Understanding Software Defined Storage (SDS)

Software defined storage is an evolution of storage technology in cloud era. It is a deployment of storage technology without any dependencies on storage hardware. Software defined storage (SDS) eliminates all traditional aspect of storage such as managing storage policy, security, provisioning, upgrading and scaling of storage without the headache of hardware layer. Software defined storage (SDS) is completely software based product instead of hardware based product. A software defined storage must have the following characteristics.

Characteristics of SDS

  • Management of complete stack of storage using software
  • Automation-policy driven storage provisioning with SLA
  • Ability to run private, public or hybrid cloud platform
  • Creation of uses metric and billing in control panel
  • Logical storage services and capabilities eliminating dependence on the underlying physical storage systems
  • Creation of logical storage pool
  • Creation of logical tiering of storage volumes
  • Aggregate various physical storage into one or multiple logical pool
  • Storage virtualization
  • Thin provisioning of volume from logical pool of storage
  • Scale out storage architecture such as Microsoft Scale out File Servers
  • Virtual volumes (vVols), a proposal from VMware for a more transparent mapping between large volumes and the VM disk images within them
  • Parallel NFS (pNFS), a specific implementation which evolved within the NFS
  • OpenStack APIs for storage interaction which have been applied to open-source projects as well as to vendor products.
  • Independent of underlying storage hardware

A software defined storage must not have the following limitations.

  • Glorified hardware which juggle between network and disk e.g. Dell Compellent
  • Dependent systems between hardware and software e.g. Dell Compellent
  • High latency and low IOPS for production VMs
  • Active-passive management controller
  • Repetitive hardware and software maintenance
  • Administrative and management overhead
  • Cost of retaining hardware and software e.g. life cycle management
  • Factory defined limitation e.g. can’t do situation
  • Production downtime for maintenance work e.g. Dell Compellent maintenance

The following vendors provides various software defined storage in current market.

Software Only vendor

  • Atlantis Computing
  • DataCore Software
  • SANBOLIC
  • Nexenta
  • Maxta
  • CloudByte
  • VMware
  • Microsoft

Mainstream Storage vendor

  • EMC ViPR
  • HP StoreVirtual
  • Hitachi
  • IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center
  • NetApp Data ONTAP

Storage Appliance vendor

  • Tintri
  • Nimble
  • Solidfire
  • Nutanix
  • Zadara Storage

Hyper Converged Appliance

  • Cisco (Starting price from $59K for Hyperflex systems+1 year support inclusive)
  • Nutanix
  • VCE (Starting price from $60K for RXRAIL systems+support)
  • Simplivity Corporation
  • Maxta
  • Pivot3 Inc.
  • Scale Computing Inc
  • EMC Corporation
  • VMware Inc

Ultimately, SDS should and will provide businesses will worry free management of storage without limitation of hardware. There are compelling use cases of software defined storage for an enterprise to adopt software defined storage.

Relavent Articles

Install and Configure IBM V3700, Brocade 300B Fabric and ESXi Host Step by Step

Step1: Hardware Installation

Follow the official IBM video tutorial to rack and stack IBM V3700.

 

image

image

image

Cabling V3700, ESX Host and Fabric.

  • Connect each canister of V3700 Storage to two Fabric. Canister1 FC Port 1—>Fabric1 and Canister 1 FC Port 2—>Fabric2. Canister2 FC Port 1—>Fabric1 and Canister 2 FC Port 2—>Fabric2.
  • Connect two HBAs of each Host to two Fabric.
  • Connect Disk Enclosure to two canister
  • Connect Both Power cable of each devices to multiple power supply

Step2: Initial Setup

Management IP Connection: Once you racked the storage, connect Canister1 Port 1 and Canister 2 Port 1 into two Gigabit Ethernet port in same VLAN. Make LACP is configured in both port in your switch.

image

Follow the official IBM video tutorial to setup management IP or download Redbook Implementation Guide and follow section 2.4.1

 

One initial setup is complete. Log on to V3700 storage using Management IP.

Click Monitoring>System>Enclosure>Canister. Record serial number, part number and machine signature.

image

Step3: Configure Event Notification

Click Settings>Event Notification>Edit. Add correct email address. You must add management IP address of v3700 into Exchange Relay Connector. Now Click test button to check you received email.

image

image

Step4: Licensing Features

Click Settings>General>Licensing>Actions>Automatic>Add>Type Activation Key>Activate. repeat the step for all licensed features.

image

IBM V3700 At a Glance

image

Simple Definition:

MDisk: Bounce of disk configured in preset RAID or User defined RAID. For example you have 4 SSD hard drive and 20 SAS hard drive. You can chose automatic configuration of storage which will be configured by Wizard. However you can chose to have 1 RAID5 single parity MDisk for SSD and 2x RAID5 MDisk with parity for 20 SAS hard drive. In this case you will have three MDisk in your controller. Simply MDisk is RAID Group.

