations are making unprecedented investments in ERP solutions, supply chain management, sales force automation, and customer relationship management. These systems generate massive amounts of information that also require fast, reliable, highly accessible storage.

Fourth, organizations are discovering the power of non-conventional data types, particularly multimedia and streaming media. These data types and their applications consume massive amounts of fast, highly responsive storage.

In addition, storage is likely to be highly distributed throughout the organization today. This creates additional storage administration and management challenges, requiring new approaches to storage distribution and management.

Similarly, the heterogeneous nature of today’s enterprise systems environment itself complicates the storage challenge. Organizations need to mix and match the various storage components from multiple vendors to achieve the best performance for a given situation, at the lowest cost of ownership. This requires not only standards but interoperability testing and certification to a degree not previously required.

The result: organizations are demanding not only vast quantities of storage, but storage that is fast and highly reliable to ensure that valuable corporate data is protected yet always available. This is a far cry from the DASD disk farms of the past.

Non-Stop E-Business Challenge

The storage challenge can be seen most clearly in the rise of non-stop e-business. The Internet era—where everything is stored online, everyone is connected, and computing is everywhere—is rapidly transforming every industry and individual business. E-business systems must operate around the clock, every day of the year.

In this non-stop, e-business world, organizations will turn to networked storage as the solution that will help them to manage the vast amount of business and customer data generated by the web-enabled enterprise. Working across the network, storage managers must be able to efficiently allocate, configure, backup, and administer the vast array of storage devices distributed throughout the enterprise.

Nonstop computing platforms make a number of demands on the storage systems that service them. These requirements include:

  • The highest reliability and availability to ensure business continuance under all conditions. Storage systems need to protect against all failures including storage system components (disks, subsystem controllers, cache, Host Bus Adapters).
  • Scalability of performance and capacity to satisfy application demands. Storage environments must be able to quickly accommodate the insatiable demands of applications and users.
  • Flexibility to add capacity, connectivity, and performance to enable easy, low-cost growth as business needs demand. The capacity and performance of storage systems must be designed to facilitate quick, non-disruptive growth. This growth should also be achieved with a maximum protection of the company’s previous systems and storage investments.
  • Simplified management to minimize staffing and other operational challenges as business growth occurs. Storage systems need tools that allow the IS staff to manage an ever-expanding environment without a corresponding increase in staff size.
  • Secure access to storage, for all data from any location, balanced with the need to readily access data.
  • Cross-platform capability to service e-business deployments across a variety of platforms, including Windows NT as well as Unix. The ability to deploy common storage systems across heterogeneous server platforms can significantly simplify management challenges while lowering the overall cost of storage.

99.999 Availability

In the non-stop e-business world there is no downtime. Applications and information must be available around the clock. For systems and storage, this translates into the Five-Nines requirement—the requirement that information and systems be available 99.999 percent of the time.

But 99.999 availability is just one part of a much larger issue—business continuance. Business continuance is a strategy to ensure that the business continues to function regardless of system failures, human errors, natural disasters, and any other type of disruption.

Business continuance encompasses a variety of storage and systems strategies and technologies to ensure that organizations can always access their stored information and applications. These include backup and recovery, mirroring, high-availability clustering, disaster recovery, remote vaulting, and more.

Storage Architecture

In the past, organizations frequently acquired and managed distributed storage capacity in a haphazard manner. The result was rapid and uncontrolled storage growth, which led to a number of the problems organizations experience today. For instance, organizations found themselves with a variety of incompatible storage devices that performed the immediate task for which they were acquired but made it difficult for the organization to easily scale and evolve its storage capabilities. It also was difficult if not impossible to easily and quickly add or reallocate storage capacity when needs changed.

Storage architecture, on the other hand, enables organizations to combine the benefits of distributed computing in an open, industry standard environment with the strengths of logically centralized data management. At the same time, the storage architecture allows the organization to achieve the highest levels of performance and flexibility at the lowest total cost of ownership.

