Tag Archives: san

Understanding Your Data Storage Options
[Partner Content] 01 SEP 2015

Acquiring extra data storage capacity or more computing power generally meant buying more hardware. As space filled up on drives, more hardware investment was the only real solution. Nowadays, however, there is a less expensive and less disruptive option – virtualization.

What is virtualization?

Virtualization can cover the main computing functions of networking, computing power and storage, and data may be stored locally just as in a hardware-based arrangement.

Virtual storage

More and more IT departments are embracing virtual storage as an ideal way of adding storage facilities without the need to invest in JBOD or other external arrays.

The key benefits are those of cost and flexibility: the costs of buying new hardware, employing more staff to look after it, the extra running costs in terms of power and cooling and possibly the need for more space to accommodate it are removed.

It’s a way of making more use of existing hardware resources by means of either using the cloud or software-defined storage.

The Cloud

Data is stored on servers operated by a third party – a cloud provider. Your own hardware resources aren’t being taken up and your data can be accessed at any time by others in your organization potentially from anywhere, and backups can be made to the cloud if desired.

Software-defined storage (SDD)

Where existing hardware resources are effectively extended by the use of software to manage and pool existing resources. Your data is still held locally – just that increased capacity can be achieved without the need for more hardware.

The Cloud: What is Required?

An account with a cloud services provider – you work with a third party to store your data on their servers.

This can be a potential drawback for some: the idea of sensitive data being stored on third party servers may be a concern and cloud computing can be slower than a local storage set up. Another issue is that if their servers fail, access is lost to applications which leads to downtime, loss of productivity and thus income.

Some elect to use cloud as backup-only which means local storage requirements haven’t necessarily been reduced.

Software-defined storage: What is Required?

Two software systems to control your existing hardware – a hypervisor and a virtual SAN.

Two of the industry leading hypervisors are vSphere from VMware and Hyper-V from Microsoft. They work with x86 type servers so there’s not likely to be a need to invest in new hardware, and virtual SAN systems include SvSAN provider StorMagic – a SAN that integrates with the two hypervisors mentioned above.

Indeed, the above SAN is operational with just two servers – and this includes situations where the IT facility has to serve multiple remote locations. They can be controlled from one point – a very valuable benefit as extra data demands can stem from extra branches and the like opening. Previously this would have necessitated investment in local IT infrastructure.

How easy is it to transition to a virtual SAN?

There will be a learning period many IT enthusiasts should grasp, but with the right virtual SAN vendor support, it will be much quicker and easier than installing new hardware not to mention the downtimes likely involved.

Cloud Computing Concept

Review: Princess Mononoke (1997) Anime | My Reviews 07 FEB 2014

princess mononoke anime 1In a remote mountain village far away in Northern Japan, Ashitaka, the last young warrior of the dying Emishi clan, is forced to kill a monster to protect his village. Too late, he discovers that the boar-like creature he killed is a protector-god of the forest. The god had been driven insane by a small iron pellet, found deep inside of its body. Although the villagers immediately lay the body to rest, they cannot escape the dying creature’s words. The day of the human is coming to a close.

In killing the demon boar, Ashitaka has brought upon himself a curse, its sign a twisted scar on his right forearm that is slowly spreading. The village elders can do nothing for him, and the only chance Ashitaka has means he has to be banished from his village, never to set foot there again.

Ashitaka journeys to the land of the iron forging Tatara clan where he hopes to uncover the mystery of the curse before it takes his young life. Along the way, he becomes involved in the bitter fight between two warring factions of humans and a race of forest-gods trapped in the middle.

During one battle, Ashitaka sees San, the Princess Mononoke, a young woman raised by wolves, who is prepared to die to defeat the humans. She and her wolves will stop at nothing to kill the Tatara village leader, the regal Lady Eboshi. Against his will, Ashitaka is drawn into the struggle between man and nature, trying to persuade the two sides to find another way, one that will halt the endless circle of killing. He seeks a middle ground where forest creatures and humans can live in the world in peace together.

But man’s greed truly knows no bounds.

Princess Mononoke is perhaps one of Hayao Miyazaki’s strongest pieces of work. An epic tale, Princess Mononoke details the ongoing struggle between nature and mankind. The central character Ashitaka serves to try and show us that perhaps there is a way in which nature and humans can co-exist without destroying each other. Moral lesson aside, the storytelling in Princess Mononoke is nothing short of superb. It is a simple story, but crafted so elegantly and potently, that one cannot help but receive the message put forward by Miyazaki.

The animation is lush and vibrant, with the characters and locations all colourfully rendered. The movements are very fluid, and the attention to detail is astonishing. The designs of the forest spirits are very well conceived, something we have come to expect from Miyazaki.

The soundtrack is filled with hauntingly beautiful classical music scores, which adds beautifully to the unfolding story. The voices are spot on, and the sound-effects for the various creatures is nothing short of superb.

Seeing Princess Mononoke’s success in Japan, the second movie to ever break $150 million at the Japanese box office (the other being ‘Titanic’), Miramax Films decided to release a dubbed version to Western audiences. The film was very well received and paved the way for such future cinema releases of Japanese animated feature films.

Overall, Princess Mononoke stands out as my personal favourite piece of anime of all time. I cannot find any fault with it at all. The story, art and soundtrack are sublime. This is anime at its zenith. If you have not yet seen Princess Mononoke, then I suggest you make a plan to see it as soon as possible.

princess mononoke anime 2

(Historical Note: This was written back in June 2003. Thankfully my writing has improved greatly since then.)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Mononoke

The Futility of it All My Life 07 FEB 2008

TypingAargh! The futility of it all! The last while I have been rather busy at work (to say the least), particularly on the SAN system which needed to be in good working condition by this morning because we are finally going ahead and installing the production storage area network hardware today.

And of course, as karma would have it, the minute I have a really, really important project to work on, tons of other jobs will keep cropping up at an alarming pace. Of course, I can’t ignore these requests as they tend to be needed to be done ASAP, with the end result that my SAN system is not quite where I would have liked it to be. It works but the client interface is not anywhere near completion in terms of functionality.

This doesn’t really bother me all that much as I know I have been working hard and that there is only so many hours in a day, but what really does get my goat is when the lecturer walks into the office this morning, approaches me and thanks me for the emergency tutor application upload system that I created but then proceeds to tell me that they’ve decided in the end not to make use of it.

Aaaaaargh!

Over the years I have lost count of the number of unused projects that I have been forced to craft for people only to have them abandoned before they are even used! *Sigh* the futility of it all…