Cloud Fundamentals

NetApp module number four! This one has been the hardest module I have done so far. It was incredibly long and packed with information being explained in a womans robotic voice. I never knew there was so much involved in making cloud computing what it is today! I will do my best to explain what was explained in this module.

cloud computing agenda

What is Cloud Computing?

The term “cloud computing” a lot of people including me assume that it is a very basic term, easily explained. You will be shocked to know that there isn’t an actual definition of what cloud computing actually is. Everyone seems to have a different definition of what it is and what it is not. Here is what the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) believes it is; the enhancement of collaboration, agility, scaling, and availability. Provides the potential for cost reduction through optimised and efficient computing. This definition, I find is more of a explanation of what cloud computing does, not what it is.

“Cloud allows you to have the agility, it allows you to scale, it allows you to match your costs. So you really need to think of the elements that are new in the cloud today that will really help IT organisations scale and be flexible for the future.”

– Cynthia Stoddart, NetApp CIO

cloud_computing
Image: http://www.gadgetreview.com/2015/03/cloud-storage-vs-cloud-computing-which-are-you-using

Why use Cloud Computing?

The highlighted reason in this module why people should use cloud computing is because of the important business needs it addresses. Such as;

  • Velocity – by aiding the innovation around business solutions and the fast delivery of them.
    • Sevice delivery or self service cloud – makes it fast and easy for the business to have and maintain their required services on demand.
  • Growth – providing for IT resources that need to be scalable and on demand as required.
    • Elasticity – on resources where required.
  • Cost reduction – instead of huge up front investments into complex IT systems, can expect to only pay for the resources as they are actually consumed.
    • Cost effective solutions – metered and closely measured resource consumption, only consumed resources need to be paid.
  • Consistency – IT services and solutions must be reliable, available and reduce business risk.
    • Reduced risk – service offerings are optimised and standardised which increases availability and reduces risk.

Cloud Model

cloud computing models

Key Delivery Methods

Cloud_computing_layers
Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Host

  • Offers basic computer network or storage services.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) Build

  • Provides a computing platform along with necessary application build/run environments.

Software as a Service (SaaS) Consume

  • Abstracts the underlying infrastructure and platforms even further to provide direst functional access to the application and its capabilities.

IT as a Service

An operational model where the IT organisation of an enterprise is run like a business, optimising IT production for business comparison. Founded on the use of public, private and hybrid clouds that employ, trust and compliance up and down the stack plus introducing infrastructure likeness and automation where ever possible.

New consumption models
These models provide IT financial transparency for costs, pricing and aid consumer driven IT such as bring your own device to meet the needs of users and simply consumption of service.

New operational models
A creation of more horizontal service oriented processes where IT capacity is explicity alined with the lines of the business.

Key Deployment Models

hybrid-cloud-600x343_9rm3.640
Image: http://me.pcmag.com/news/671/news/23-of-uae-organizations-inclined-to-deploy-advance

Private Cloud

Cloud computing platform that is protected by a firewall. A private cloud is designed to offer the same features and benefits of public cloud systems but removes risks; control over enterprise and customer data, worries about security and issues connected to regulatory compliance.

Public Cloud

Form of cloud computing in which a business relies on a third party cloud service provider for services such as server, data storage and applications, which are delivered to the business through the internet.

Hybrid Cloud

A combination of private and public clouds in which some imporatnt data resides in the business’s private cloud while other data is stored in and accessible from a public cloud.

Five Key Characteristics

2061.image_2
Image: http://blogs.technet.com/b/yungchou/archive/2011/03/03/chou-s-theories-of-cloud-computing-the-5-3-2-principle.aspx

  • Self service
  • Broad accessibility
  • Shared
  • Measured metered
  • Elastic

Considerations with Cloud

Cloud is not a perfect solution and with this often comes concerns and questions from both the industry and consumers. These concerns and questions can be summarised into five areas;

  • Security and risk
    • Provider security posture – cloud providers are responsible for securing all aspects of the infrastructure and operation system in the cloud environment.
    • Governance – extensive governance and security strategies are a non-negotiation requirement for a cloud provider to maintain good customer relationships. Security threats change constantly so a proactive approach is required.
    • Application security – It is our job as IT professionals to protect and secure applications and information. Challenges can arise, such as multi tenant architecture (users of a public cloud run the risk of);
      • Collateral damage
      • Virus attacks
      • Service interruptions
  • Privacy
    • The concerns and questions that arise about the privacy of cloud computing come from the risks that are involved with the cloud;
      • data is stored on third party servers
      • limited control regarding information
      • Inadequate security
      • System breaches
      • Compromised data
      • Legal problems
  • Compliance
    • compliance can be an increased cost
    • compliance may require a cloud service audit
    • audit and compliance risks
    • security risks
    • information risks
    • billing risks
    • contract risks
  • Vendor Lock-in
    • Fear of vendor lock-in is a major barrier to cloud service adoption
  • Performance
    • nosy neighbour
    • provider capabilities
    • resource disparity

This module has been the most difficult one of them all to take in. Simply due to the fact that it was quite a bit longer and more information packed than the other modules. It is very interesting, putting the pieces that make up the cloud together and figuring out what they are and what their purpose is. Three modules left to go :-D, Flash Fundamentals is next :-).

