For storage administrators, software and hardware integration is critical to getting maintenance tasks done in a timely and efficient manner. With traditional proprietary software there has historically been tight integration with its hardware as the platform was designed as a matching solution.
Today, organizations are moving or have moved to a software-defined-everything model that eliminates the dependencies on custom hardware and enables organizations to source their servers and storage hardware from multiple vendors.
The challenge here is that most software-defined storage products don’t do the deep hardware integration required to enable their product to operate with the same level of hardware maintenance ease as traditional storage systems.
Hardware Problem Identification
Hardware integration is about two main ideas. The first is monitoring so that IT staff is notified quickly when maintenance is required. This requires a call-home alerting system that monitors everything from the storage media, power supplies, to system thermals, RAM health, and more. The second main requirement is being able to quickly identify where the bad component is at and visually showing that so that IT staff can do the maintenance and easily identify which slot a given device is located in, and have it beacon (usually via a LED) so it is easy to find in a noisy data-center.
Software-Defined Hardware Integration
This “what” and “where” of problem identification is exactly what QuantaStor solves with its advanced hardware integration system. QuantaStor’s modular hardware integration system enables it to deliver the broadest HCL of any SDS platform on the market with support for major servers and disk expansion chassis (JBODs) from Dell, Supermicro, HPE, Lenovo, Intel, Western Digital, and more.
Upon installation, QuantaStor automatically detects the hardware vendor/model of the server and attached systems so that one can visually see the systems and the drive location within the chassis right in the QuantaStor web user interface. The enclosure view provides information on the device, but also shows the correlation of the devices down to the software layer so one can see exactly what Storage Pool or OSD is using the media.
Key Hardware Integration Features
Zero-Touch Maintenance – QuantaStor fully automates the management operations to bring a system to full health after replacing bad media. This feature is especially important for rack-scale and multi-rack configurations because media replacement is more common due to simple factors of scale. Zero-touch maintenance covers both scale-out and scale-up storage pools and QuantaStor’s alerting system automatically notifies IT staff when auto-healing starts and is completed.
Storage Grid Dashboard – The grid dashboard provides a high-level view showing overall system health and load at-a-glance.
Advanced Monitoring – QuantaStor monitors and alerts on over 200 metrics including server internals like media, thermals, fans, power supplies, CPU, firmware, and more. The monitoring system is customized to cover all major server models from Dell, Supermicro, Western Digital, HPE, Cisco, Intel, and Lenovo. Monitoring is built into the grid technology so administrators are quickly notified when maintenance is required on any of their QuantaStor systems in any datacenter.
Automated Reporting – QuantaStor puts the expertise of a Solution and Support Engineering into the software itself with grid self-analysis tools that detect Security, Performance, Network, and other configuration issues. Automated reporting enables IT staff to keep track of system health and capacity usage by getting a regular summary via email.
Call-Home Alerts – When maintenance is required, the system automatically sends notifications to IT staff via a variety of configurable storage grid ‘call-home’ mechanisms including email, PagerDuty, SNMP, and Slack.
Modern IT professionals need software-defined platforms that not only provide great reliability and performance but also take responsibility for monitoring the hardware to ensure maximum uptime and long term reliability of systems.
Categories: Storage Appliance Hardware