Business Continuity

Setting up SANmelody to create your own Storage Fabric

Setting up SANmelody to create your own storage fabric

When you install the operating system on the storage server do not format the disks you will use for storage, just initialise them. The storage software will take care of everything else.

Once you have installed SANmelody, go to Control Panel > Administrative Tools and open Computer Management. You will find SANmelody installed as a MMC snap-in under Storage.

For the application servers to connect to the storage array, you need to add the IP address of the storage server as an iSCSI target inside the application server. If you have multiple network cards inside the storage server, you might want to dedicate some network ports to specific applications.

Inside SANmelody you can create Application Servers that help you group your storage together – for example SharePoint or Exchange. To create an Application Server, go to the SANmelody snap-in, select Application Servers and select New Application Server.

Once you have created an Application Server it needs to know which iSCSI channel it is using. Go to the iSCSI tab on the Application Server pane and select your iSCSI channel. If you have several iSCSI addresses on your storage server you can assign a different address to each Application Server.

One of the advantages of building a storage server is that you can pool your disks as you choose. This is very different from create a RAID storage array which uses all the disks and then creates volume on top. Each of these storage pools consists of a set of disks that are managed by SANmelody. The idea is to create a storage pool on which you will then place volumes that will hold the data. To create a storage pool go to Disk Manager in the SANmelody management tree and open NMV Pools. Now select Create New Storage pool, give it a name and an initial Storage Allocation Unit. This can range from 1MB to 2GB but it is best to use a relatively small number such as the 128MB default. As you increase the amount of storage you need for a particular volume, it will be allocated based on the SAU.

Once you have created your disk pool you need to add the physical disks to the pool. You can add as many disks as you like to the pool which will grow over time to use the available space. To add disks to the pool click on the Assign Raw Disk button on the toolbar (a purple box) or open the properties of the Pool you want to add disks too. You can then select the disks you want to use and add them to the target disk pool.

One of the major benefits to virtual storage is only using what you actually need at any given point in time. This not only reduces waste and cost but makes best use of your hardware. This is called thin provisioning and SANmelody refers to it as a Network Managed Volume – NMV. By default, each virtual volume tells the applications that it is 2TB in size even though it physically is much smaller. This prevents applications from having problems with too little storage space. As you need more physical space it is allocated by SANmelody using the SAU size you assigned to this pool earlier (see above). Create a Virtual Volume by selecting it from the SANmelody menu and choosing Create New Volume.

You can resize the virtual volume from 2TB to a figure you are more comfortable with. For example, if you are using this to backup customer data and you have sold them 500GB of space, change the size of this volume and that is all they will see. You do this by selecting the volume, right clicking to get to the Properties Tab and then setting the Logical Size to your preferred size.

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If you're supporting en users who need to transfer files by FTP occasionally, explaining how to use FTP every time can get frustrating. Map an FTP site as a custom network location and they can do it through the familiar Explorer window. If you only have a couple of machines you can choose Tools >Map Network Drive… in Explorer and click the link 'Connect to a Web site that you can use to store your documents and pictures' to open a wizard that creates a network location. Select 'Choose a custom network location', type in the FTP address and fill in the user name and password. You can also create mapped drives and network places on the Environment tab of the user's Active Directory object - but if you have a lot of users to set up, put it in the logon script for the user profile under Active Directory Users and Computers.
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