Alackrity provides industry-leading storage solutions that allow deployment, management and operation of network-storage enterprise environments. Leveraging proprietary in-house methodologies, our IT consultants deliver exceptional value in partnership with major storage hardware suppliers such as EMC, IBM and HP.
Alackrity provides varied storage solutions to meet customer needs including:
- Disaster Recovery
- Server/Storage Consolidation
- SAN/NAS Design and Implementation
- API Integration
When combined with the other elements of a solution we realize the well-established benefits of network storage: significantly reduced TCO while maintaining a high ROI.
Disaster Recovery (DR) is the process an organization uses to recover access to their software, data, and/or hardware required to resume the performance of normal, critical business functions after the event of either a natural disaster or a disaster caused by humans in the shortest possible time with least down time.
Disaster Recovery Plans are generally part of a larger, more extensive practice known as Business Continuity Planning. DR plans should be well practiced so that the key players are familiar with the specific actions they will need to take should a disaster occur. DR plans must also be adaptable and routinely updated, e.g. if new people, a new branch office, or new hardware or software are added to an organization they should promptly be incorporated into the organization's disaster recovery plan. Companies must consider all these facets of their organization as well as update and practice their plan if they want to maximize their recovery after a disaster.
The main aim of the Disaster recovery center is to replicate the available & modification in data in the datacenter along with the hardware (server) system states on real time basis and to be able to recover the data in the shortest possible time making the system available fo ruse with least down time. The Business Continuity plan enables the system availability with least of no down time and denial of services to the users by directing the user traffic on to the DR when the Data center is out of service for the users.
The other critical functional parameter of the Disaster Recovery system is to update the data center with the current and latest modified data with the primary data center is ready for use, perform a data consistency check and hand over the user traffic seamlessly to the data center for operations without service outages or minimum downtime.
Business continuity plan enables system availability with least or no down time or denial of services to the users by directing the user traffic on to DR when the data center is out of service for the users.
Following are the highlights of an advanced DR system:
- Comprehensive, real-time application and data protection
- Flexible deployment options
- Near-zero data loss
Storage Solution (SAN & NAS)
SAN (Storage Area Network)
A Storage Area Network, shown in figure, consists of one or more arrays of hard drives that are shared among multiple servers. SAN is for use with a computing system (server) operating an application, database or a middleware.
Typically, a storage area network is part of the overall network of computing resources for an enterprise. A storage area network is usually clustered in close proximity to other computing resources but may also extend to remote locations for backup and archival storage, using wide area network carrier technologies.
A storage area network can use existing communication technology or use Fibre Channel technology. Some SAN system integrators liken it to the common storage bus (flow of data) in a personal computer that is shared by different kinds of storage devices such as a hard disk or a CD-ROM player.
SANs support disk mirroring, backup and restore, archival and retrieval of archived data, data migration from one storage device to another and the sharing of data among different servers in a network. SANs can incorporate subnetworks with network-attached storage (NAS) systems. Sharing storage usually simplifies storage administration and adds flexibility since cables and storage devices do not have to be physically moved to shift storage from one server to another.
Other benefits include the ability to allow servers to boot from the SAN itself. This allows for a quick and easy replacement of faulty servers since the SAN can be reconfigured so that a replacement server can use the LUN of the faulty server. While this area of technology is still new, many view it as being the future of the enterprise datacenter.
SANs also tend to enable more effective disaster recovery processes. A SAN could span a distant location containing a secondary storage array. This enables storage replication either implemented by disk array controllers by server software, or by specialized SAN devices. Since IP WANs are often the least costly method of long-distance transport, the Fiber Channel over IP (FCIP) and iSCSI protocols have been developed to allow SAN extension over IP networks. The traditional physical SCSI layer could only support a few meters of distance - not nearly enough to ensure business continuance in a disaster.
SAN connectivity has some pretty powerful implications for information services departments:
- There's no need to devise mid schedule data transfers between pairs of servers.
- There's no need to purchase and maintain extra storage for temporarily staging one server's data at another server.
- There's no need to worry about whether copies of data being used by two computers running different applications are synchronized (i.e., have exactly the same contents), because the two computers are working from the same copy of data.
NAS (Network Attached Storage):
NAS (Network Attached Storage) comprises storage arrays connected to servers that provide shared files access to the storage resources over a TCP/IP network, as shown in Figure. NAS storage space or resources are presented in the form of network shared resources basically for large raw data storage not associated with any software application.
A NAS box is a dedicated storage server that includes a NAS head and disk drives that are attached to a network. The NAS head (aka NAS front end or NAS gateway) is the control electronics that interface the network and storage. A basic NAS may use just one head or share the internal storage across multiple heads to accommodate increased network bandwidth.
In terms of storage, NAS systems are denoted by their drive support, the total number of drives and the total capacity. SATA drives are by far the most common type of drive in NAS systems. SATA drives allow for low-cost high-density NAS storage, although ATA, SCSI, SATA and SAS drives can also be used. Even Fibre Channel (FC) drives can be used in high-end NAS models.
Workgroup-type NAS systems support 1 TB to 2 TB of disk storage (or more) with a small group of four to six hard disks, depending on the model and options selected. (Some models support expansion disk racks that allow extended storage up to 30 TB.) Enterprise-class NAS systems can implement many disks and offer capacities well over 100 TB. Most NAS systems include RAID support for data protection and can implement common RAID levels, including RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 6/DP. NAS systems also include some onboard memory (RAM) to cache network data to or from the disks. Small NAS devices may only provide a 128 MB to 256 MB cache, though enterprise-class NAS systems may offer cache up to 4 GB.
A NAS box must actually connect to the LAN, so the network interface is also important. Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) ports are almost universal and 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces are on the horizon. Some NAS products provide multiple Ethernet connections for network interface aggregation, redundancy or failover.
While NAS boxes typically work independently, they can also be aggregated into clusters. Similar in principle to clustered computing, NAS clusters appear to the LAN as a single NAS device. Each clustered element can share the data load and each box in the cluster can provide failover if another box fails, improving storage performance and achieving high storage availability.