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Red Hat and Symantec Improving Data Availability in Data Centers with Multi-Vendor Storage

Created: 25 Jun 2013 • Updated: 25 Jun 2013
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Business Challenges

Businesses and organizations of all sizes rely on an “always on” IT infrastructure to provide competitive advantage and create unique customer values. Applications are now routinely expected to provide more than five 9’s of availability with downtime measured in minutes per year. However, since today’s data centers are rarely built on platforms from a single vendor, multiple tools and complex operations processes are required to achieve this uptime. This infrastructure diversity is typically the result of acquisitions, consolidations and shifting vendor preference policies, all of which will continue into 
the foreseeable future. 
 
Today, IT departments must manage a wide range of vendor-specific silos of servers, operating systems, management software, virtualization, networks and storage systems. Doing this with silo-oriented tools has driven up IT costs and has not always produced the desired increase in application availability. That availability depends on two factors:
  • Server availability. In the past, this was achieved through server clusters. Although clustering is still used for dedicated servers, virtualization and the “virtual machine” paradigm have emerged to ensure ongoing availability of many critical workloads.
  • Storage availability. Data replication and duplicate data paths are common approaches. The challenge is simplifying management in a landscape of heterogeneous storage and virtual machines. Managing storage requires an understanding of server profiles and network pathways.
This paper examines how Red Hat and Symantec provide integrated solutions to address both aspects of application availability. The paper focuses on unifying storage management to remove the roadblocks to highly available data within a heterogeneous storage environment.
 
Symantec Storage Foundation™ offers customers improved storage management through a suite of software that improves data path performance, centralizes storage management, maximizes storage use and standardizes local and remote data replication. Moving to unified storage management means that storage arrays can be swapped out or replaced without disrupting applications and without retraining IT staff.
 
The combination of the Red Hat open source platform and Symantec storage management tools offers organizations an excellent blend of cost efficiency and robust resiliency. Together, Red Hat and Symantec have the enterprise tools, experience, engineering and testing relationship to enable mission-critical solutions with the highest levels of application availability.
 

Executive Overview

IT organizations continue to look for ways to simplify and reduce operational costs. Red Hat and Symantec provide server and storage management that are not tied to a specific hardware vendor, enabling customer choice. To achieve this, Red Hat and Symantec built a solid partnership based on joint engineering, field training and customer support. Symantec has invested in the development and testing of their solution on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
 
The importance of this relationship is evident as the move to open source systems has accelerated in recent years. Building Linux-based platforms with the highest level of availability is critical to the success of this migration. In March 2013, the Linux Foundation released its annual Enterprise End User Report, which shows significant trending data.
  • Linux powers the cloud. For enterprises using cloud computing, Linux is by far the dominant platform with nearly 76 percent of cloud-enabled organizations using Linux servers for the cloud and 74 percent planning to maintain or increase their use of Linux for future cloud initiatives.
  • Almost no organization is building new applications on UNIX or Windows platforms. More than 75 percent of enterprises reported deploying Linux for new applications, services and greenfield deployments in the last two years, a number that has grown nearly 10 points.
  • There has been a dramatic increase in Linux use for mission-critical workloads. The number of organizations with plans to increase the use of Linux for mission-critical workloads has grown consistently year-over-year to reach 73 percent in 2013.
The full details of this report can be found at the following link.
http://www.linuxfoundation.org/news-media/blogs/browse/2013/03/report-enterprise-linux-growth-outpaces-windows
 
Red Hat Enterprise Linux has been tested on various server platforms with a wide range of SAN—and NAS-based storage. Red Hat clustering and KVM hypervisor deliver solid options for server high availability. Storage availability can be improved in concert with server-based multi-pathing software. This can be built within the operating system or through other software such as Veritas™ Dynamic Multi-Pathing. It is designed for data centers with multiple operating environments and storage arrays. Customers standardize on Dynamic Multi-Pathing because it is not tied to an operating system or a storage hardware vendor.
 
Deploying cross-platform storage management improves availability, agility and performance because the following issues are addressed. 
  • Cost—Storage costs continue to rise as exploding data demands outstrip the current installed capacity, which leads to the churning of storage arrays in a never-ending battle of trying to meet requirements.
  • Storage Redundancy—Although storage hardware redundancy is often deployed at data centers, it can be inefficient and ineffective when IT staff is required to be knowledgeable in different vendor array technologies to provide server path failover.
  • Capacity/Utilization—Storage is usually underutilized. In many cases, customers use less than half of the installed capacity, yet the storage demands of the application users cannot be met.
  • Recovery—Each storage array also uses different replication technologies to make local and remote copies of data, each with different nomenclature.
  • Common Toolset—Silo storage management tools from storage vendors are platform focused. This causes the IT staff to continually learn different tools.
To address these issues, Veritas Storage Foundation™ from Symantec delivers a suite of software products designed to maximize storage efficiency, data availability and performance across a heterogeneous server and storage environment. This software allows customers to manage their storage infrastructure in a centralized fashion with advanced features such as Dynamic Multi-Pathing, thin provisioning, advanced clustering and local/remote replication. Symantec storage management solutions remove dependency upon array-specific software and hardware, which helps customers gain 
control of their storage spending. Together, Symantec and Red Hat offer the ability to deploy mission-critical applications on cost-efficient hardware platforms. 
 
Figure 1: Improved storage performance and availability with Veritas™ Dynamic Multi-Pathing, in a multi-vendor storage environment
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Red Hat Enterprise Linux along with Veritas Storage Foundation™ from Symantec: 
  • Yields the highest available performance and reliability 
  • Offers maximum choice and flexibility while minimizing Total Cost of Ownership
  • Provides the ideal foundation for cloud deployments
Download the complete 'Red Hat and Symantec Improving Data Availability  in Data Centers with Multi-Vendor Storage' white paper (note: registration required).