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Server virtualization using QSAN SAN storage

You can’t take full advantage of the power of server virtualization without the involvement of SAN storages. It’s the most important ingredient in making a successful, efficient, and highly available clustering recipe using server virtualization software. A great IT infrastructure starts with a careful and thoughtful evaluation and planning work. QSAN SAN products will assure you a cost-effective and successful deployment of server virtualization.

Software-based server virtualization abstracts a single physical device and turns it into multiple virtual devices. It creates an abstraction layer between the physical server hardware and the virtual instances (virtual machines) that run on top of that hardware. There are 3 major players in this area, which are VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Citrix.

Network storage is the keystone

Instead of increasing hardware utilization rate, the most valuable part of server virtualization is its ability to provide high availability and fault tolerance functions. In order to achieve this goal, server virtualization needs its best friend – network storage. The idea relies on that all the hosts can access the same storage volume where all the virtual machine files are stored. So when any host is offline, the backup hosts can take over the virtual machines running on the failed host instantly and non-disruptively. Without network storage, none of these will be possible. This truly sets SAN storage apart from the traditional DAS (Direct Attached Storage) storage. Because when you use the traditional direct-attached RAID storage, if the server goes down, the whole system goes down. It doesn’t matter if you have RAID protection. What matters is networking capability of your storage devices, which makes QSAN SAN series the perfect candidates for this type of application.

Models Host Interfaces Supported HDDs VMware high availability
& fault tolerance
Hyper-V high availability
& fault tolerance
Fully redundant design
XCubeSAN XS3200 series 1GbE, 10GbE iSCSI
16Gb Fibre Channel
12Gb SAS, SSD Yes Yes Yes
AegisSAN LX series 1GbE, 10GbE iSCSI
8Gb, 16Gb Fibre Channel
6Gb SAS, SATA, SSD Yes Yes Yes
AegisSAN Q500 series 1GbE, 10GbE iSCSI
8Gb, 16Gb Fibre Channel
6Gb SAS, SATA, SSD Yes Yes Yes

Below is the basic conceptual structure.


A checklist to set up a fault tolerant server virtualization

  • XCubeSAN sereis, AegisSAN LX series, or AegisSAN Q500 series
  • Performance requirement : throughput at least 200MB/sec
  • Each server has 2 identical HBA cards. Each HBA card has at least 4~8x 1Gb Ethernet ports or at least 2x 8Gb Fibre Channel ports.
  • VMware infrastructure Enterprise edition version 4 or above (with VirtualCenter).
  • A dedicated server or virtual machine running VirtualCenter Server and VirtualCenter Database.
  • 1Gb/10Gb Ethernet switches for iSCSI SAN storage. 8Gb/16Gb Fibre Channel switches for FC SAN storage.
  • Connections to the same physical network.
  • Hosts’ CPUs are compatible to run each virtual machine.
Once you have all the elements in place, a successful deployment is just a few mouse clicks away. You can enjoy the benefits and reliability brought to you by server virtualization.