Pool: Storage Pool act as container for MDisks and available capacity ready to be provisioned.

Volume: Volumes are logical segregation of Pools. Volume can defines as LUNs and ready to be mapped or connected to ESX host or Hyper-v Host.

Step5: Configure Storage

Click Pools>Internal Storage>Configure Storage>Select recommended or user defined. Follow the wizard to complete MDisk.

image

image

Step6: Configure Pool

image

Click Pools>Click Volumes by Pool>Click New Volume>Generic>Select Quantity, Size, Pool then Click Create.

image

image

image

Repeat the steps to create multiple volumes for Hyper-v Host or ESXI host.

Important! In IBM V3700, if you configure storage using GUI, GUI console automatically select default functionality of the storage for example number of mdisk. you will not have option to select disks and mdisk you want. Example, you may want create large mdisk containing 15 disks but GUI will create 3xmdisk which means you will loose lot of capacity by doing so. To avoid this, you can create mdisk, raid and pool using command line.

Telnet to your storage using putty.  type username: superuser and password is your password. Type the following command.
Creating RAID5 arrays and a pool

svctask mkmdiskgrp -ext 1024 -guiid 0 -name Pool01 -warning 80%

Creating a spare with drive 6

svctask chdrive -use spare 6

Creating a RAID Group (12 disk)

svctask mkarray -drive 4:11:5:9:3:7:8:10:12:13:14 -level raid5 -sparegoal 1 0

Creating SSD Raid5 with easy tier (disk0, disk1, disk2 are SSD)

svctask mkarray -drive 1:2:0 -level raid5 -sparegoal 0 Pool01

Now go back to GUI and check you have created two mdisk and a Pool with easy tier activated.

Step7: Configure Fabric

Once you rack and stack Brocade 300B switches. Connect both Brocade switches using CAT6 cable to your Ethernet Switch. This could be your core switch or an access switch. Connect your laptop to network as well.

References are here. Quick Start Guide and Setup Guide

Default Passwords

username: root password: fibranne
username: admin password: password

Connect the console cable provided within brocade box to your laptop. Insert EZSetup cd into cdrom of your laptop. Run Easy Setup Wizard.

Alternatively, you can connect the switch to the network and connect to it via http://10.77.77.77 (Give yourself an IP address of 10.77.77.1/24). Use the username root and the password fibranne

If you don’t want to do that, connect the console cable (provided) to your PC and launch the EZ Setup Software supplied with the switch. Select English > OK.

At the Welcome Screen > Click Next > Click Next > accept the EULA > Install > Done > Select Serial Cable > Click Next > Click Next (make sure HyperTerminal is NOT on or it will fail). It should find the switch > Set its IP details.

image

Next > Follow Instructions.

Install Java on your laptop. Open browser, Type IP address of Brocade, you can connect to the switch via its web console Once logged in using default username:root and password: fibranne

image

Click Switch Admin>Type DNS Server, Domain Name, Apply. Click License>Add new License, Apply.

image

image

Click Zone Admin>Click Alias>New Alias>Type the name of Alias. Click Ok. Expand Switch Port, Select WWNN>Add members. Repeat for Canister Node 1, Canister Node 2, ESX Host1, ESX Host2, ESX Host 3….

image

image

Select Zone Tab> New Zone > Type the Name of Zone, Example vSphere or Hyper_v. Select Aliases>Click Add Members> Add all Aliases.

image

Select Zone Config Tab>New Zone Config>Type the name of Zone Config>Select vSphere or Hyper_V Zone>Add Members

image

Click Save Config. Click Enable Config.

image

image

Repeat above steps for all fabric.

Step8: Configure Hosts in V3700

Click Hosts>New Host>Fibre Channel Host>Generic>Type the Name of the Host>Select Port>Create Host.

image

image

image

image

Right Click on each host>Map Volumes.

image

Step9: Configure ESXi Host

Right Click on ESX Cluster>Rescan for datastores>

image

image

Click ESX Host>Configuration>Storage>Add Storage>Click Next>Select Correct and Matching UID>Type the matching Name same as volume name within IBM V3700. Click Next>Select VMFS5>Finish.

image

Rescan for datatores for all Host again. you will see same data store popped up in all Hosts.

Finding HBA, WWNN

Select ESX Host>Configuration>Storage Adapters

image

image

Verifying Multipathing

Right Click on Storage>property>Manage Paths

image

image

Finding and Matching UID

Log on to IBM V3700 Storage>Volume>Volumes

image

Click ESX Host>Configuration>Storage>Devices

image