How can you deploy a storage solution that’s truly unified, most efficient, economical and supports legacy infrastructure?

February 25, 2014 1


One of the key challenges for enterprise storage managers is to store the ever increasing stream of data which comes through various sources and needs to be stored and archived with diverse attributes. Not just that they need to worry about integrating various architectures and formats as well as leveraging their legacy infrastructure.

Network Unified Storage or Unified Storage is a system that provides flexibility to enterprises when it comes to store files and applications on a single device than dedicated devices. With the support of fibre channel SAN, IP based SAN and NAS, unified storage system enables enterprises to store, run, and manage files and applications from a single device.
Unified storage is ideal for organizations that use internal or direct-attached storage for shared file systems, applications and virtualization. Unified storage consolidates data for applications & virtual servers onto a single, efficient and powerful platform thereby replacing the need for file servers


The system is capable to manage files & applications storage and input/output operations simultaneously offering flexibility on a single device. Microsoft has developed Windows Unified Data Storage Server, in short called WUDSS, to support storage and I/O simultaneously. And, in fact, it is based on NAS platform.

Net, net unified storage is a system that can do both blocks and files in the same system. It is implied that it requires unified management, one storage  system management for block and file data. The following diagram presents a general view of comparison of implementation of block and file storage
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Advantage of Unified Storage System

Reduced hardware: With Unified storage system, enterprises can save big amount on hardware, as the system needs single device for both data storage & applications storage and management. There is no need for separate devices like NAS for file storage and RAID disk array for block based storage.

Single deployment: With Unified Storage, a single device can also be used for single deployment if both file-based storage and block-based storage are not required. The system can be used to deploy a device for either file-based storage or block-based storage.

Easy management: Unified storage offers simplicity with respect to managing different devices. As the system is based on single device, enterprises do not need to manage two separate devices. However, in case of complex applications, management could be a little challenge as well.

Advanced features:With the Unified storage system, advanced features will be supported. Using the advanced features, users will be able to get storage snapshot, replication of data, etc.

Economical:Direct attached storage can be expensive due to low utilization rates and difficult to manage and protect.  Unified storage provides the cost savings and simplicity of consolidating storage over an existing network, the efficiency of tiered storage, and the flexibility required by virtual server environments.

Image Source: techtarget

Challenges: There are a few challenges that you should consider while deploying a unified storage architecture. IP based storage leverages the TCP/IP protocol, which can be processing resource demanding and can affect the overall host performance. Server virtualization can increase the demand for CPU cycle when multiple virtual machines on a single physical host re configured for NAS access.

iSCI can be used to offset this overhead if it’s implemented using a HBA (Host Bus Adaptor) with an onboard chip for processing.

Data backup strategy should also be carefully planned to overcome or avoid performance issues.

How to combine NAS and SAN together so that CIOs can get more flexibility

Latest Cutting Edge Development

The latest development in this arena is FCoE, i.e. Fibre Channel over Ethernet and is also referred as Unified Networking. FCoE enables the host system to share a single 10GB Ethernet link to send IP traffic and block level I/O.

This is somewhat similar to iSCI which is also a block level storage protocol traveling over an IP network but FCoE combines the IP traffic and FC storage over a single link.

Cutting edge integration and development is also in process to create a system that is compatible with fibre channel so that it supports legacy infrastructure

FS2 – Flexible Storage Solutions – is our next generation unified storage solution that supports high performance computing, provides multiple configurations, and delivers best results at affordable prices. By unifying network-attached storage (NAS) and storage area network (SAN) into a single box, FS2 provides the flexibility to use it as a NAS, SAN, or both. Click here to learn more about Unified Storage Solutions from Tyrone

Categories: HPC,Storage

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