Best Practice: Deployment - Topology Examples

Summary

This document describes the deployment model for Northern Storage Suite. It provides a high-level explanation of the different components within an NSS deployment and how these components should be arranged in standard, high-availability and Disaster Recovery environments.

Topology Components

NSS MANAGING HOST

Northern Storage Suite is installed on one or more Windows servers. Each of these servers is referred to as an ‘NSS Managing Host’ or a ‘Managing Host’. Managing Hosts can be either physical or virtual machines and would typically be dual-CPU, 2GHz, quad-core devices with 4GB of RAM [a full list of system requirements is available on Northern’s website].

MS SQL DATABASE

NSS operations require data to be stored in an MS SQL database. The database server does not need to be dedicated to NSS; any pre-existing SQL server can be used. Database size depends on how NSS is used, particularly the number and scope of scheduled reports configured as well as the amount of historical data that is retained. Empirical evidence points to database sizes equating to less that 1% of the size of the storage environment that is being managed.

TARGET DEVICE

Once installed NSS is configured to control and monitor storage resources. These resources are either local to the Managing Host, a DAS or SAN configuration, or attached to a NAS appliance and accessed across a Local Area Network. Whether local or remote, the target of NSS operations is referred to as the ‘Target Device’. 

Deployment Examples

TYPICAL DEPLOYMENT

The diagram below shows a typical deployment of NSS within a NAS environment. The NSS Managing Hosts are virtual machines accessing the target storage devices across the LAN and storing report data within database served from a physical SQL server.

Diagram 1: Typical deployment of NSS within a NAS environment

deployment_NAS

HIGH AVAILABILITY DEPLOYMENT

Northern Storage Suite is fully cluster aware. This feature can be utilized to ensure high-availability of quota policies, storage reporting, chargeback, etc. The following deployment diagram shows both NSS and MS SQL installed on physical [MSCS] cluster systems, delivering high-availability.

Diagram 2: High availability deployment of NSS within a NAS environment

deployment_NAS_HighAvail

DISASTER RECOVERY DEPLOYMENT

Northern Storage Suite can be installed in a Disaster Recovery configuration through the combined use of MS SQL synchronization tools and human processes to ensure mirroring of quota, reporting, chargeback, etc. policies. The diagram below shows NSS deployed within an environment that includes a Disaster Recovery capability.

Here vendor-specific tools are being used to ensure near real-time data replication between the Primary and DR storage devices as well as the Primary and DR MS SQL Database servers. Configuration of quotas, reporting, and chargeback policies is manually duplicated at both sites. Hardware emulation and VM staging tools can also be used to ensure policies are accurately duplicated.

Diagram 3: Deployment of NSS within an environment that includes disaster recovery capability

deployment_NAS_DR

DISPERSED SITES WITH HIGH LATENCY LINKS

When installed in a geographically dispersed environment where inter-site network links experience high latency Northern recommends that MS SQL Replication functionality be used. Using this approach reduces pressure on WAN links but still retains central viewing and managing capabilities.

As the diagram below shows, semi-autonomous NSS deployments are created at each site. Data stored within the ‘local’ database is replicated to a central database using MS SQL Replication and a central console allows viewing of aggregate data.

Diagram 4: Deployment of NSS within an environment that includes disaster recovery capability

deployment_NAS_geospread



KB Article: 1725

Updated: 8/22/2014

  • Category
    • Best Practice
  • Affected versions
    • NSS 9.0
    • NSS 9.5

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