3PAR automates provisioning for virtual servers

By Kevin Komiega

-- 3PAR has unveiled a trio of software updates for its InServ Storage Server arrays that automate storage provisioning, monitoring, and data protection in clustered and virtual server environments.

The first piece of new software, dubbed 3PAR Autonomic Groups, gives storage administrators the ability to create volume groups on InServ disk arrays. The aim of Autonomic Groups is to hide the construct of server clusters from the storage administrator to streamline the storage provisioning process.

When a new host/server is added to the group, all volumes are automatically exported to that group without administrative intervention. On the storage side, when a new volume is added to the group, that volume is also exported to all hosts in the group.

"Clustering provides a cost effective way to scale and move things around in virtual environments, but clusters are difficult for the storage administrator because instead of provisioning a volume to one server it has to be provisioned to multiple servers," says Craig Nunes, 3PAR's vice president of marketing.

Nunes says server virtualization technology is bringing clustering to every data center. Autonomic Groups eliminates the concept of a cluster from a storage point of view and allows administrators to continue to provision storage in a one-to-one way.

Autonomic Groups can also be used to create a Virtual Copy snapshot of all volumes with a single command with complete consistency across the group.

The second piece of software, 3PAR Scheduler, extends the automation to virtual copy snapshots.

Scheduler gives users control over the creation and deletion of virtual copy snapshots and, when used in conjunction with Autonomic Groups, automates virtual copy snapshots across multiple boot and data volumes with full write consistency across different volumes.

The third software tool added to 3PAR's arsenal is a host-based tool called Host Explorer, which is a server agent that automatically discovers hosts and collects configuration information. The agent then sends host information, such as Fibre Channel World Wide Name (WWN) and host multipath data, back to the InServ array.

Autonomic Groups and  Scheduler are included in the latest version of 3PAR's InForm Operating System and are available at no additional charge. Host Explorer is a separate piece of software that runs on Windows, Linux, or Solaris 10 hosts and is also available at no charge.

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3PAR arrays offer hardware-based thin provisioning

This article was originally published on November 11, 2009