Storage virtualization through Networked Storage Pools (NSPs)

Networked Storage Pools (NSPs) are designed to give any standard Fibre Channel-compatible server the freedom to share access to data on any Fibre Channel or SCSI-based storage system -- anywhere in the storage area network (SAN). Any server in the SAN could then utilize any amount of storage on any storage device as needed.

The concept of NSPs enhances backups by consolidating the storage devices -- whether they are RAID or JBOD -- into one storage pool. The network is then able to perform LAN-free backup for the storage pool far faster and more efficiently than for every server individually.

Networked Storage Pools do this with the flexibility to manage even the largest, most dynamic of environments. To the applications, the logical volumes are seen as their own direct-attached physical drives. By separating the physical and logical views of storage, different storage vendors and operating systems can be managed under one framework.

Networked Storage Pools allow entire disks, partitions or stripes to be flexibly allocated among application servers, even if they are running different operating systems. To the user, these appear as disks directly connected. As the need arises, authorized administrators can allocate storage to individual computers. Volumes can also be shared between multiple servers by assigning appropriate read/write privileges to each. By allowing you to create smaller logical volumes, NSPs let you optimize resource allocation to match

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application demands.

NSP benefits summary:

  • NSPs support heterogeneous OS storage clients and multi-vendor storage
  • NSPs provide for lower costs and tools for a more efficient use of disk and tape
  • NSPs create high availability through mirrored data placed in redundant network configurations
  • NSPs create faster and easier backups with snapshot and mirroring tools to backup one storage pool instead of each server individually

About the author: Andy Newbom works at Gadzooz Networks.

This was first published in February 2001

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