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Jun 17 2015

Always Keep Your Data Ready with PRIMEFLEX HA and DR Solutions

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In recent years, organizations have come to regard an increasing number of workloads as critical to their business operations. As a result, the demand for improved application and data availability is constantly on the rise. That's why Fujitsu created its own set of 'availability-optimized' solutions, now marketed as parts of the new PRIMEFLEX brand.

As more and more companies bring applications and services to the cloud, they are also re-shaping customer and employee expectations regarding service levels: instant access to IT resources like supply chain data, internal databases, and ERP as well as to customer-facing elements, such as web sites and online stores, is now taken for granted. Downtimes or failures of core services have become practically unacceptable, as they will inevitably induce financial losses and reduced customer satisfaction. If occurring too frequently, such disruptions may even force an organization out of business. The only reliable way for IT departments to avert such risks is to build infrastructures that support high availability (HA) of data and services and at the same time simplify disaster recovery (DR). But while this may sound reasonable, it's not exactly an easy thing to do: devising and implementing such infrastructures can be complicated and costly – especially for businesses with average or lower IT skills that have to adhere to strict budget caps. Fujitsu's HA and DR offerings were developed to suit these users' needs and are now available as solution packages under the PRIMEFLEX brand, encompassing PRIMEFLEX Cluster-in-a-box, PRIMEFLEX for HA Database, and our latest addition, PRIMEFLEX for Egenera PAN.

PRIMEFLEX for Egenera PAN
The FUJITSU Integrated System PRIMEFLEX for Egenera PAN (full name) is our answer to increasing demands on data center productivity and reliability combined with new requirements arising from virtualization and cloud computing strategies. To meet these demands, it allows for policy-based automation and orchestration of infrastructures and thus helps to improve SLA fulfillment for both physical and virtual workloads. Like other members of the product family, PRIMEFLEX for Egenera PAN 'rolls up' servers, storage, network connectivity and infrastructure management software into a neat reference architecture, i.e. a blueprint that is adaptable to specific customer requirements (see the illustration below).

 

Fig. 1: PRIMEFLEX for Egenera PAN Architecture

Fig. 1: PRIMEFLEX for Egenera PAN Architecture

 

More specifically, the solution consists of a combination of FUJITSU Server PRIMERGY blade, rack or scale-out systems equipped with Intel® Xeon® processors1, FUJITSU ETERNUS DX or NetApp FAS8000 storage arrays, and FUJITSU Connection Blades or top-of-rack switches from Brocade or Cisco with PAN Manager, the flagship software from Egenera, a vendor of IT management and automation solutions. PAN stands for Processing Area Network and basically describes a unified architecture that fuses all hardware resources into centralized but flexible "resource pools," thus enabling administrators to rapidly allocate server, storage and networking capacities based solely on business needs. The PAN Manager software provides the capabilities necessary to deploy applications in minutes, and then automatically and reliably keeps those applications running, even in the face of spikes in demand, system failure, or site disaster. Key features include:

  • 'Bootable' server profiles: Operating system images, network names, and addresses are stored in a central pool of XML profiles, and then invoked when a machine boots up. PAN Manager thus eliminates the need to maintain server information on local storage devices.
  • I/O virtualization: With traditional dedicated hard- and software combinations being absent from the mix, admins may now simply create logical paths to link servers to the required storage and network resources. In essence, this means they can deploy applications and move them to different systems as required, without undertaking manual efforts to keep hard- and software in sync.
  • HA and DR features: The PAN Manager software supports N+1 hardware redundancy out-of-the-box, regardless of software workload and without the need for further clustering software.
  • Server virtualization: Embedded Virtual Machine Instance (VMI) technology with deep integration of Citrix XenServer and additional support for products from VMware and Microsoft.
  • Multi-tenancy: Administrators can create secure resource pools and share servers between users.

Building on these basics, it was easy to include a number of features that rank high upon the wish list of Fujitsu customers. For example, the N+1 availability feature ensures that one server can be used as backup unit for multiple production servers. If an application requires more CPU power or memory, or if a server component fails, this feature automatically moves applications to alternate physical or virtual servers. Likewise, if a disaster occurs, the entire datacenter configuration, or selected portions thereof, will be migrated to a secondary location. This includes each physical and virtual server configuration in its entirety, complete with operating system, hypervisor, and applications. Because PRIMEFLEX for Egenera PAN works with a wide array of Fujitsu or third-party storage systems, it is also possible to simplify and automate Disaster Recovery solutions for more complex environments. In addition, the backup systems can be productively used for non-critical applications or development until the time a recovery is required.

PAN Domain Manager takes DR functionality to the next level by extending the flexibility of PAN Manager to large-scale deployments (up to 288 servers). This capability enables server profiles to be moved transparently between different form factors, and hardware platforms from different server vendors to be brought together in a single pool of resources within a PAN Manager environment.

PRIMEFLEX for Egenera PAN is available in three sizes or basic configurations: "small" supports 400+ VMs; "medium" is for installations that encompass 1,000+ virtual servers; and "enterprise" covers anything from 2,000 VMs onward. Each of these reference architectures has been thoroughly tested and validated and integrates all components into a tailor-made solution for the individual usage scenario, effectively turning Fujitsu and our channel partners into the single point of contact for all customers. PRIMEFLEX for Egenera PAN enables enterprises to quickly create and benefit from automated, scalable, reliable and self-service infrastructures and transforms static IT environments into agile and reliable IT services. As a result, IT efficiency is radically improved, and businesses are enabled to respond much faster to changing requirements and usage patterns.

For a more detailed overview, please see our PRIMEFLEX for Egenera PAN white paper (PDF).

[1] Intel, the Intel logo, Xeon, and Xeon Inside are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Timo Lampe

 

About the Author:

Timo Lampe

Senior Specialist Marketing Manager – Data Center Systems / Server

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