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Moving large amounts of data reliably

I am in the process of setting up a 40TB SAN that will have to initially provide connectivity for 12 servers (24 ports). The 40TB represents three days (on average) of transitory data. Expectations being that 12TB will be moved in/out of the SAN on a daily basis.

We are currently in discussion with a vendor that is recommending QLogic switches front-ending StorageEdge T3s striped and mirrored to provide high reliability with a significant amount of throughput.

We will be running an Oracle database within the SAN as well as moving very large files through the SAN on a minute-by-minute basis. We expect to have a portion of the SAN set aside for use by an NT server and we expect to have to provide connectivity to several Unix operating systems to include AIX and Solaris.

My question is, do you have any white papers that might provide inputs about performance characteristics of a SAN of this size and using various switch technologies and drive configurations?

The QLogic HBAs are pretty fast. Make sure you use the latest drivers and firmware though, as there have been many improvements.

I assume that you have two main concerns with your setup, security and performance. For performance, the more spindles the better and also, the more HBAs the better. You can put four HBAs in your servers that need high performance then load balance your I/O across all four HBAs. In your case, since you are moving a large amount of data on a daily basis, 2G-bit Fibre Channel would suit you well. Using four HBAs and striped mirrors (RAID-0+1) you should get great performance. Since the T3 can create two logical units per shelf, I suggest two sets of RAID-10 per shelf with the four HBAs attached to all shelves using 15K RPM spindles if possible.

See the results from an Oracle test using T3 from the Transaction Performance Council. This paper will show you how Sun configured the storage for performance to get the results they did on this benchmark.

Other good white papers for how to tune Oracle for performance are available from the Qracle Web site and all the storage vendor sites.

As for security, if this is for top secret stuff, you may want to put everything in racks and roll the racks into a protected area at night.


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