Data Network Fundamentals

NetApp module number three! I have to admit I wasn’t a total fan of this module, don’t get me wrong I love learning new things. However, the person talking in this module was a few times inaudible to me, as well as having to correct himself a lot and speaking in one tone. I find that incredibly difficult to follow, plus this subject isn’t the most exciting :-D, anyway let’s begin 🙂

Course objectives

NAS and SAN

Heading back into some of the things talked about in the Storage Fundamentals module, but expanding on them a bit more.

Data Storage and Data Networking

  • Storage: Storing and protecting data for as long as you need it – data over time
    • Information repository
    • Capacity
    • RAID, JBOD
  • Networking: Transporting data from one location to another quickly and reliable – data over distance
    • Information movement
    • Speed
    • Hubs, switches

Direct Attached Storage/DAS

20150326_135954-1337826546

Hello, DAS our old friend :-). Simpliest type of storage outside the system it is used. Simple, self contained system where the application, file system and storage are connected directly to each other. Two methods were developed to provide additional storage and data access across mutiple users, workstations, they are; Network Attached storage/NAS and Storage Area Networks/SAN.

Network Attached Storage/NAS

20150326_140008-923435136

In NAS the device is attached directly to the network, will appear as another system. A system where files are stored, because it’s on the network other machines are able to access it, a single NAS device could provide data to a variety of network application machines.

Storage Area Network/SAN

20150326_140018-704186959

In a SAN system storage appears to the network as another hard drive that is shared among various systems.

NAS versus SAN

NAS

  • File system and storage in one device which is then connected to the network
  • Easier to network
  • Simplier to manage
  • Storage appears to other computers as a file server

SAN

  • Storage is on its own network for tranporting files.
  • Work of transporting files is moved off the LAN and on to the dedicated fabric of the SAN.
  • Storage appears as a disk drive that can be mounted on computers that use it.

Both NAS and SAN have their own strengths.

NAS: Connections, Attachments and Access

20150326_140030292699181

Client computers are connected via LAN. The NAS system is attached to the LAN network both the filer and the storage systems contained within the NAS system.

  • Data treated as files/file access
  • Files managed within the NAS system
  • Management simplified

SAN: Connections, Attachments and Access

20150326_140038-691552148

Client computers are connected via LAN. A SAN network is attached to the LAN network. The SAN network is a network of hardware that is dedicated to their data storage. Usually SAN systems are more flexible and handle disaster recovery better than NAS systems but can usually be more difficult to set up.

  • Broken up into blocks and stored as data blocks/Block access
  • Files managed outside the SAN system
  • Configuration flexible
  • Performance high

SAN Connections: iSCSI, SAS and FC

iSCSI
Which stands for “Internet small computer system interface”, IP based standard that is the primary alternative to FC (fibre channel). Uses standard cables and switches and can send signals longer distances. Supports all ethernet interfaces. It has high speeds and is the less expensive choice. However, it has low dependability.

SAS
Which stands for “Serial attached SCSI”, uses aerial cables and carries SCSI packets. It is created with serial cables rather than ethernet cables. Data cables cannot be longer than 8M and the hard ware limits the number of connections that can be provided. Is inexpensive and more reliable than iSCSI.

FC
Which stands for “Fibre channel”, protocol designed to allow the SAN environment to signal information. Can use either optic cabling, fibre optics or copper wiring. FC is very reliable and scalable. Enables you to add storage without destructing operations. Is very flexible.

FC: Topologies and Zoning

  • FC-P2P (point to point): Is the simpliest topology. Host server is connected directly to the storage appliance. However, it’s very limited.
  • FC-AL (arbitrated loop): All devices are within a loop which can cause problems because if there is a failure of any one device it can cause a break in the loop. Allows more connections than FC-P2P.
  • FC-SW (switched fabric): All devices including the host and storage systems are interconnected through fibre channel switches, these switches maintain the state of the fabric providing optimized interconnections and security.

Zoning: A group of fibre channel ports that can communicate with each other only if their in their zone or zones.

  • Hard zoning: zone members are defined by a fibre channel switch and its ports. Offers improved security and can be easier to manage.
  • Soft zoning: A cable can be moved from one port to another without reconfiguring the zone. Offers excellent flexibility and scalability.

Does any one of my classmates understand this part of the module? The topologies and zoning, I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around. It always catches me by surprise how indepth you can go with a single aspect of networking and a lot of the time I lose myself in it and get confused!

