Skip navigation
2012

Federated-Architecture-6b

Retail organizations that have multiple branch sites are fighting a  constant battle to maintain branch uptime. I’m sure you can appreciate  the implication of a server, POS or computer going down at any retail  branch as this often results in an inability to take any form of  payments.

 

Depending on the severity, a branch can be dead in the water for a  few hours or a few days depending on how quickly the systems can be  brought back online. Many restaurant operations give out free coffee and  food during these periods of down time to keep their customer happy and  although this gives many customers a smile it hurts the company pocket.

 

There are solutions out there that can be implemented to help prevent  or reduce the risk of these periods of downtime but are often  overlooked as they can prove to cost you more than the expense of  un-anticipated downtime.

 

The Need for Storage

Storage enables you to benefit from VMware features such as High  Availability and vMotion, which in a nutshell enable a failover of  business critical application/ data from one server to another if either  should fail. The benefit of this is that you have continuous uptime. More information on High Availability and vMotion


Traditional Solution

Storage Area Networks (SAN) or Network Attached Storage (NAS) are  typically used to keep guard and serve up business critical applications  and data. This has proven successful in the past but at a very high  cost as the storage solutions alone can cost anywhere from $10,000 –  $100,000, but the buck does not stop there.

 

Physical Storage solutions (SAN/NAS) continue to cost you well past  their implementation, in fact they will continue to cost you money until  they eventually are outdated and are thrown on the scrap heap.

 

How do they continue to cost me money? Physical storage solutions  “reduce” the possibility of down time, they do not prevent it. When the  inevitable day come’s, due to the complex nature of a SAN/NAS you would  require technically trained staff  to get the hardware back up and  running.

 

It’s clearly not an affordable option to have technically trained  staff located at each site lying in wait for the systems to go down. It  is equally unaffordable for Centrally Based IT administrators to have to  travel long distances to resolve an issue as it would incur travel  costs and lengthy down time.

 

Virtual Solution

Storage Virtual Appliances (SVA) leverage the internal disks of  servers to present the unutilized space as shared storage. With 2 or  more servers an SVA goes a step further as it mirrors the data between  each so that if one server fails the data on the other is identical.

 

 

http://stormagicuk.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/sva_example.jpg?w=519&h=327

 

This shared storage and mirroring allows a user to unlock VMware  features such as high availability and vMotion. SVA’s are very cost  effective solutions and are available for as little as $2,000 but the  benefits of an SVA go beyond initial costs.

 

Benefits of an SVA

Deployment of Multiple Sites

 

Achieving High Availability with SVA’s is typically a painless  process, (that depends on solution provider) an SVA such as StorMagic’s  SvSAN for example can be installed on both hosts, create the needed  shared storage and enable high availability in less than 1 hour.

If a branch is already set-up with 2 servers this can be done from a  central office, the only downside of this is that it may take some time  to transfer the necessary SVA installation files but this is dependent  on the bandwidth available to you. (But still better traveling)

 

 

http://stormagicuk.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/multi-site_graph.jpg?w=479

 

The benefit of this is that business operations are not disturbed, IT  Administrators are not required to visit the site (Again depends if  servers are already in place) and no outsourced personal / additional  training required.

 

Management of Multiple Sites

 

One of the biggest challenges IT administrators face in larger  multi-site environments is management, how do you manage multiple sites  effectively, especially when one server or SVA goes down.

 

Some SVA’s are integrated into VMware’s vCenter and enables the  end-user to manage the SVA’s and the servers at any location from a  single familiar interface.

 

Down time Resolution / Prevention

 

Every business is effected by down time at one point or another and in multi-site environments can cause some major headaches.

 

Physical SAN solutions essentially are a single point of failure,  regardless of having high availability. A physical solution is holding  all the data and business critical applications which is being served up  to the server/s, if one server fails everything can failover to the  other as the data is still available.

 

But what if that SAN fails? This would cause some very large  headaches for your IT department, because it is very unlikely for you to  have training storage professionals at each site it would require you  to either hire someone or for you IT administrator to travel to the site  to resolve the issue. This can lead to costly expenses and unnecessary  Down-Time, both options are expensive and lengthy.

 

An SVA on the other hand resolves the single point of failure issue  because an SVA mirrors data to both (or More) servers meaning that each  server holds identical information so if one fails the other can rely on  its own internal copies.

 

With an SVA integrated into vCenter,if a server or the SVA fails  getting either back online can be done without any staff leaving the  office. In a scenario where physical hardware needs replacing or  maintenance then physical presence of IT staff would be required  regardless of physical/virtual.

