IBM builds High-Performance SAN to Deliver Managed Backup Services
IBM Business Continuity and Resiliency Services (BCRS) team helps clients protect their mission-critical information and maintain continuous business operations, with help from Cisco MDS solutions and Cisco Services.
Business Continuance describes the processes, procedures and technology solutions an organization puts in place to ensure that essential business functions can continue after a disruption. A good business continuance plan consists of risk analysis, contingency planning, and a disaster recovery plan that includes technology solutions to address recovery and data protection needs of business-critical applications. The cost of outage, whether due to natural disasters, power failure, or malicious acts, is usually in tens of thousands of dollars to Millions, depending upon the nature of the business.
Recently, IBM BCRS in the United Kingdom engaged with a new operating entity of a world-leading financial services organization, to ensure that the organization’s business data was backed up and preserved in the event of a disruption. The client chose IBM Managed Backup offerings. To support the customer requirements, IBM had to build the SAN infrastructure from the ground up, it teamed with Cisco to create and implement a dedicated, large-scale, best-of-class enterprise SAN solution.
The client’s primary need was to establish a backup infrastructure and processes for maximum resiliency. The client organization has more than a petabyte of data now and expects storage needs to increase by 500 TB year over year. Hence scalability was a huge concern. The SAN switching core must be able to easily accommodate growth and maintain high performance.
Business Challenge faced by the client is summarized here
- Deliver high-quality managed backup services for new operating entity of world-leading client
- Build in high scalability to meet future demands
- Deploy new large-scale SAN on time
The new SAN design spanned across two locations connect by DWDM links ( see network diagram below). For the SAN core, IBM chose Cisco MDS 9513 Multilayer Directors—high-performance, multi-protocol, director-class. For edge switches, IBM chose Cisco MDS 9148 Multilayer Fabric Switches. This high-performance, flexible platforms deliver the industry’s highest port density and lowest power consumption available in a compact one rack-unit (1RU) chassis form factor.
The two locations are connected using 4×8-Gbps dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) links. Fibre Channel traffic is extended over those links. Edge switches are connected to the core with 4×8-Gbps Fibre Channel links. For backup, the IBM TS3500 Tape Library connects directly to the Cisco MDS 9513 switches using 8-Gbps links. IBM Tivoli Storage Manager provides backup services, and the servers connect to the fabrics through Cisco MDS 9148 switches.
Total storage capacity for the production environment is approximately 875 TB, while capacity in the backup environment is 750 TB. This architecture now provides comprehensive backup capabilities across sites for maximum resiliency.
The whole infrastructure is managed by Cisco Prime Data Center Network Manager (DCNM). The customer liked Cisco DCNM because it’s a best-of-breed solution and easy to learn. According to Jamie Levett, Lead Infrastructure Architect “This feature is critical because the IBM BRCS SAN management team is centralized offshore, and it needed to be able to quickly learn and manage the new SAN.”
- Implemented large-scale SAN that meets IBM client’s bandwidth and availability requirements
- Achieved smooth, on-time implementation
- Gained outstanding education for engineers and offshore SAN management and operations teams
“Implementation ran smoothly with outstanding support from Cisco. Besides building and configuring the deployment, Cisco delivered superb education to our engineering, SAN management, and operations teams. Together, IBM and Cisco operated as one team to get the right solution implemented on time.” Jamie Levett Lead Infrastructure Architect, IBM Business Continuity and Resilience Services.
Levett notes that the education and knowledge transfer gained from this implementation will be invaluable in helping secure future client engagements.
Cisco along with IBM provides products and technologies that help ensure high availability, reliability, and security for building scalable storage networks and allow optimized distance extension over regional, metro, and long-distance optical and IP networks.
Cisco has made a strong investment in the SAN product portfolio to meet performance, reliability, scalability, and flexibility requirements for the decade ahead. Cisco, last year introduced the first two members of its 16G fibre channel family- Cisco MDS 9710 Multilayer Director and MDS 9250i MultiServices Switch. Cisco also provides a complete end-to-end unified data center fabric that is powered by the same NX-OS operating system across its award-winning product line–Cisco Nexus® for data center Ethernet networking, Cisco MDS for storage networking, and Cisco UCS® for compute.
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