By combining the simplicityof NAS with the flexibility of a fundamentally more scalable architecture, next-generation NAS gives IT managers a solution for their enterprise-wide consolidation requirements. Next generation NAS solutions offer clustered architectures that enables scalability of hardware resources for performance, capacity and reliability but with minimal increase in management complexity. Additionally, extended file systems for ease of management is also essential.
ONStor provides an excellent example of next-generation NAS with their family of scalable NAS products. The Pantera Clustered NAS and Bobcat NAS Gateway both provide massive performance and capacity scalability - within a single management environment - while delivering both the interoperability across clients and applications and the ease of use that have made NAS a compelling and valuable storage networking solution. It is important to note that not all next generation NAS systems provide the same value proposition. ONStor specifically has focused on supporting any number of applications found in most data centers, including databases, Windows, Unix and Linux file sharing. IT managers may not be aware that next-generation NAS solutions exist and are missing out on a major innovation in networked storage.
Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor By Tony Asaro Senior Analyst August 2006 Copyright 2006. The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 1 IInnttrroodduuccttiioonn Network Attached Storage (NAS) provides an efficient, easily managed data storage environment. Once considered a workgroup-level solution, NAS is now moving into large-scale enterprise applications that benefit from its inherent simplicity. To accommodate the requirements of these larger deployments, next generation NAS systems are coming to market with greater scalability and powerful new management features. NAS Benefits The simplicity of NAS can be attributed to the fact that it is file aware storage, allowing multiple application servers and users to share a common and centralized file system. This centralized approach provides three significant benefits: " Information is easily shared & searched: Since the NAS system maintains the files and file attributes, users and servers can access data without any knowledge of the underlying file system. As a result, the data is easily shared, even across dissimilar platforms. And it can be easily searched as well, a very helpful attribute for compliance. " Simplified management: NAS centralizes and therefore simplifies file management. In a SAN or DAS environment, by contrast, file system management is distributed across multiple servers. Because NAS consolidates the file system, IT managers can more easily move, copy and protect data. Data snapshots, data backup, high availability implementation and DR planning all become more manageable in the NAS environment. " Efficiency: NAS enhances the efficiency of application servers as well. Because NAS systems remove the burden of managing the file system and handling read/write requests from servers, they free up bandwidth for other tasks. Backup is accomplished at the NAS level, eliminating the backup workload at the application server level. The Need for New Solutions Larger scale NAS deployments are significantly more demanding than the original workgroup and departmental applications once associated with NAS. As a result, these larger environments that were driven to use NAS, hoping to benefit from its ease of use instead often found that complexity was created as they implemented more and more discrete solutions. Proliferation creates complexity, which in turn mitigates one of the primary benefits of NAS: simplicity. From its departmental origins, NAS has migrated into the enterprise, but not always with a concurrent shift in scalability. Traditional NAS solutions have three basic limitations: " Difficult to increment performance: When performance limits are reached, a new system has to be deployed, causing disruption and complexity. Traditional NAS solutions do not allow clusters to grow beyond two nodes, fundamentally limiting scalability. " Capacity limits: Capacity, like performance, has limits. In business-wide deployments, these limits are frequently exceeded, which again requires additional systems. " Finite file systems: Traditional NAS solutions have bounded file systems that require administrators to create dozens, hundreds and even thousands of file systems, creating workflow and management complexity. These limitations can significantly impact costs. Whenever a new system is added, data migration and user disruption are the immediate problem. Longer term, the cost of managing the proliferating NAS Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 2 environment grows as well. The issue is twofold: the IT group has to manage a tangled mess of access rights, permissions, etc. and users have to navigate around a maze of network drives to utilize their data and intellectual property. Next-Generation NAS Provides Answers Next generation NAS solutions were designed to address these problems. By combining the simplicity of NAS with the flexibility of a fundamentally more scalable architecture, next-generation NAS gives IT managers a solution for their enterprise-wide consolidation requirements. Next generation NAS solutions offer clustered architectures that enables scalability of hardware resources for performance, capacity and reliability but with minimal increase in management complexity. Additionally, extended file systems for ease of management is also essential. ONStor provides an excellent example of next-generation NAS with their family of scalable NAS products. The Pantera Clustered NAS and Bobcat NAS Gateway both provide massive performance and capacity scalability -- within a single management environment -- while delivering both the interoperability across clients and applications and the ease of use that have made NAS a compelling and valuable storage networking solution. It is important to note that not all next generation NAS systems provide the same value proposition. ONStor specifically has focused on supporting any number of applications found in most data centers, including databases, Windows, Unix and Linux file sharing. IT managers may not be aware that next-generation NAS solutions exist and are missing out on a major innovation in networked storage. Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 3 NNAASS OOvveerrvviieeww NAS is different from SAN in several fundamental ways. It is more intelligent than SAN-based storage and also understands files and their associated attributes. Accessing, moving, sharing and protecting files (data) is fundamentally easier with NAS than it is with SAN. This is a significant advantage when you consider the growth rate of file data in most organizations. ESG estimates the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of file data capacity to be approximately 58%. We are seeing greater awareness and appreciation of NAS storage and the value that file-level awareness brings to the table. SAN-based storage does have advantages. To communicate with applications, it uses the widely adopted SCSI protocol, a lower layer protocol that has very little overhead and therefore provides high performance. NAS solutions use NFS and CIFS protocols to communicate between applications and storage. These are higher layer protocols and as such, have more overhead and therefore slower performance. Newer generation NAS solutions mitigate the performance issue with clustered architectures and link aggregation and hence offer performance that scales beyond traditional NAS systems. NAS Applications Today, NAS is used for a diverse range of applications, such as: " Home directory / file sharing: File sharing within a workgroup was the original killer app for NAS. Users gain shared access to files including Word, Excel, PDFs, PowerPoint, scanned images, video, audio and CAD/CAM. " Imaging: This includes x-rays, computer generated images (CGI), check images and photographs. " Software development: NAS systems are used by engineering teams to develop code locally and across the world. " Content creation: Movies are stored and edited on NAS storage as part of a time sensitive workflow process. " Research: Scientific research is conducted with high numbers of concurrent operations acting on the stored file data. " Data archiving: Large archives of digital content are stored for years, decades and forever to meet regulatory and best practices requirements. " Database: NAS storage is also used for transactional databases, simplifying the management of these applications. New Applications Push the Boundaries From its origin as a departmental solution, NAS is now emerging as a large-scale, enterprise storage architecture. Applications such as these demand enhanced levels of performance, scalability and availability: " Enterprise-wide File Sharing and Server Consolidation Although file sharing was the original NAS application, it was usually localized within a group. Now organizations routinely establish company-wide home directories for users, providing them a protected, managed file storage environment. In this setting, simultaneous users can grow to the tens of thousands, with capacity stretching to hundreds of terabytes. " Online Services Online services provide large scale content sharing of photos, audio and video. Data sharing is the very essence of what NAS is used for in private networks, so it stands to reason that NAS also be used for this in public networks. A great movement is occurring with online services providing personalized portals that become a repository of files in all its various forms. Instead of hundreds or Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 4 thousands of users, there are millions of people with tens of millions and even hundreds of millions of cumulative content. The service provider needs to manage this kind of scale without breaking the bank; users require easy and immediate access to this content. Otherwise they will go elsewhere or just stop using the service. " High Performance Computing (HPC) HPC is one extreme of the application spectrum. The vertical markets that fit within HPC include: o Oil and Gas. The oil and gas industry uses research to accelerate the discovery and delivery of energy. Seismic processing requires massive parallelism for high performance. Additionally, this environment typically requires lots of storage capacity and grows rapidly. One Oil and Gas customer started with 60 TB of capacity with projected annual growth of 20 TB. The applications for Oil and Gas include upstream seismic image processing and downstream analysis and interpretation, with mostly Linux compute farms running NFS. o Media and Entertainment. There are really three opportunities in media and entertainment. The first is the editing process, including adding special effects, film editing, audio editing, etc. The second is streaming applications to watch or listen to the content. The third is opportunity for archiving. o Scientific Research. There are some extremely demanding environments within national lab and research facilities. For example, one national lab requires 100 GB/sec of throughput for its storage cluster. o Life Sciences. This segment includes big pharmaceutical research, Bio IT firms and Genomics. The Life Sciences field creates very large files that typically have to be shared by multiple users. As such, large file systems that provide scalable performance are required. Research analysts require high performance to examine large amounts of data without the storage becoming a bottleneck. They also need simplicity, since they aren t in the business of IT but scientific research. This segment includes large Windows and Linux environments. All of these applications demand performance and scalability that exceed the boundaries of traditional NAS, hence the need for next generation solutions. Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 5 OONNSSttoorr NNeexxtt GGeenneerraattiioonn NNAASS ONStor is a next generation NAS solution that at its core provides a scalable file system and a clustered architecture. This report focuses on the ONStor NAS systems and their underlying technologies that make them a compelling solution for companies evaluating NAS as a part of their storage strategy. ONStor is arguably the NAS Gateway leader1, offering a solution that enables customers to leverage their existing SAN storage systems versus buying entirely new capacity to store files. ONStor also offers a fully integrated NAS solution that includes both the NAS controller and disk-storage as a turn-key system. Both approaches are valid and can be used individually or in combination. Customers get the value of the ONStor architecture, software and file system, regardless of which configuration they implement. UUnniivveerrssaall AApppplliiccaabbiilliittyy ONStor is focused on providing support for a wide range of NAS applications. As Figure One illustrates, ONStor can address most environments, with the exception of those that have performance requirements at the fringe (over 2 GB per second). However, ONStor is well-suited for many HPC applications with customers looking for a compelling price/performance leader. Figure One: ONStor Application Sweet Spot AA TTrruuee GGeenneerraall PPuurrppoossee SSoolluuttiioonn ONStor s sweet spot includes a very diverse set of applications. It may seem like an oxymoron to say that a vendor is focused on a broad range of applications, but it isn t. There are specific features that make a NAS solution applicable for general-purpose, business-wide deployments. These features include: 1 ESG believes that ONStor is the NAS gateway leader based on their focus, heterogeneous support, partnerships with storage vendors and increasing install base. Other vendors do provide NAS gateways, but it is not core to their businesses. The EMC Celerra is a NAS gateway but only supports EMC CLARiiON and Symmetrix storage systems. lication Sweet S otONStor has been tuned for a wide range of data types and does not fit exclusively into a single market. ESG feels that ONStor NAS supports applications ranging from High Performance Computing (HPC) to Database Applications. Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 6 " Appliance-based solution: Software and hardware that are combined into a fully-integrated product. ONStor employs a single software/hardware platform across their product family, thus simplifying management. " Integrated differential snapshots: Built in point-in-time images that guard against lost or corrupted files or file systems. " Windows management interoperability: In general purpose environments, the preponderance of clients are likely to be Windows. But not all NAS systems offer full-featured Windows interoperability. ONStor delivers excellent Windows support (in addition to UNIX, Linux and Mac support), including support for Active Directory. ONStor is one of the few NAS vendors with membership in the Microsoft Communications Protocol Program. This ensures ONStor will stay up-to -date on changes in the Windows protocol. " Remote data replication: For disaster recovery or archiving purposes, ONStor offers both IP-based (file level) and FC-based (block level) data replication. " Ease of use: Intuitive management and a point-and-click GUI that allows ONStor devices to be managed by all levels of IT personnel. " Scalability: Capacity and performance sufficient to accommodate a business-wide deployment within a single management infrastructure. ONStor is one of the few vendors that integrate all of these attributes into a single NAS solution Typical General Purpose Applications General purpose sounds broad, and it is. ONStor solutions are currently deployed in a wide range of applications such as: " File sharing: Shared files within a workgroup. " Imaging: Medical imaging (PACS), photo services, satellite imaging. " Home directory: Personal storage space for users. " Archive/DR: Low cost and/or remote site storage for disaster recovery or archive. " Data collection: Central data collection point for manual or automated data entry. " Content delivery: Consolidated data storage for web server farms. " Document management: Legal, document control or record keeping. Other application examples are less obvious NAS deployments, but provide an interesting view into the solution s versatility: " Database Applications It is somewhat of a misunderstanding that NAS isn t ideal for database applications. There are thousands of companies that utilize NAS for database storage. Keep in mind that not all next generation NAS solutions will perform well with databases. Since ONStor is also tuned for transaction-oriented environments, it can also support database applications. Database performance is often disk constrained, and therefore creating large pools of disk to serve read/write functions can greatly improve performance. ONStor can create logical pools of storage striped across a large number of disks to better optimize database performance. Additionally, ONStor offers snapshot capability for data protection and recovery, which is essentially requisite for database environments. Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 7 " Digital Archiving ESG also feels that ONStor provides an excellent solution for digital archiving of file data. ESG estimates the total worldwide digital archive capacity in the commercial and government sectors will increase from 2,786 petabytes (PB) in 2005 to 27,206 PB in 2010. This represents a 58% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2005 and 2010 and a total increase in archived data of over 877 percent2. ONStor does not provide write once read many (WORM), but companies are using digital archiving for IT efficiencies and access to intellectual property. These companies can use ONStor to store and retrieve file archives. Additionally, ESG research found that 25% of the 485 companies surveyed were planning on using non-WORM NAS storage systems for their digital archives3. Mixed Workloads Perhaps one of the most compelling aspects of ONStor is that it supports the applications above, plus the traditional NAS applications, individually and concurrently. ESG views ONStor as one of the most diverse NAS solutions in the market today, supporting mainstream file storage, online services, database applications and even HPC applications. ONStor NAS can support a wide range of applications in concert. Excellent Value The last important point is value. ONStor offers an excellent balance of price/performance and feature/function. ONStor can stream up to 2 GB per second with eight of its NAS controllers in a clustered configuration. In case you don t have a frame of reference, this is excellent performance especially when considering the small of amount of equipment required. Most other competitive solutions require at least twice the amount of controller nodes to reach the same performance levels. As a result, ONStor delivers space efficiency, power savings and value that exceeds most competitors. OONNSSttoorr NNAASS SSyysstteemmss ONStor offers two approaches to scalable file services: "" Pantera Clustered NAS: A complete modular NAS solution. " Bobcat NAS Gateway:: A diskless file server, designed to employ storage from other vendors as the back end disk. Both solutions use a common operating platform (ONStor s EverON) and offer N-way clustering capabilities. 2 ESG Research: Digital Archiving Report January 2006 3 IBID Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 8 PPaanntteerraa CClluusstteerreedd NNAASS Pantera is a complete solution for primary or secondary storage. Taking a modular approach, ONStor lets you add performance (in the form of filer nodes) or capacity (disk shelves), in whatever combination suits the application requirements. The filer nodes may be scaled from one to eight per cluster, and are active-active. The disk is a dual controller, hardware RAID design, available with either high-performance SAS or 7,200 RPM SATA drives. BBoobbccaatt NNAASS GGaatteewwaayy The ONStor Bobcat NAS Gateway is a diskless server, developed specifically to support heterogeneous storage systems. ONStor has spent the last four years building experience and expertise integrating and supporting NAS Gateway configurations supporting various leading storage systems. This is a key point. NAS Gateways can provide real value, but it s important that best practices are applied to get the most out of the integration. ONStor probably has more insight and knowledge in this arena than anyone else in the market. A NAS Gateway is essentially a storage controller that is disaggregated from the disk enclosures. It connects to existing heterogeneous storage systems in order to leverage capacity that already exists in the data center. The NAS Gateway is directly connected to a storage system via an FC interconnect (see Figure Three). System administrators can use their existing storage systems by allocating specific volumes for NAS services. Fi ure Two ONStor Pantera Clustered NASUntitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 9 Figure Three illustrates the ONStor NAS Gateway integrated into an existing environment. Windows and UNIX clients access the ONStor Bobcat over the LAN using standards-based CIFS and NFS protocols. The ONStor Bobcat is connected to two different storage systems via FC, either through a switch or directly attached. Each of these SAN-based storage systems have volumes carved out specifically for the ONStor Bobcat. At the same time, the two storage systems are supporting servers for E-mail and database applications through the SAN. FFoouurr BBuuiillddiinngg BBlloocckkss ooff aa SSccaallaabbllee NNAASS AArrcchhiitteeccttuurree NAS was developed to simplify storage management, and ONStor has included capabilities that are particularly helpful in large-scale settings. Four architectural features differentiate the ONStor system: 1. Virtual Servers: Enables transparent performance expansion. 2. N-way clustering: Advanced clustering architecture for flexible, linear performance growth. 3. Scalable File System: 64-bit file system. 