Effective storage architecture begins with a standards-based enterprise architecture design. The design goal is to provide unbounded performance and capacity, flexibility and simplified management. This is achieved through the use of standards-based storage components supplemented by extensive interoperability testing and certification. The standards-based approach will allow organizations to combine network storage products from multiple vendors to create shared pools of storage that can be allocated among different applications and needs.

Through standards, the architecture will allow the organization to adopt the latest in advanced storage technology, such as the fastest disk drives, while providing backward compatibility. This ensures that organizations can build upon today’s investments in storage. It also allows the organization to tap a multitude of third-party standards-based products for innovation or cost savings.

Finally, the storage architecture also specifies enterprise storage management that enables a small team of administrators to effectively manage a large and rapidly growing pool of storage via the network. Network-based storage management will reduce the cost of administering large quantities of storage and lower the total cost of ownership.

Storage Advances

Organizations are benefiting from a host of advances in storage and server technology and strategy. These include:

  • Fibre Channel storage interconnect technology
  • Storage area networks (SAN) to create virtual storage pools
  • Network attached storage (NAS) for distributed storage
  • Windows NT high-availability clustering
  • High-speed, high capacity disk drives
  • Fibre channel switches
  • High-speed data replication
  • Fibre channel tape devices
  • Remote vaulting
  • Hot swappable disk drives

Effective storage architectures must address these advanced technologies while protecting the organization’s previous investment in storage technology.

Compaq’s Enterprise Network Storage Architecture (ENSA)

The Compaq enterprise storage vision is simple and clear: Compaq sees a world where storage is a utility—essentially a service on the network, like electricity or water. This storage utility offers unbounded performance and capacity to every application environment through the network.

When storage becomes a utility, it simplifies the lives of IT professionals and end users. To add storage, just plug it in. Re-allocate storage with just a few mouse clicks. Or, define a policy-based scheme and let the storage utility manage itself. High availability, backup, and even disaster recovery all become transparent. The storage administrators define the rules, and the storage utility makes it happen.

According to Gartner Group, the storage utility is the wave of the future. It is critical to ease of use, ease of implementation, ease of administration, and managing the total cost of ownership.

The Compaq enterprise storage vision is embodied in Compaq’s NonStop storage solutions and Enterprise Network Storage Architecture (ENSA). ENSA describes a path that will help organizations solve the storage-related IT challenges they face today. ENSA provides the framework for building Non-Stop storage solutions and the storage utility.

Compaq’s NonStop storage solutions address the challenges of the Internet era—where everything is stored online, everyone is connected, and computing is everywhere. Compaq’s NonStop storage approach addresses a key requirement in this dynamic environment: a networked storage solution that will help manage the vast amount of business and customer data generated by the web-enabled enterprise.

The Compaq framework for delivering NonStop storage solutions is the Enterprise Network Storage Architecture (ENSA)—where the benefits of distributed computing in an open, industry standard environment are combined with the strengths of centralized data management. Based on open standards and supported by numerous third parties, ENSA enables organizations to achieve the highest levels of performance and flexibility at the lowest total cost. The Compaq ENSA approach begins with a common architecture and provides unbounded performance and capacity, flexibility and simplified management. A growing set of products supports ENSA [see below].

Compaq: Storage Leadership

Compaq is the leading provider of open and industry-standard storage in the industry according to International Data Corporation’s report, Year in Review, 1998: Disk Storage Systems. Compaq achieved over $5.5 billion in 1998 storage sales. With its Enterprise Network Storage Architecture and an array of new products, Compaq is poised to remain a storage leader for the foreseeable future.

Compaq takes leading roles in key storage industry initiatives, including the ANSI Fibre Channel standard group and Storage Network Interoperability Association (SNIA). Compaq leadership also can be seen in the wide range of storage solutions it provides.

