Primary Storage: In the IT infrastructure of organizations, the storage component has strategic importance because it stores, takes charge of data, and makes them available for all systems and workstations. This occurs typically in standard work situations, but to guarantee good Business Continuity, it must also happen following failures or problems of various kinds whose resolution must be as rapid as possible.
There are many critical scenarios: classic hardware failure is accompanied by problems related to targeted attacks for data theft or critical issues relating to malware and crypto-malware. Therefore, a very broad scenario of problems that storage solutions have to deal with; it is clear that these solutions can no longer be considered simple repositories or storage and backup volumes but have now become intelligent and advanced systems.
HPE Nimble storage test: broken disks, broken power supply, and other problems
To better show the behavior of an intelligent storage solution, we carried out a storage test in the laboratory – available in this video – to highlight the methods and reaction times to a series of typical problems. Here’s how the Nimble HPE system responds in the face of multiple disk failures, a malfunctioning power supply, or a sudden power outage.
The storage test that we have carried out foresees an infrastructure with the primary storage allocated in the data center and managed by a Nimble HPE solution; this device makes shared storage available for various virtual desktops that make up the workstations within the organization. It is, therefore, a prevalent and widespread type of infrastructure, especially in Business Critical implementations.
From our experience in similar work environments, the most common failures concern the malfunction and breakage of disks or problems related to the controller itself. That’s why we put similar problems in the storage test, with increasing severity and complexity.
What if three disks managed by the controller fail at the same time? This is a rather remote failure, but at the same time, serious. In this scenario, the HPE Nimble system was able to keep connected systems fully operational with Triple+ Parity RAID technology.
HPE Nimble and Snapshot Management for effective backups
The foundation of a successful Disaster Recovery plan is well-structured backup management. The controller must be able to manage asynchronous replicas (snapshots) even at very close intervals of 5 or 10 minutes, according to the needs of the organizations.
Giovanni Golinelli, Hybrid IT Architect of Netmind, explained how managing snapshots at the Nimble controller level offers extreme flexibility, thus offering a good compromise between persistent snapshots and the demand for hardware resources necessary for their management. Furthermore, Nimble takes over the management of the snapshot from the VMware hypervisor, thus relieving the latter of an all in all onerous work. In this context, Nimble can benefit from a series of technologies typical of the storage sector and helpful in optimizing disk space occupation and execution times.
HPE Nimble and intelligent snapshot management against crypto-malware
Still, concerning the snapshots managed by Nimble, another interesting aspect should be underlined: in the case of crypto-malware, it will be possible to recover single elements from a previous snapshot and replace them with the compromised ones. These operations require some know-how, which can be handled by HPE tools or, better yet, by solutions like Veeam.
Given that for the execution of these operations, it is necessary to have medium-high technical skills on the solutions installed, companies must rely on technological partners who can offer a wide range of consultancy and support services, but also a series of Manage Services useful in the operational phase, for system monitoring and backup control, characterized by well-defined SLA levels.
Netmind can also offer these services by exploiting the potential of HPE InfoSight, which, for HPE Nimble and Primera solutions, can provide technicians with aggregate information on the characteristics of the systems, logs, and other data useful for remotely identifying the problem.
HPE InfoSight on Nimble solutions also offers predictive functions regarding possible failures or optimizations available: this information is offered by exploiting Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies applied to the fleet installed globally. HPE InfoSight tools provide common logic shared by Nimble, Primera, and other HPE solutions.
The verdict: agility and maximum visibility in the service of optimization
In conclusion of our testing, HPE Nimble Storage proved to be an agile, fast, and always available platform, capable of supporting from VMs to containers to test/dev, seamlessly extending to the hybrid cloud.
Next-generation storage is capable of supporting business-critical applications. Thanks to the predictive intelligence of HPE InfoSight, guarantees maximum visibility into storage and virtual machines, with actionable recommendations in real time for constant optimization.
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