 

Connectivity to multiple sites is a major factor affecting the  efficiency of central management, a very slow connection or no  connection at all would prevent you from deploying and managing sites  from a central office however an SVA would still be able to provide you  the redundancy you need to keep business critical applications available  until a failed server or SVA if repaired/resolved.

 

Cost

 

As mentioned before, SVA’s are very affordable and are available from  around $2,000, the savings are very apparent when compared to physical  solutions which can range from $10,000 – $100,000.

 

The financial benefits of an SVA go beyond the initial purchase and continue to save you money on:

 

  • Support: SVA’s are considerably cheaper than physical solutions as are the annual support costs
  • Maintenance / Upgrades: SVA’s are a software  solution and do not require expensive maintenance costs. Supported  customers are able to keep their SVA’s up to date with simple software  upgrades which are included in the support agreement.
  • Staffing and Training: SVA’s are typically easy to  use and do not require any additional training or specially trained  staff. Central management reduces the need for trained IT staff locally,  IT travel or outsource It professionals.
  • Depreciation of Hardware: Technology is a rapidly  improving sector with hardware depreciating at a fast rate as technology  improves. SVA’s are not affected by this as this as supported customer  can keep with the time with simple software updates.
  • Electricity: No additional hardware means no additional electricity
  • Down Time Resolution: Prevention and fast resolution times ensure more business uptime.

 

_____________________________________________

Up-Coming Webinar: Achieve Stress-free Branch-office System

Date/Time: January 31 2011 / 11:00 am EST

Learn More

12437.png

 

Learn how to deliver and maintain high-availability applications in  your branch offices, all from a single, centralized management hub.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
11:00 am EST
Register Now

 

The Advantages of Centralized Management
Regardless of your industry, organizations with multiple branch offices  have one thing in common — an increasing dependency for on-line  applications and computers to serve your customers and constituents.   Centralized management is the key to consistency, efficiency and  affordability.

Network and application administrators who are responsible for  keeping applications and servers online and up to date with the latest  software releases are under pressure and they have limited budgets and  staff. How do you address all these challenges? You focus on centralized  management.

 

In This Webinar, You Will:

  • Learn how to implement an affordable, high-availability branch office solution;
  • Understand how the right solution reduces the demands on application and network administrators;
  • Discover how to enable corporate IT to maintain control and manage branch offices from a single, centralized management hub.

 

Who Should Attend:
This educational webinar is aimed at both IT professionals and business  decision makers  whose organizations have tens, hundreds, or thousands  of locations.

 

Access Your Complimentary White Paper:
As a thank you for registering for our webinar, we are pleased to share  our informative white paper, “Unlocking VMWare with a Storage Virtual  Appliance (SVA).”

 

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
11:00 am EST
Register Now

 

Provides shared storage cost effectively

Storage Virtual Appliance’s (SVA) are a very cost effective solution  not only from a point of sale aspect but also on daily operations. It’s  easy to see where an SVA saves you money on initial purchase, especially  when compared to a physical SAN / NAS, but an SVA continues to be cost  effect beyond this.

An SVA does not depreciate in value like physical hardware and is not  prone to expensive routine maintenance and upgrades commonly seen in  physical storage solutions, supported SVA customers can simply keep with  the times with a few clicks of the mouse

SVA’s are available from as little as $2,000 for High availability licensed for 2 servers making achieving high availability even more achievable for SMB’s and multi-site environments

 

Additional Protection

A physical SAN or NAS is essentially a single point of failure, if it  fails your data is unavailable until it is brought back online, which  depending on the technically trained staff available may take hours and  often in Multi-Site retail environments, days!

As an SVA is mirroring data over 2+ servers any of the SVA’s or  servers can fail without the business losing access to the critical  data. An SVA such as SvSAN can be managed centrally within vCenter, enabling IT administrators to get any downed server/SVA back online quickly.

 

Leverage the benefits of High Availability, vMotion, and DRS

Shared storage unlocks the real benefits of VMware that are required to achieve true business continuity. Features such as High Availability,  vMotion and DRS ensure that your business critical information is  always available and that you get the most out of your environments.

 

Scale performance and capacity as needs grow

SVA’s leverage existing server capacity and resources for mirroring  and can be extended to include additional servers as you require. To get  more out of your SVA simply update some of the server hardware, add  more disc’s, replace servers etc

 

Share datastores across clustered ESXi servers

Datastores can be made readily available to any servers in the cluster making data even more readily available to users.

 

Doesn’t require specialized training

SVA’s are simple and do not require any specialist training or staff  meaning that existing staff would be able to get to grips with the  technology quickly and easily.

 

As a result Remote Office/Branch office environments and SMB’s no longer need additional Technical IT staff locally.

 

 

Learn More about StorMagic and the Storage Virtual Appliance SvSAN