4. Single pool storage: Capacity management within one pool to simplify growth and provisioning. VViirrttuuaall SSeerrvveerrss The ONStor NAS management model is built on a concept they refer to as Virtual Servers. An integrated element of all ONStor NAS systems, the Virtual Server feature provides the ability to create logical NAS filers within a single physical ONStor NAS filer. Figure Three: ONStor Bobcat NAS Gateway Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 10 To users on the LAN, a Virtual Server appears as a distinct entity, with its own name, IP address and directory structure. To IT managers, the Virtual Server provides management flexibility. Because Virtual Servers may be transparently moved among filers in the cluster, they address several key requirements of scalable NAS: " Performance scaling: Virtual Servers allow performance to grow without disrupting users or applications. To users, the Virtual Server is a permanent mount point. When filer nodes are added, Virtual Servers are moved to the new node to capitalize on the incremental bandwidth. The move can be accomplished at any time, without disrupting ongoing processes. " Load balancing: Virtual Servers can be moved among nodes to balance load across filers. " Non-disruptive system maintenance: A device can be taken down for maintenance without impacting service by removing servers from the device, then moving them back when the maintenance is complete. " High availability: User-defined failover procedures can incorporate multiple levels of redundancy for higher levels of availability. Figure Four: ONStor Virtual Servers A single ONStor NAS controller has been configured to support four virtual NAS filers. Users and applications access the virtual NAS filer as if it were a dedicated physical NAS system. Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 11 Virtual Servers Enable Granular Management One of the most important uses of the ONStor Virtual Servers is providing NAS services to different departments and business units without dedicating hardware. More often than not, business users want their own dedicated resources. This creates a burden on IT operations, creating islands of storage systems which impact capital budgets and increase management complexity. Leveraging ONStor Virtual Server technologies, system administrators can configure virtual NAS filers dedicated to different departments and business units that run a single ONStor NAS controller. This is becoming a common practice with other IT infrastructure, including consolidating application servers onto fewer physical servers running virtual machine technology. Consider the above example of virtual NAS filers for different departments sharing a single physical ONStor controller. If growth accelerates for one of those departments, that virtual NAS server can be moved to a dedicated ONStor NAS controller. Moving the virtual NAS filer from one ONStor controller to another is an online process that doesn t impact users or applications. Another option would be to leverage the ONStor clustered architecture, which complements its Virtual Server capability. System administrators can add another ONStor NAS controller to the cluster and scale performance transparently. Figure Five: Moving ONStor Virtual Servers Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 12 NN--wwaayy CClluusstteerreedd AArrcchhiitteeccttuurree Clustered storage is the ability to join storage controller nodes in order to create a single scalable logical storage system. ONStor supports a clustered architecture (up to eight nodes within a cluster) that provides the following benefits: " Scalable Performance. Adding more storage controller nodes within a cluster provides additional CPU and bandwidth. Unlike traditional clustering, ONStor employs a stateless architecture that eliminates the need for performance-robbing cache coherency. Rather than being retained in the filer node, all write data is sent immediately to disk. This allows the nodes to operate autonomously at peak performance. As nodes are added, performance is aggregated, enabling near linear performance scalability. " Just-in-Time Scalability. Companies are not required to buy based on projected performance requirements for the future, but can add resources as needed. It is a common practice to buy storage systems with performance headroom in order to support requirements for future growth. However, this requires companies to buy in advance of their needs. Clustered storage allows companies to buy based on today s performance needs with the ability to add more hardware resources as needed. " Performance Protection. Storage systems that are limited to two nodes will slow down in performance by at least 50% if a single node fails. For clustered storage systems with a three node cluster, the ratio is 33%; with four nodes, it s 25%; with five nodes 20%; and so on. " Single Level of Management. Although you are adding more physical resources to the cluster, it is still one logical system for you to manage. It remains a single system regardless of how big it gets. Therefore the storage system is as easy to manage whether it has two or eight nodes in the cluster. " Lower Cost. Since you have already purchased the system, adding another controller node should be significantly less expensive than buying a completely new storage system. Additionally, with ONStor you do not have to pay for additional system software licenses since you have already purchased it. " Easy Add-on. Adding an additional node to an existing storage cluster is much easier than implementing a whole new storage system. Adding a new node to an ONStor storage cluster is an online and transparent process that requires a minimum of planning. The economics of a clustered network storage system are compelling with the potential of significantly reducing capital and operational costs. With a clustered network storage system, the customer only has to add another controller node which costs far less than acquiring a whole new system, its associated software and additional maintenance charges. With traditional storage systems, when customers run out of hardware resources they have to buy a completely new storage system with the same limitations as the previous system. Customers begin to build more and more islands of individual storage systems, adding to the complexity of storage management and additional capital expenditures. Clustered network storage is a single system, so management stays fundamentally the same regardless of how many controllers you add. Additionally, capital expenditure should be less when adding to a cluster because customers are not buying completely new systems. Rather, they are adding onto their existing system with less hardware costs and no additional software licenses. Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 13 Figure Six: ONStor Clustered NAS with 2-Node Storage Cluster In this scenario, a system administrator can determine the needs of the environment and based on the number of users and the amount of traffic, a dual-node configuration is more than sufficient. The ONStor system is managed by the system administrator as a single logical system even though there are two physical nodes. As the environment grows, more scalability may be required. To address the demands of the business, more ONStor controller nodes can be added to the cluster. The additional nodes add CPU and bandwidth to the cluster. ONStor NAS nodes can be added as needed from one up to eight in a single cluster. This provides just-in-time scalability. It is important to note that complexity does not increase as nodes are added. The ONStor cluster is managed as a single logical system even as more physical nodes are joined to the cluster. ONStor 2-Node Storage Cluster Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 14 Figure Seven: ONStor Clustered NAS with 8-Node Storage Cluster ONStor Clustering for Performance and Capacity ONStor can uniquely scale for performance and capacity. By adding more ONStor nodes into a cluster, you can add more performance scalability. ONStor also enables the ability to add very dense file systems, providing for scalable capacity. Figure Eight: ONStor Performance Scalability ONStor 8-Node Storage Cluster ONStor 8-Node Storage Cluster Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 15 As shown in Figure Eight, customers can configure an ONStor NAS cluster that provides a great deal of CPU and bandwidth to operate on a small amount of data. This type of configuration is useful when there are a large number of users that perform analysis on the same data simultaneously. One of the advantages that ONStor has over traditional dual-node NAS storage systems is the ability to add more resources as needed. A NAS solution with a limited and fixed architecture cannot scale in this fashion. Additionally, there are some NAS products that provide a turn-key solution that includes CPU and disk capacity within the same chassis. These systems provide less flexibility by forcing you to buy capacity even if you don t need it. The converse scenario is also supported by ONStor, which is an environment that has a large amount of data with limited performance requirements. A single ONStor node can be used to support massive amounts of data (see Figure Nine). Again, turn-key NAS solutions that include CPU and disk capacity within the same chassis force you to buy more CPU whenever you acquire more capacity. Figure Nine: ONStor Capacity Scalability ONStor Single Node System Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 16 This scenario is a non-clustered configuration that could be used for long-term archives. This type of configuration could work as a standalone implementation or part of a clustered configuration. ONStor can provide performance scalability and capacity scalability within the same clustered configuration. As such, companies can implement the right balance of performance and capacity to meet the needs of their business. Figure Ten: ONStor Performance + Capacity Scalability ONStor 8-Node Storage Cluster Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 17 SSccaallaabbllee FFiillee SSyysstteemm Next generation NAS solutions provide large scalable file systems for ease of use and management. From the user s perspective it is easier to access, share, move and copy data within a single file system than it is in multiple file systems that can grow to dozens or even hundreds in number. Ease of management for system administrators is another advantage of large file systems. Moves, adds and changes are greatly simplified with a single large file system versus performing these tasks over multiple smaller file systems. Figure Eleven: Traditional NAS File Systems versus ONStor File System Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 18 The top diagram in Figure Eleven illustrates traditional file systems supporting up to 16 TB, resulting in different network drives users have to navigate around to find and access data. The ONStor STOR-FS file system supports up to 100 TB to simplify the process of using, moving and sharing data as part of a workflow process. The ONStor STOR-FS file system is far more scalable than traditional NAS file systems. The question does arise; do you actually need a 100 TB file system? In some cases, the answer will be a resounding yes. The environment requires easy access between different groups that want to share data. Or the IT staff has limited resources and they need to optimize productivity. However, in other cases you might be scratching your head, wondering whether you need a 100 TB file system. There are three important