Best Practices Storage Solution Provides Resilience and Scalability for Department of Water Resources
"This storage solution can be used as a model implementation. From the very beginning, this solution was well documented and each step reviewed by subject matter experts in all the relevant disciplines within the organization. This solution uses industry best practices and vendor-approved configurations throughout."
As part of an overall IT infrastructure modernization project, DWR was planning the virtualization of over 95% of their own environment with the intent to also provide hosting services to other state agencies. Critical to the strategy and architecture was the inclusion of a storage and data protection system that would provide the resilience necessary for the most mission-critical applications in addition to scalability and ease of management in the new virtual environment.
EMC’s tight integration with VMware made it an obvious storage solution choice for DWR’s VMware virtual infrastructure. EMC’s ties to VMware and their recent array operating system code upgrades make using their storage platforms more streamlined and manageable in a virtual environment.
ENS-Inc came to the project with a proven track record of virtualization and migration projects. ENS-Inc provided services that ranged from architecture to implementation on all of the non-proprietary storage platforms. By having a certified Implementation Engineer on staff and assigned exclusively to DWR, ENS-Inc was able to provide rapid design and deployments in far less time than typically experienced with most vendors.
ENS-Inc engineers integrated multiple technologies in the DWR storage solution:
- EMC² CLARiiON arrays
- EMC² DMX (Symmetrix)
- EMC² Centera
- Brocade Fabric Directors
- Brocade departmental class switches
- IBM Virtual Tape Libraries
Customer requirements and hardware purchases for the virtualized infrastructure guided the storage design and final implementation. ENS-Inc engineers established a tiering structure. The decisions for data placement followed this tiering model, agreed upon by the customer, which took into account criticality to the organization and performance needs. Production servers where the most mission critical data resided were matched up with the most resilient storage system (EMC² Symmetrix). Other services and data storage deemed less critical were placed onto high-end, but slightly lower performing storage systems.
Much of the work for the deployment was done hot while production servers were online and accessing data. When working with existing infrastructure, great care was taken in planning the least intrusive course of action. During SAN migrations, redundancy was ensured throughout the infrastructure, and on-line migrations were performed from one SAN to another. When this was not possible, scheduled outages were utilized.
During both the implementation and operational stages of the project, ENS-Inc concurrently trained DWR’s IT staff on the new technologies. The training included classroom sessions in addition to simulating situations on the actual hardware, creating typical requests, and troubleshooting real issues. Both group and one-on-one instruction were utilized during the deployment and always with the Implementing Engineer alongside, guiding and assisting.
Best Practices/Policy & Procedure
The DWR storage and data protection solution can be used as a model implementation. From the very beginning, the solution was well documented and each step reviewed by subject matter experts in all the relevant disciplines. The DWR solution, developed by ENS-Inc, uses industry best practices and vendor- approved configurations throughout.
The entire storage infrastructure is well documented through the use of Visio diagrams, Microsoft Word documents, and other materials. Every component is documented with physical and logical drawings and rack diagrams. Custom manuals were created on how to use the managing software, troubleshooting, and a step-by-step guide to common tasks.
Ease of Manageability
Design of storage solution provides an easy framework for understanding the topology and configurations. The process for adding servers, storage, or infrastructure is easy and well documented.
Meets Customer Storage Requirements
The storage solution meets all customer requirements for capacity, resilience, and scalability.
Ease of manageability and simplified structure provide substantial savings in operational costs. ENS-Inc’s provision of a dedicated Implementation Engineer onsite saved DWR countless hours and costs while providing continuity. This single resource saved ramp up time for each implementation and provided the customer with the ability to implement complex solutions in a tiny fraction of the normal amount of time.