StorSimple 5k and 7k series


SSStorSimple is a hybrid storage array by StorSimple Inc. which was a Santa Clara, California-based small company. In November 2012, Microsoft acquired StorSimple. The hardware portion of the solution is manufactured and distributed by Xyratex, a UK company, which was acquired by Seagate in December 2013.

StorSimple basics:

SS14

  • 2 RU rack mount unit
  • This is a block device that serves out storage via iSCSI only
  • Dual controllers running in active/passive mode
  • Dual hot swap power supply units
  • 4x 1 Gbps NICs
  • Capacity:

SS15

Main features:

  • 3 storage tiers:
    • SSD tier
    • SAS teir
    • Cloud tier
  • Automated tiering.
  • Inline automated deduplication
  • Automated data compression
  • Choice of cloud provider. Major cloud providers like AWS, Azure, and Google are supported
  • Local and cloud snapshot. A snapshot is a point in time recovery point.
  • Cloud clone. A cloud clone is the ability to perform a cloud snapshot to multiple clouds in a single operation
  • Fast recovery. Upon restoring a volume group, only the volumes’ metadata is downloaded, and the volume is unmasked to the host(s). To the host, the volume and its files appear and can be used. As a file is opened by a user, StorSimple fetches its blocks from the cloud (3rd tier). This is much quicker than waiting many hours to download a 20 TB volume for example before any of its files can be accessed.
  • SSL encryption for data in transit, and AES-256 bit encryption for data at rest (in the cloud – 3rd tier)
  • Protection policies can be setup in StorSimple to use combinations of local and cloud snapshots to match the organization RPO, RTO, and DR (Recovery Point Objectives, Recovery Time Objectives, and Disaster Recovery)
  • Easy administration via simple web interface
  • No-downtime controller failover, allows for firmware/software updates with no down time.
  • Authentication to admin interface can integrate with LDAP directories like Active Directory.

In summary, this compact array makes it easy to move 400 TB of rarely used files for example, and move them seamlessly to the cloud. Best part is that IT folks don’t have to redesign applications or do anything major, other than mount an iSCSI volume on an existing file server. This offloads expensive on-prem primary storage. It removes the need for secondary storage, tape backup, and off-site backup. This provides a significant return on investment.

Limitations:

  • 1 Gbps NICs (no 10 Gbps NICs) put a limit on the throughput the array can deliver. At a maximum, 3 out of the 4 NICs can be configured for iSCSI providing an aggregate bandwidth of 3 Gbps or about 10k IOPS
  • Maximum outbound useable bandwidth to the cloud is 100 Mbps
  • When planning a use case for the device, tiering to the cloud must be considered. This is desirable for a workload like a file share, but not recommended for an active workload where the entire volume is active such as SQL or Hyper-V.
  • Wish list items include:
    • No central management point if you have several devices. Each device has its own web interface.
    • No Powershell support
    • No Operation Manager Management Pack. Monitoring is via email and SNMP only.
    • No SMI-S provider (needed for Software-Defned storage in VMM for example)

 

 

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2 responses

  1. Pingback: StorSimple current 7k versus new 8k series | Sam's Corner

  2. Pingback: StorSimple 5k/7k series training video | Sam's Corner

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