points to make. First, there is no downside to having a larger file system. Having the extra headroom is only a positive thing, even if your requirements are nowhere near 100 TB. This is especially true if the NAS solution with large file systems costs you the same or less than the NAS solution with smaller file systems. Second, one of the main aspects of a NAS system is to store data and the larger the file system, the more efficiently you can achieve this. And the final point, if every NAS vendor could easily support a large file system, they absolutely would. SSiinnggllee PPooooll SSttoorraaggee Capacity management constitutes a significant challenge in enterprise storage. If there is too little capacity, or if the available capacity is connected to the wrong machines, critical applications could run short. If there is too much capacity (or, again, if it s in the wrong place), resources are wasted. ONStor simplifies this with a single pool capacity management model. All capacity is contained in one pool, and all NAS filers share direct access to that capacity. Any available capacity can be provisioned where it is needed without regard to its physical location. And when new capacity is needed, it is simply added to the single pool. AutoGrow Eases Provisioning Conventional storage provisioning dictates the administrators allocate a user or application sufficient capacity to meet the expected needs. The thinking is that having an application run out of space is a significant problem, and new allocations take time. So it s better to allocate too much space than too little. But actual usage is hard to predict, and the natural tendency is probably to guess high, which can create significant waste. The ONStor AutoGrow feature eliminates this waste by allowing allocations to start small (at the initial capacity requirement rather than the expected requirement), and then grow automatically as demand grows. All additions are conducted within the rules and limits set by the administrator. Because capacity is drawn from one pool and allocated as needed, administrators have a powerful tool to both simplify management and reduce waste, thus saving both time and money. WWhheenn ttoo DDeeppllooyy aa NNAASS GGaatteewwaayy There are two ways to deploy the ONStor architecture: the integrated solution or the NAS Gateway. The integrated solution is the more familiar approach, but the NAS Gateway has some significant benefits to consider. The intelligence of a NAS storage system is in its controller. The controller runs all of the software features, managing I/O requests, ensuring data reliability and providing data protection. The most popular approach to implementing network storage is a fully integrated solution that includes the intelligent storage controller and the disk enclosure. An integrated solution bolts the storage controller and disk enclosures together as a single and inseparable entity. However, disaggregating the storage controller from the disk enclosure offers a great deal of value. Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 19 Advantages of the NAS gateways include: " Leverage existing storage assets: Instead of buying a whole new NAS storage system with its own disk capacity, you can utilize capacity on existing storage systems, enabling you to cost effectively implement NAS. " Consolidation: The goal is to reduce the number of systems on the floor to lower cost and reduce management complexity. NAS gateways leverage existing storage and therefore do not require a new discrete storage system and an entirely new system to manage, support and protect. " Centralized data management: IT managers can use the same backup and remote mirroring processes that are already in place for their SAN storage. This leverages existing solutions. " Intelligent tiered storage: You can attach a NAS gateway to one or more storage systems within your environment. Each of these storage systems can be different tiers, providing a cost effective way to store NAS data and matching various classes of data with the right storage tier. The NAS gateway can easily move data between different tiers transparently, further reducing cost and improving efficiency. Intelligent tiered storage should be used for both demotion and promotion of data between higher and lower tiers. Moving data to higher tiers of storage is sometimes necessary for performance and protection reasons. Consider an application that is running on 10k RPM drives, which has become insufficient as the demands of the business have changed over the last few months. Using the ONStor Bobcat, the file system can moved to a volume with 15k RPM drives to meet the needs of the application as required. " Future Proof: The ONStor Bobcat can leverage whatever storage you have today or tomorrow. When you upgrade your storage system, it s easy to move ONStor files systems from the old system transparently. With integrated an NAS system, the process is much more cumbersome. TThhee NNAASS LLaannddssccaappee NetApp has dominated the NAS market for the last 10 years. EMC has also done well but until recently was selling primarily into their existing installed base and not acquiring new customers. Microsoft is successful working with its various partners, but is perceived as being a solution for the lower end of the market. The other large storage vendors including Dell, HDS, HP, IBM and Sun have failed to make any real headway selling NAS. Any success this quintet has experienced for the most part has been through either selling Microsoft NAS or in IBM s case, reselling NetApp NAS. ESG believes there is room for other NAS vendors to be extremely successful. There