Data storage is one of the critical components of any physical datacenter architecture. The mechanisms, topologies and technologies of using storage on a large scale are the topics of Data Storage Networking: Real World Skills for the CompTIA Storage+ Certification and Beyond by Nigel Poulton.
Poulton discusses storage components in IT infrastructure, including hard disk, solid state disk, and tape drives. Related terms such as Storage Area Network (SAN), Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI), Filers/NAS (Network Attached Storage) and Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) are explained.
The book has lucid explanation of the logical SAN components that form a fiber channel protocol (FCP) stack consisting of five layers, FC0 through FC4, handling various components of data storage networking.
FC SAN–based storage architecture requires below components:
- SAN switches
- SAN ports
- SAN bandwidth
- Inter-switch links (ISLs)
- Front-end array ports
- Data center power and cooling
- Data center floor space
- Cabinet space for more drives
- Licenses of the applications, software and hardware for usable capacity
The author discusses all the above components in the context of recent technological trends and best practices, and suggests some useful tips for the newbie technician related to data storage. He discusses common oversights in storage environments, for example not cleaning up old configurations or excluding the storage team from the execution plan when decommissioning servers, resulting in storage not being properly reinitialized and showing up with previous server associations and sometimes data as well.
Another tip suggested is zoning across SCSI devices to prevent a scenario where tape drives perform a reset and full media rewind on receipt of an SCSI reset. FC SANs with no zoning are the typical candidates for this type of datacenter scenario.
The book explains the backup concept of snapshots, such as in a hypervisor (which runs virtual machines), which work as real-time incremental backups requiring an earlier time-based backup. Depending on the storage network used, there can be LAN-based backups, SAN-based backups, or server-less backups using SCSI-based Extended Copy directly from source to target LUNs. Application-aware backups take advantage of application features to provide richer features to the end-user.
The author also gives guidelines on designing and configuring data storage networks for robust disaster recovery (DR) plans.
Other important topics detailed include Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) and the four tiers of a data center as defined by Uptime Institute.
The topics of this book match the syllabus for the CompTIA Storage+ Powered by SNIA Exam SGO-001. The Storage+ exam is the only storage certification offered by CompTIA in association with the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA). It covers all the topics needed for configuring basic storage networks and systems, and provides a solid foundation for building a more in-depth storage skill set. The exam is aimed at professionals who have at least one year of hands-on experience.
The book covers most of the exam objectives of the SNIA SGO-001 exam, and gives on-the-job tips on current technologies useful for storage and systems administrators. Drawing on extensive experience, the author has done a good job of presenting the topics and providing a useful reference.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=1118679210]