A Wealth of Knowledge at Your Fingertips

Latest reply: May 16, 2015 09:49:37 2998 1 0 0

-- Huawei Storage Solution Used to Construct Digital Library at Shanghai Ocean University

Understanding the world's oceanic ecosystem — and perhaps even helping to save them — is an ICT-intensive endeavor. Shanghai Ocean University recently constructed a storage architecture, supported by Huawei's OceanStor N8000, that is poised to quickly address the University's future challenges. This clustered Network-Attached Storage (NAS) system is supplemented with data protection software and constitutes a complete data storage and protection solution. The university also expects to realize savings of more than US $700,000 just by using the system's Dynamic Storage Tiering feature alone.>>

Shanghai Ocean University (SOU) was founded in 1912 as a technology center and a leading university in China for aquaculture studies. Today, SOU accommodates more than 20,000 students, teachers, and support staff, while offering 33 different bachelor's and master's degrees, ranging from biotechnology to marine ecology.

To facilitate mobile learning, SOU launched a vast online digital library full of videos and e-books. Unlike a traditional library, which uses index cards, physical book retrieval, and manual recording, a digital library digitizes paper books, journals, magazines, and references and stores the data in a database that can support online services, such as querying and borrowing digital materials. In general, a digital library stores three types of data: unstructured data (such as e-books, papers, videos, and audios), semi-structured data (such as website data), and structured data (such as databases). As a result, a digital library requires a storage system that is high capacity, scalable, and efficient.

When SOU decided to move to a new site, an IT team from the university proposed constructing a brand-new data storage system, instead of just adding to the existing infrastructure. The team turned to Huawei for help, hoping that the company could build a basic architecture that would be user-friendly, reliable, and scalable enough to meet the needs of the rapidly growing academic community.

Meeting Mounting Data Needs

The SOU IT team understood that in addition to meeting the needs of the digital library, the library's existing storage system would soon need to accommodate a new high-performance computing environment. As Ke Lixin, director of network systems for SOU put it, "It is inevitable that we will need more space for a new supercomputing center soon."

To ensure future storage scalability and security, the IT team chose the OceanStor N8000 as its platform, and supplemented the system with data protection software to create a complete data storage and protection solution.

With the OceanStor N8000, the team can expand the storage capacity up to a maximum of eight petabytes and consolidate backup and recovery management.

"The OceanStor N8000 offers us the required scalability and flexibility. When we build our new high-performance computing center, we can expand capacity without having to buy extra storage systems or servers", Ke adds.

Saving US $700,000 with Tiered Storage

With the automated features of the incorporated Dynamic Storage Tiering (DST) function in the OceanStor N8000, the IT team created an automatic tiered storage plan, which stores the most frequently accessed data on premium, tier-one storage devices and less frequently used, obsolete data on more affordable devices. Since only ten percent of the data in the digital library is frequently accessed, the rest of it can be migrated to less expensive storage devices using DST technology.

With tier-one Fiber Channel (FC) storage costing around US $10,000 per terabyte — five times that of tier-two and tier-three Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) storage — the team expects to save more than US $700,000 by using the DST technology to manage its 100-terabyte digital library.

The team was also able to define its own policies to move files between tiers based on criteria, such as when the file was created, how frequently it is accessed, file size, file name, or file owner. Since the data is moved dynamically to different tiers based on the policies, the team can reclaim tier-one storage space without expending extra IT resources.

Leaving Room to Grow

The OceanStor N8000 supports this thriving academic environment 24/7 with its high usability and the performance needed for the library's collection of 100 terabytes of unstructured data, such as e-books, images, audios, and video.

The OceanStor N8000 is expandable, up to a maximum of 16 engines with a multi-node active cluster design, and its fully redundant modular design helps prevent single points of failure as well. Because all engine nodes in a cluster work together and can access a single file at the same time, the response for users accessing the same file is greatly reduced. This technique enhances the system's performance — without degrading usability and flexibility. Such flexibility offers the IT team a comprehensive fail-over solution to minimize planned and unplanned downtime across its systems. The OceanStor N8000 also enables the team to expand, shrink, or reconfigure the system without downtime.

Simplifying Management through Unified Storage

The amount of data stored in SOU's digital library will continue to grow. Not only is higher storage performance and capacity a necessity, so is better resource utilization and cost management. The value in unified storage lies in its ability to meet different needs for storage devices, support various protocols and applications, and share and manage one set of hardware to reduce procurement and maintenance costs.

The OceanStor N8000 can simultaneously support multiple protocols, such as the Network File System (NFS), Common Internet File System (CIFS), Fiber Channel (FC), and the Internet Small Computer Systems Interface (iSCSI). This means that one set of hardware can support both file-level and blocklevel applications, which is a compelling advantage for many customers. The OceanStor N8000 also provides a user-friendly central management tool — the N8000 Integrated Storage Manager (ISM) — which offers an easy-to-use graphical user interface to configure, control, and monitor the system itself. System management is simplified, and the amount of manpower needed for installation and maintenance is reduced.

Saving IT Hours Every Day

The OceanStor N8000 and Net-Backup software are also cost-efficient. Because the incorporated NetBackup software can directly run on the OceanStor N8000, data can be protected in a unified manner under one solution without affecting application server performance. Unlike traditional NAS systems, which need to copy data through IT networks, the OceanStor N8000 can back up data through high-performance storage area networks, which not only shortens backup time but also enables high-speed data recovery.

The OceanStor N8000 has an automatic snapshot backup function that is captured regularly by the NetBackup software, which means that the IT team can back up data more frequently and reliably in fewer hours.

"With the backup solution, we finally have a centralized and automatic system, saving IT hours in every department every day," says director Ke.

The IT team also expects to incorporate data deduplication and fine-tune its DST rules. Ke concludes, "Now we have a storage architecture that will help us quickly respond to future challenges."▲

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Created May 16, 2015 09:49:37 Helpful(0) Helpful(0)

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