Respected industry analysts have recognized Compaq’s leadership in the storage arena. “Compaq Computer achieved a dramatic advance in the storage market…Over the longer term, its NT leadership and technical expertise will position Compaq as a major contender in the emerging SAN-connected storage marketplace”—Gartner Group

“Compaq is solidifying its place as the number-one vendor of disk storage system. Compaq is making sure to offer what end users are looking for: fibre channel storage systems in a variety of configurations for different end user needs, enterprise software to add value to the system, and mainframe connectivity for users looking to share data between mainframes and Unix or NT” —International Data Corp (IDC).

Compaq Advanced Storage Products

Compaq is committed to filling the ENSA framework with a wide range of its own storage products and those of partners. Implementation of Compaq ENSA is unfolding in steps and phases.

  • Last year Compaq introduced fibre channel, adding distance between servers and storage and providing the physical foundation for building a common virtual storage pool.
  • Today, the Compaq product line encompasses complete UltraSCSI and Fibre Channel solutions for Compaq Servers and other major server platforms for multi-vendor environments—from the desktop to the data center.
  • Recently, Compaq introduced the industry’s most complete, cost-effective Storage Area Network (SAN) solutions. Compaq offers large- storage arrays (ESA12000 and RA8000) equipped for fibre channel switched fabrics. Both 8- and 16-port fibre channel switches are available, enabling thousands of connections. The new switches allow duplicate sites up to 10 km away. The switches provide enterprise SAN management features such as device and fault isolation, enhanced error reporting, and diagnostics for high availability.
  • On top of its industry standard SAN infrastructure, Compaq is now offering the open standards-based disaster tolerant solutions at a fraction of the cost of proprietary alternatives. For example, Compaq’s StorageWorks Data Replication Manager supports synchronous data replication to ensure data consistency between remote sites—a key requirement for mission-critical, e-business applications. The StorageWorks Data Replication Manager software replicates data at fibre channel speeds of 100/MB per second at distances of up to 10 km between sites. Data restoration can take place in seconds or minutes, where other disaster recovery methods may take days or even weeks. The StorageWorks Data Replication Manager is available today for Windows NT with broader operating system support to roll out over the next two quarters.
  • Compaq offers products today that allow organizations to set up pools of storage capacity and virtual volumes, the first steps toward creating the enterprise storage utility. The first product to come out is the StorageWorks Virtual Replicator for the Windows NT operating system, a powerful management tool that enable storage pooling/virtualization.

Storage Pooling/Virtualization and Snapshots

Storage pooling/virtualization enables an organization to view its distributed storage capacity as a single pool of storage. It allows the grouping of hardware array storage or physical disks into a logically concatenated pool of disk space. Multiple virtual (logical) disks can be created from the pool; they behave and perform exactly like physical disks. Administrators can then allocate and dynamically reallocate this storage capacity as necessary.

Disk virtualization allows the system administrator to optimally tailor disk space to the size required by users and their applications. Storage devices can be added to a pool as needed, increasing the size of the pool. Moreover, storage from multiple hardware array controllers can be bound into a storage pool and a virtual disk can be created that spans them. Up to terabyte-sized individual virtual disks can be created.

Compaq StorageWorks Virtual Replicator enables storage pooling and virtualization for the Windows NT platform. It delivers a rich set of capabilities that provides industry-leading enterprise storage management software for Windows NTâ computing environments. Virtual Replicator delivers two core capabilities across the ENSA family: storage pooling/virtualization and snapshots.

Snapshots are nearly instant virtual replicas of the data captured when an online system has been momentarily quieted. Using snapshots, Virtual Replicator provides the foundation to perform non-disruptive backup and user-initiated restores, and protects against data loss. Snapshots are a key technique for keeping nonstop businesses running.

In addition, Virtual Replicator’s policy-based backup and restore automation simplifies storage management by reducing system administration involvement. Virtual Replicator complements the standard capabilities of Windows NT and utilizes industry-standard server, storage, and network interconnect components, thus protecting the organization’s current and future storage investments.

Key Partnerships

Compaq is committed to an open, standards-based storage environment. The company actively participates in storage industry initiatives such as the development of ANSI Fibre Channel standards and the SNIA storage management efforts. Compaq storage products are compatible across the full Compaq product line, both Windows NT and non-Windows platforms.

