The first module I have completed was Storage Fundamentals. I thoroughly enjoyed this module because it was very interesting to learn about the various ways people and businesses are able to store their data these days. There is such an incredible variety that do amazing things! They all have their own purposes and there seems to be a different kind for every possible circumstance! So, let’s dive in head first!
The module started with an Introduction to Data Storage; in this part I went through the different types of hardware storage that is currently available. A couple of which I have come across before; disk and disk array. A disk being a data storage device that uses fast rotating disks covered in magnetic material. Disk array is basically the same idea, except there are a whole collection of disks that form a firmware controlled storage system. JBOD, “Just a bunch of disks” ( love the name!), is a new discovery for me! Which is similar to a disk array however, unlike a disk array it isn’t in a RAID configuration. They are individual disks that are presented to a server with no amalgamation, pooling or structure applied.
Has anyone in my class ever come across JBOD before? I have never heard of it!
The last data storage system that I learnt about was; Intelligent storage system (ISS). I have never heard of this type of storage system either, so it’s awesome learning about all these new things! This system consists of four key components; front end, cache, back end, and physical disks. It has the ability to fully or partly realise functions that are usually executed on host computers. I can see why it’s name is “intelligent” it is quite a complex storage system! It goes through a lot of processes.
The next subject talked about in this module was things an organisation need to consider when choosing a data storage system, which is very handy to know because it relates to our current NET601 assignment, as well as for future reference if we were ever responsible for choosing an appropriate storage system for a business.
- Data Protection – What if files disappear? What is there is a natural disaster? – Maybe having data backed up in a different location.
- Data Availability – Are backed up files readily available? How fast does the organisation need access to their files? – Maybe consider a high availability configuration from a storage system in a different location.
- Data Security – Not deleting data for a specific period of time? Encrypting data? How sensitive is the data stored in the organisation?
- Scalability – Is the organisation going to expand in the future? Does your storage system allow for expansion?
- Performance – Evaluating; Throughput, Respone time, Capacity, Reliability
- Cost – Is the storage system easy to manage? Reliable? Highly available? When these things are evaluated it can end up costing less for maintenance in the long run.
These are things that need to be considered and for a good reason! How do you know if the storage system you are getting is capable of the things you need it to be capable of?
The biggest part of this module I believe was the next part; Storage Technologies. There are so many different types of storage technologies that suit all types of different needs! Apart from virtualisation I had never heard of any of these storage technologies, I love learning new things about technology so I very much enjoyed this part of the module!
“Direct Attached Storage”, directly attached to the server with a storage network in between. DAS can be a multitude of things from a single disk in a server, a single disk in a computer to a group of disks that are either internal or external to a server.
“Network Attached Storage”, file based storage system that makes data available over a network using NFS and CIFS protocols.
“Storage Area Network”, a block based system that makes data available over a network using FC, FCOE and iSCSI protocols.
There are three types of SAN:
- FC SAN – the most common protocol
- iSCSI SAN – standard IP-based storage access protocol
- FCoE SAN – combines FC protocol and enhanced 10 Gigabit ethernet physical transport for SAN connectivity and networking.
Next, my favourite part of this module; Storage Virtualisation!!! This is my favourite I believe because it’s the newest storage system available and it just gets bigger and bigger! Not only that, but it’s just so fascinating! I mean, come on, a virtual storage system!!!!!
Storage virtualisation consists of taking several physical storage devices and joining them to appear as one logical unit. Users can access storage without knowing where a device is or how it’s configured.
Positives of storage virtualisation;
- Increase utilisation – pooling storage resources into a single resource.
- Simplify managment – can be managed by a single administrative console.
- Increase flexibility – data is easily migrated to different locations.
Another part of virtualisation which is quickly becoming a big thing is; Cloud Computing. Clouds are pretty much everywhere, almost every software provider has their own version of a “cloud”. People and businesses use “clouds” frequently and for everything. Even celebrities use them…..although they haven’t had much luck with them lately……
The virtual servers that run the “cloud” don’t actually exist which makes clouds incredibly flexible. They can be moved round and scaled up or down without affecting the users. Cloud computing is able to deliver immediate computing resources over the internet from applications to data centers through the virtual servers.
There are three types of “clouds”;
- Private cloud – maintained on a private network, operated solely for a single organisation. Offers the greatest level of security and control.
- Public cloud – rendered off-site over the internet and is open for public use. Offers the greatest level of efficiency in shared resources. However, they are very vulnerable (as celebrities found out the hard way).
- Hybrid cloud – has a variety of public and private options. Is efficient by spreading things over the hybrid options. However, it can be difficult for users to keep track of multiple different security platforms.
That pretty much sums up the Storage Fundamentals module! I have learnt so much from just the one module, and it was a really easy and convenient way to be taught a subject. I didn’t really have many questions to ask, because I understood everything. The only questions I have are to know if any of my fellow classmates have come across any of the different storage methods throughout their training and what did they use it for? It was a really awesome start to the NetApp University course, and I look forward to learning more!