AIX > Storage > Servers

A Real-World Example of Boot from SAN

Lockheed Martin tests IBM technology for availability.

Lockheed Martin tests IBM technology for availability.

Today, IT is demanding more data-storage capacity; faster data access; more secure, global data access; and a higher data- availability level. Typical IT environments contain thousands of computers of dissimilar types and platforms connected across multiple networks. Each of these computers require access to its own data as well as access to common data. A storage-area network (SAN) is often necessary to control and manage the massive amounts of data required by the many types of computer systems that comprise an IT environment.

A SAN is one or more storage devices accessible to computers via a Fibre Channel (FC) network, known as a fabric. FC is an efficient, high-performance, low overhead and congestion-free medium for transporting data. FC is faster than Ethernet, because it was designed for data I/O and doesn't have the overhead and control handshaking of Ethernet. iSCSI, a technology that uses TCP/IP to connect to storage devices, has also become prominent within SAN environments as an alternative to FC. With the advent of 10 Gb Ethernet, iSCSI is expected to become even more popular.

Disk architectures supported in a SAN are typically FC drives and Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) drives. FC drives are faster, higher performing and more expensive. SATA drives are less robust, but they may be more economical depending on system requirements. Other disk architectures becoming increasingly popular in SAN environments include Fibre Attached ATA Drives (FATA) and Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) behind FC. IBM currently offers all of these technologies in its disk subsystems.

In today's environment of tightened IT budgets, it's important that organizations make every effort to maximize their existing technology investments. Lockheed Martin takes this maximization to heart. That's why Lockheed Martin - along with IBM - extensively evaluated whether Lockheed Martin's SAN environment could be further utilized to maximize the current program investment in SAN technology using boot from SAN with its Windows* technology-based servers.

Boot from SAN - otherwise known as remote boot or root boot - refers to the server configuration where the server OS is installed on a logical drive (LUN) that doesn't reside inside the server chassis. Boot from SAN utilizes drives located in a disk-storage subsystem like an IBM* TotalStorage* DS8000, DS6000 or DS4000 that are connected via a host-bus adapter (HBA) located in the server chassis. The focus of the evaluation was to determine if boot from SAN should be utilized to save time and money and provide a higher level of availability as opposed to conventional local disk.

The IBM SAN provides three levels of virtualization at the disk array, volument and file-set levels to provide a high degree of data availability, shared access without impacting operations and good posturing for future technologies.

Thomas D. Llewellyn is a senior staff systems engineer for Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems & Solutions in the Philadelphia/WMA Region.


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A Real-World Example of Boot from SAN

Lockheed Martin tests IBM technology for availability.

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