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Data Center Hardware Overview: Totally Disaggregated Appliances

19

NOVEMBER, 2019

This is the last article in the “Data Center Hardware Overview” series. In this article we’ll take a closer look at the architecture, key components, and scalability of our unique and innovative Totally Disaggregated (TD) High Availability (HA) cluster appliances built for the most demanding enterprise workloads.

Previously in the series, we discussed:

If you’re looking for a detailed overview of StoneFly data storage and backup & DR appliance hardware, we highly recommend reading the previously published articles as listed above.

Totally Disaggregated Appliance Architecture Overview

The totally disaggregated HA cluster appliances come with dedicated hardware chassis for each component; namely StoneFly totally disaggregated appliances comprise of the following chassis:

  • Dual storage or HCI controllers (Two 1U or 2U Chassis)
  • Dual active/active RAID controller (1U Chassis)
  • One or more EBODs (12-bay to 108-bay chassis)
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The two storage controllers or Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) controllers (with storage hypervisor) provide multi-path access to storage resources with aggregated 2x processing capabilities. With the RAID controller in a separate chassis, the process of repair is easier and convenient for data center administrators.

With key components, distributed in disaggregated hardware chassis, there’s no need for forklift upgrades. The process of scalability instead becomes simpler enabling users to scale performance and storage capacity individually. This makes the totally disaggregated appliance a great fit for enterprise workloads processing large data volumes (or big data) on a daily basis.

Totally Disaggregated Appliance Hardware Components

Now that we have a general idea of the hardware chassis that make-up StoneFly totally disaggregated appliances, let’s take a closer look at some of the key hardware components of the enterprise data center hardware.

Storage or HCI Controllers

Each storage controller or HCI controller has built-in processor, system memory, and dedicated NVMe SSDs for storage OS and hypervisor. StoneFly totally disaggregated appliances support 1U and 2U storage controller or HCI controller chassis.

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1U Storage Controller or HCI Controller

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2U Storage Controller or HCI Controller

This hardware components acts as the management layer for the data storage or backup & DR system. The storage OS, storage hypervisor (if hyperconverged) and backup software (for backup appliances) are installed on this hardware chassis.

The storage or HCI controllers support processor, system memory and NVMe SSD upgrades. Maximum processor, system memory and NVMe SSD capacities vary depending on the appliance series and model. For more information on storage controllers or HCI controllers, contact StoneFly support.

Dual Active/Active RAID Controller

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In the StoneFly totally disaggregated appliance configuration, the RAID controller comes in a separate 1U hardware chassis. The 1U chassis has dual active/active RAID controllers. In the event of a single RAID controller failure, the system automatically fails over to the second redundant RAID controller and continues operations without disruption.

The hardware independent chassis facilitates users to independently replace RAID controllers in the event of hardware failure instead of forklift upgrades.

Supported RAID levels include 0, 1, 0+1, 3, 5, 6, 10, 30, 50, and 60; compatible RAID level depends on available system resources and the appliance series and model.

Expandable Bunch of Drives (EBODs)

StoneFly totally disaggregated appliances can store from a few hundred terabytes to petabytes of enterprise data with EBODs.

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StoneFly EBODs are available with 12Gb SAS host interface and can be populated with 12, 16, 24, 60, 90, and 108 12Gb enterprise SAS drives and SSDs.

The 1U storage controllers or HCI controllers can support a maximum of 1776 drives while the 2U storage controllers or HCI controllers can support a maximum of 4440 drives for petabytes of storage capacities.

Hot-Swappable Storage Drives

StoneFly EBODs enables users to hot-swap storage drives dynamically and effortlessly. The process of adding new drives or replacing existing ones is nearly tool-less. Data center administrators don’t have to shut down the system just to add more storage capacities or replace failed drives; this saves time and is a lot more convenient than the traditional routine processes.

Redundant Hot-Swappable Power Supplies

Each storage controller or HCI controller, RAID controller and EBOD chassis houses redundant and hot-swappable power supplies. The redundant power supplies ensure that in the event of power supply failure, the system continues to function.

The hot-swappable hardware facilitates data center administrators to effortlessly replace power supplies dynamically without having to turn off the system.

Individually Scale Performance & Storage Capacity

Similar to StoneFly disaggregated HA cluster appliances, the totally disaggregated appliances also enable users to individually add performance capabilities and storage capacities. Users can also choose to add both simultaneously.

Add Performance Individually

StoneFly storage controllers or HCI controllers can support processor upgrades to dual 28-core Xeon processors and system memory upgrades to 4TB per node; depending on appliance series and model.

Additionally, to add more performance individually, users can add storage controller or HCI controller chassis to the totally disaggregated system. With each controller added to the system, users add more processing capabilities and system memory as each controller has built-in processor and system memory.

IOPS (read & write commands) are aggregated over the total number of storage controller or HCI controller nodes in the totally disaggregated system.

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Our totally disaggregated appliances enables users to add storage capacities dynamically without having to go through the strenuous process of forklift upgrades. As mentioned earlier, the 1U and 2U storage controllers are capable of supporting thousands of storage drives with expansion units.

To add more storage drives, and in turn more storage capacities, users can add more EBODs to their totally disaggregated appliances. The integration process is as simple as “plug and play”. The smart StoneFly storage operating system (StoneFusion or SCVM for storage hypervisors) makes the process of integration seamless and quick.

Scale Out: Add Performance Capabilities & Storage Capacities

Besides the ability to scale performance and storage capacities individually, our totally disaggregated appliances also facilitate users looking to scale out both performance and storage capacities simultaneously.

There are two ways to scale out StoneFly totally disaggregated appliances:

  1. Add integrated appliance nodes with built-in storage controller, RAID controller and storage drives to the totally disaggregated system.
  2. Add totally disaggregated appliance nodes with hardware independent storage controllers, RAID controllers and EBODs to the totally disaggregated system.

Addition of Integrated Appliance Nodes:

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Addition of Totally Disaggregated Appliance Nodes:

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That concludes our overview of the key components of our totally disaggregated appliance hardware. Now that we know what it is, let’s list StoneFly’s appliance series with support for the totally disaggregated appliance hardware.

StoneFly Totally Disaggregated Appliances

Following is a list of StoneFly solutions with support for the totally disaggregated appliance hardware architecture:

Data Storage Solutions:

Backup & DR Solutions:

Conclusion

The totally disaggregated appliance hardware is a flexible, highly scalable and high performance enterprise data center architecture suitable for a wide variety of enterprise use-cases. The hardware is best fit for enterprises looking for reliable and easy-to-manage solutions with hundreds of terabytes to even petabytes of storage capacities with proportional performance capabilities.

Interested in StoneFly totally disaggregated appliances?

Contact Us – We’re Ready to Deliver Purpose-Built Enterprise-Grade Storage, & Hyperconverged Backup & DR Solutions

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