File and Block Storage, High Availability and High Performance Computing

File Storage versus Block Storage

  • Block Storage
    • Uses configurable length or block size
    • Set standard chucks of data
    • Better flexiblity and high performance
    • Administrators can choose the configuration that best suits their needs
    • More complicated
  • File Storage
    • Much simplier for the end user and the system
    • Less flexible
    • Sacrifices performance to achieve simplicity
    • Data organised as files

A nice comparison they used in the module to compare the two, was the difference between manual driving (block storage) and automatic driving (file storage). Thought I would mention it because anyone struggling with understanding file and block storage would make some sort of sense of it from that excellent comparison :-).

Although this module was definitely not my favourite one, it was still a helpful and informative module. It is also helpful writing these summarised blogs, helps me go through the information of the module and understand it fully. Four modules left to go :-), Cloud fundamentals next :-).

Virtualis(z)ation Technology Fundamentals

The next NetApp module I completed was on Virtualisation! I know right! Awesome!

The module started off talking about what virtualisation actually is. Which I think is an important aspect of the whole module because you have to know what something actually is before you can even begin to understand what it does.

What is Virtualisation.

So, “breaking the bond between hardware and applications”. Basically the creation of some “virtual” rather than “physical”. It is there but you can’t “touch, feel” it.

Server Virtualisation

virtualserver
http://databasics.com.au/products/helios/virtual_server_app

Having a virtual environment rather than a physical environment changes everything radically; less space due to a single box, the ability to run multiple operating systems and multiple applications. All of these applications share the CPU and RAM of the server which offer much greater utilization of those valuable resources. Utilization increases to 60% or more. Having a virtual environment can also save time, due to less time having to be spent on upgrading, maintaining and backing up.

So, what are the summarised benefits of sever virtualisation?

  • Lower costs
  • Less power
  • Less cooling
  • Less space needed
  • Increased flexibility
  • Faster implementation of new applications
  • Higher availability

That all seems to good to be true, right? Well unfortunately there are some challenges to server virtualisation.

  • Hardware outages are more serious
  • Backup of a virtualised environment could be impossible within the traditional backup window
  • Storage failure can wipe out numerous applications

Although there are challenges to using a virtual environment in place of a physical one. There are no more than there would be running a physical environment in fact there would probably be more. Virtual environments are the future, slowly but surely each and every business who have thought about ways to save money and time have done the switch over to virtual and it won’t be long before every business runs virtual. What do my classmates think on this matter? Is a virtual environment better than a physical one?

Storage Virtualisation

Storage-Virtualization01
http://www.sanstorageworks.com/Compellent-Storage-Virtualization

Why storage virtualisation?

Storage virtualisation doesn’t lower any costs, in fact it’s server virtualisation that lowers the costs. For example; $1 of VMware requires $3 to $5 of storage.

Data storage requirements are growing

20150326_100619-1506335287
Oliver Wyman VMware Storage Total Cost Comparison Interviews Aug-Sept 2007

The actual total cost benefits organisations achieve vary depending on the storage solution deployed with VMware”.
– Oliver Wyman

NetApp Storage Virtualisation

Where VMware is the king of server virtualisation, NetApp are the kings of storage virtualisation.

  1. Pooled resources
  2. Multiprotocol
  3. Higher utilization
  4. Lower TCO (total cost of ownership)
    1. Operational costs
    2. Management
    3. Training

NetApp solves storage problems with their superior data protection by using RAID-DP, which is significantly less expensive than RAID 10.

NetApp allows back ups to be a much easier process by using a feature they call “Snapshot”, basically taking a snapshot of the data, doesn’t copy old data just updates as it comes and stores it in a bit of disk reserved called SnapReserve.

Virtual Environment without Storage Virtualisation

20150326_105328816760086

Most storage disks used today do not utilize all the available space, some is left to waste, applications cannot get to the space and fills up in other places (example in picture on the left). This leads to having to buy more storage. Whereas NetApp uses every little tiny nook and cranny of space (example in picture on the right).

Additional benefits of NetApp Storage

  • Poded storage
  • Disaster recovery more accessible
  • Investment protection

Virtualisation course summary

That wraps up the NetApp virtualisation module. This module was excellent and incredibly easy to follow! I love everything virtual so I had no doubt that I would love this one. It was also interesting to learn about the services that NetApp provides and what makes them the kings of storage virtualisation. It was helpful to learn why virtual environments outshines almost in every way a physical environment, useful for our NET601 assignment as well as for future reference 😀

Storage Fundamentals

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!

JBOD

http://www.mydiskmanager.com/raid0-raid1-raid5-jbod-cest-quoi-le-raid/

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.

data-center-technologies-10-728

http:// http://www.slideshare.net/emcacademics/data-center-technologies

Data Storage Module

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.

  • Applications
  • 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?

data course summary

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!

DAS

storage_DAS_topology

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Tipos-de-Storage-12ae1f7b

“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.

NAS

NAS

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Tipos-de-Storage-12ae1f7b

“Network Attached Storage”, file based storage system that makes data available over a network using NFS and CIFS protocols.

SAN

san-storage-area-network

http://www.tech-faq.com/san-storage-area-network.html

“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.

Storage - virtualisation module

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!