Performance Improvements and Expansion

By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2006-02-10 Print this article Print

Performance payoff Miller said he is happy with iSCSI and that most of his initial concerns regarding performance have been allayed.
To ensure that performance remains at a satisfactory level and to optimize throughput, Miller deployed QLogics SANBlade 4010c single-port iSCSI TOE (TCP/IP offload engine) cards with the iSCSI Software Initiator 2.0 from Microsoft. TOE cards are designed to offload the Ethernet/SCSI processing from the server processor and process the data on the card.
When Miller initially purchased the TOE cards, multipathing capabilities werent available. Now that TOE cards are capable of multipathing, Gutierrez and Miller said they plan to test the newer cards in a test system this year to see how well they fail over. By putting two TOE cards with such capabilities into each of their servers, Miller and Gutierrez would have two different network paths. This would ensure that the companys storage infrastructure does not have a single point of failure. "As we add more and more onto the NetApp environment, we dont know what performance issues are going to come up," Miller said. "[Because Fibre Channel technology has a longer history,] you have some good knowledge of what the performance will be as you add applications. With iSCSI, were still learning the environment, and, as we add more data and more systems, theres some potential impact." FoxHollow IT staff are currently working on moving the companys Tier 2 QAD ERP system to iSCSI. Like the Exchange server, FoxHollows ERP system, which has 100 users, is also seeing dramatic growth. Miller also wants to move his life sciences applications to the FAS3020 unit running iSCSI. He recently purchased Dell 2850 dual-processor servers with Red Hats Red Hat Enterprise Linux to run scientific applications such as Rosetta Biosoftwares Rosetta Resolver, a gene expression analysis software application. Those applications, which feed a back-end Oracle database, are expected to generate a lot more data once FoxHollow expands its relationship with Merck & Co. Miller said he hopes to move the scientific applications to the iSCSI environment later this year. He also plans to move his Oracle database from DAS to the SAN environment at that time. As the company expands to a second facility in Mountain View, Calif., Miller said, he may add a second FAS3020 unit for replication between sites and for business continuity. "We have 500 users that have implemented approximately 7.5TB of capacity and are currently using 2TB of storage," Miller said. "Over time, we will expand capacity and migrate more data into this environment." Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at Case File
  • Company FoxHollow Technologies
  • Location Redwood City, Calif.
  • Challenge FoxHollow has seen significant growth in the last few years, and it needed a cost-effective, secure and flexible integrated storage management system that could support that growth
  • Solution After considering both Fibre Channel and iSCSI solutions, FoxHollow deployed NetApps iSCSI-based FAS3020 appliances for file storage and block-level storage
  • Tools NetApps FAS3020 appliance; QLogics SANblade 4010c TOE cards; Microsofts Exchange Server 2003; Microsofts iSCSI Software Initiator 2.0; Xiotechs Magnitude SAN; ADICs Scalar SDLT 100 tape library; Data Domains DD430; CommVaults Galaxy 5.9; Dell servers
  • Whats next FoxHollow is currently moving its ERP system onto the NetApp iSCSI solution and will begin moving life sciences applications to the appliances later this year Source: eWEEK Labs reporting Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.

    As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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