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Fujitsu Forum 2010 Seminar: Fujitsu's storage systems and related technologies supporting cloud computing

Mainichi Communications: May 14, 2010

The "Storage solutions that support cloud environments" seminar was presented on the first day of Fujitsu Forum 2010. Focusing on a range of issues that arise during the migration from older style silo systems to cloud environments, the session demonstrated storage solutions that enable efficient and continuous business operations.
Mr. Tadashi Kumasawa, General Manager of Fujitsu's Storage System Unit, Storage Integration Division, was the navigator and explained "Cloud computing successfully standardizes operations and development methodologies. It is also expected to achieve governance enhancements and cost reductions through consolidated management of previously dispersed IT resources.
However, it has been pointed out that there are issues in terms of maintenance of security, reliability, and continuity of technology and management. In eliminating such issues, evaluating the abilities and experience with different technologies and components of cloud is important. Fujitsu's cloud related technologies are utilizing proven technologies. And with mechanisms such as ICT infrastructure virtualization and automated ICT operation, cloud system operational issues can be accommodated"

slide01Mr. Tadashi Kumasawa,
General Manager,
Storage Integration Division,
Storage Systems Unit

Mr. Kumasawa went on to cite the elemental technologies of storage; provisioning, hierarchical management, scale-out, deduplication and site recovery. He referred to them as "elemental technologies that can be also used to support cloud computing".

Following his description of the circumstances that surround cloud, Mr. Kumasawa gave explanations of technologies that support cloud from five standpoints, while referring to the technologies, products and services Fujitsu provides.

  • Capacity optimization
  • Integration, provisioning
  • Virtualized storage utilization
  • Security
  • Business continuation

In terms of cost reductions and power-savings, he gave ETERNUS disk storage system's "Eco-mode" function as an example. This function enables power-savings by only spinning selected disk drives during backup operation thereby minimizing unnecessary power consumption. The application of management policies and the movement of infrequently access file to "Eco-Mode" volumes provide the capability for such minimization.

"Compared with previous systems, operating disk drives for only 5 hours a day using "Eco-mode", can reduce power consumption by 15%. This function can be included in the creation of different types of storage, taking advantage of each drive's characteristics to provide specific operational requirements such as, high performance/low power using SSDs, and large-capacity/low-cost storage using nearline disk drives."

In an example, covering information lifecycle management using Oracle Database 11g MOVE PARTITION, it was demonstrated that with "Eco-mode", storage could be used in different ways, including storing high access files on devices prioritized for high-performance and low-access data, such as one year old files, on more cost-effective devices.

For integration and provisioning, Thin Provisioning, a technology which Fujitsu has been providing for over three years, was demonstrated. A main benefit, it was explained, was the removal of the need for advance capacity estimation, a previously necessary process. Now systems can just start with a small amount of physical disk capacity, using this technology.
Mr. Kumasawa said, "Capacity expansion can be executed as and when required by allocating a large capacity virtual disk to servers. Plus in cooperation with Veritas Storage Foundation software, existing physical disk area can be released when data deletion on the virtual disk occurs by a matching deletion of data on the actual physical disks."
He went on to say that the data deduplication function that reduces duplicated backup data would also work effectively in cloud environments.

On the subject of virtualized storage utilization, the way to manage multiple storage disk devices as a virtual storage pool in an integrated manner was discussed with an explanation of "ETERNUS virtualized storage". This included capability to enable flexible disk capacity allocation to servers and allow systems to start with a minimum configuration and scale-out, plus virtual storage management during operation, all of which will soon be available.

Further, "Global Name Space" that allows access from a single logical view, F5 ARX series capability that provides continuous data management independent of file servers, and storage sharing technology, that enables an ETERNUS disk storage system to be shared with SAN/NAS environments, were also demonstrated.

As for security, in addition to monitoring inappropriate access from outside the storage devices and preservation of monitor logs, Mr. Kumasawa explained that Fujitsu was providing an automatic zoning function that would reduce administrator processing workloads.

Mr. Kumasawa went on to explain the use of high-speed backup and site recovery functions for business continuity. "Application data volumes can be copied to other volumes within the same disk storage system very quickly. Such multi-volume use means data can be backed up to tape devices while operations continue. In addition, the ETERNUS Remote Advanced Copy function enables disaster recovery environments to be configured allowing data to be continuously transferred to a remote backup. These functions will be leveraged in cloud environments."

Mr.Kumasawa continued by explaining that Fujitsu was taking a step by step approach that would see cloud achieve; first: virtualization, second: automation and third: overall optimization. And in getting to these goal, it was necessary to adopt technologies from four standpoints; visualization, standardization, integration/virtualization and automation. "Initially efficient resource use can be achieved by integrating and virtualizing individual IT infrastructures. Following that, automation enables operational cost reductions and quick yet reliable operations without requiring administrators. Then as a final step, we proceed to the operational phase of cloud through overall optimization."

In terms of visualization, display technology for power consumption, disk rotation status, plus predictive monitoring of performance problems were all explained.
On standardization use of ETERNUS SF Storage Cruiser, for automatic creation of optimal configurations using fewer entry items, was demonstrated. In addition, Mr. Kumasawa also explained that such functions reduce administration time significantly by first replicating the storage system setup information and then subsequently reusing that information with other ETERNUS disk storage systems.
Overall it was explained that Fujitsu's virtualization infrastructure product suite includes virtualization and integration environments using SAN and NAS, various types of storage embodying thin provisioning functions, ETERNUS SF storage management software, server automation, and the visualization software "ServerView Resource Coordinator VE". All are capable of being used for integration/virtualization purposes.

In addition "dynamic resource management using "ServerView Resource Orchestrator will enable consolidated management of physical and virtual servers, networks and storage to achieve the right resource allocation for cloud environments." said Mr. Kumasawa.

In looking to the future, Mr. Kumasawa also commented, "we still have an issue with virtual appliance utilization through virtualization switches and gateways. In the future we hope to be able to provide ETERNUS as a virtual appliance."

At the end of the seminar, Mr. Kumasawa emphasized Fujitsu's advantages in the provision of technologies, products and services for cloud computing by saying that "Fujitsu is providing storage solutions for each stage of visualization, standardization, integration/virtualization, and automation, all the way to cloud computing. This means Fujitsu can offer the full lineup of storage infrastructure that supports cloud environments."

*Translation of an article printed in Mainichi Communications Inc's MYCOM journal, published on May 14th, 2010. The content of this article was correct at the time of publication.

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