are a number of next generation NAS solutions that provide compelling value, offering diversity, ease of management, innovation and cost effectiveness. The leading NAS solutions are built from decade old technology. Next generation NAS solutions provide larger file systems and clustered architectures that allow them to scale without adding management complexity. TThhee FFuuttuurree ooff NNAASS It s interesting to note that NAS is more intelligent than SAN, and yet there are far more deployments of the latter. However, ESG feels that this will change over time. It is not an issue of NAS versus SAN but the ability to leverage file-level awareness. This intelligence will become requisite as companies begin to realize the power, the knowledge and the opportunity buried within their data. We have not even begun to tap into the value of our information endless amounts of data stored on innumerable spinning disks. A storage system must go beyond just storing and protecting blocks. It must also provide the ability to leverage data to improve business. This can be better achieved -- or is Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 20 arguably only truly achievable -- when the storage system understands the data that is being stored on it. File level awareness is not a panacea, but it does provide a higher layer of intelligence, is proven standards-based technology and supports a wide range of operating systems. Today, NAS is the most popular form of file level aware storage. Going forward, NAS, or some iteration of this technology, will be used to change the landscape of how we store and manage data and, more importantly, how we leverage it to the grand betterment of business. Untitled DocumentESG Report Next Generation NAS Focus on ONStor Enterprise Strategy Group Page 21 EESSGG ss VViieeww NAS solutions are used for a wide range of applications, spanning from scientific research, to high-end databases, to digital archives, to file server consolidation. A storage system that has file level knowledge provides easier access, sharing, data protection and migration. Over time, this file level awareness will play an even greater role in leveraging data/information as a business asset. Data is the most valuable asset we have; all of our policies, procedures and best practices should be based upon its utilization. The ability to extract value from data is the reason that we have IT to begin with. ONStor is a next generation NAS solution that has a scalable file system, clustered architecture, compelling price/performance ratios and a suite of software capabilities that enable it to support a broad spectrum of applications. Customers are faced with too many individual solutions to address different storage requirements. ESG believes that storage systems must be more versatile, with the ability to support diverse environments within a single solution. Clustered storage will be dominant. It makes too much sense to ignore from an economic, flexibility, scalability and ease of use perspective. Scalable file systems will be requisite with NAS solutions. Again, there is only advantage and value in having a scalable file system. The market will begin to demand that a single storage system do more and eliminate discrete systems that have limited applicability. File-aware storage will become more widely adopted as companies realize the power of this intelligence. It will not just improve business by steps but by leaps and bounds. Today, most companies use bounded solutions and are forced to make their best guess on what is required from the infrastructure to meet the needs of user and application requirements. This leads to a massive waste of time, money and human resources. These four elements including clustered storage, scalable file systems, diversity and file awareness are part of implementing unbounded IT constructs that address many of the inefficiencies that consume data centers today. There is certainly room for more NAS leaders. All but two of the seven large storage system vendors have any substantial NAS business. For some reason, most storage system vendors have not been able to execute successful NAS strategies, although they have all tried on some level. The next generation NAS solutions are not me too products. Perhaps one or more of these emerging NAS vendors will rise to a leadership level while the majority of the giants are sleeping or fighting other battles. They should all take heed that times are changing. NAS continues to play the role of user directories and file server consolidation. And these uses are substantial and important in of themselves. However, the landscape is changing down the road and there are many signs indicating this for those who are paying attention. All trademark names are property of their respective companies. Information contained in this publication has been obtained by sources the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) considers to be reliable but is not warranted by ESG. This publication may contain opinions of ESG, which are subject to change from time to time. This publication is copyrighted by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. Any reproduction or redistribution of this publication, in whole or in part, whether in hard-copy format, electronically, or otherwise to persons not authorized to receive it, without the express consent of the Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc., is in violation of U.S. copyright law and will be subject to an action for civil damages and, if applicable, criminal prosecution. Should you have any questions, please contact ESG Client Relations at (508) 482-0188.