Evidence of Compaq’s commitment to open storage is the broad support ENSA receives from third-party storage partners. In addition to Microsoft, Compaq ENSA partners include Brocade, Computer Associates, Crossroads, Gadzoox, Legato, Novell, Seagate, and Veritas for a variety of open, standards-based hardware and software solutions.

Compaq Services

The storage management requirements for the information-intensive, multi-vendor, and distributed systems that run your businesses today are too complicated for any organization to tackle on its own. Building a virtual storage pool, implementing a SAN to support high-availability server clusters, and establishing a transparent worldwide storage utility go far beyond plugging in a few disk drives. Organizations must rely on help from knowledgeable, experienced partners

Compaq supports its service offerings with a comprehensive set of global services. Throughout the IT lifecycle, Compaq Services offers service and support to help customers plan, design, implement and manage storage as part of their overall computing environment, including systems, storage and networks. At any point in the lifecycle, organizations can choose storage-related consulting and support services from Compaq. Additionally, through FutureSourcingSM, Compaq can manage all or part of organizations’ computing environments on an outsourced basis, allowing CIOs and IT staffs to focus on core business issues and future IT needs.

Windows NT Leadership

The use of Windows NT for server applications is growing rapidly and the growth rate is expected to increase for the foreseeable future. Gartner Group, for example, has predicted that Windows NT systems will account for 74.1% of all server sales in 2003, up from 55.7% in 1998. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 18.3% from 1996 through 2003. Similarly, Dataquest also expects Windows NT to quickly increase its share in the worldwide operating system market from 7.8% in 1997 to 41.1% by 2002. This growth, coupled with the desire to deploy business-critical applications on Windows NT, is spurring demand for storage suppliers to provide the same levels of maturity in storage solutions for Windows NT as for UNIX and other platforms. Compaq’s NonStop® eBusiness program is committed to providing the highest levels of availability for Windows NT and Windows 2000 enterprise deployments.

Compaq technologies shipping today for Windows NT include:

  • Fibre Channel RAID Arrays for Storage Area Networks
  • Solutions that scale from GBs to 100s of TBs within a single, unified architecture.
  • High performance and flexibility with homogeneous FC-AL (fibre channel arbitrated loop) SANs and heterogeneous switched SANs across sites
  • Centralized management from a single command console allows storage to be managed wherever it is convenient for the business.
  • Data Replication to remote sites for protection against disasters with the StorageWorks Data Replication Manager.
  • Higher backup performance through SAN-based backup and restore, especially with the StorageWorks Enterprise Backup Solution.
  • Storage pooling and virtualization through StorageWorks Virtual Replicator.
  • SecurePath data path failover and multi-bus access to storage systems to improve the reliability of data access by enabling Windows NT to utilize multiple physical I/O paths to a storage system.
  • Smart Arrays enable organization to improve performance and increase capacity of Windows NT servers by swapping out less advanced array controllers in Compaq servers with backward-compatible Smart Array controllers offering a new performance architecture.

A Storage Strategy for the Internet Future

Compaq NonStop® eBusiness describes a strategy to deliver the highest levels of continuous commerce through service availability and responsiveness to customers. It features solutions, services, products and technology that enable customers to compete effectively in a global 7 x 24 marketplace. The Internet-enabled enterprise encompasses a class of critical enterprise environments that leverage Compaq NonStop® solutions, products and technologies to deliver mission-critical, continuous operations.

Compaq’s eBusiness strategy addresses IDC’s observation that “mission-critical needs do not apply solely to e-commerce, but to the larger eBusiness phenomenon that emerged this year [1999].” IDC defines eBusiness as “the Web-enablization of the entire business model, of which e-commerce is one part.” Compaq’s ENSA plays a significant role in supporting Compaq’s NonStop eBusiness strategy by providing the storage subsystems and solutions that are needed for high-availability business applications.