Read the case study titled “Carlson Companies” found at the end of Chapter 10.
Write a three to four (3-4) page paper in which you:
- Assess how the Carlson SAN approach would be implemented in today’s environment.
- Compare the pros and cons of consolidating data on a SAN central data facility versus the dispersed arrangement it replaces.
- Evaluate the issues raised from the Carlson SAN mixing equipment from a number of vendors and determine the management options for dealing with this type of situation.
- Justify the reduction of administration and management of storage networking through Carlson's IP SAN.
- Assess how cloud computing could be used by Carlson instead of a SAN. Create a diagram using Visio or its open source alternative software to illustrate the use of cloud computing. Note: The graphically depicted solution is not included in the required page length.
- Use at least three (3) quality resources in this assignment. Note: Wikipedia and similar Websites do not qualify as quality resources.
Case Study 4 Carlson Companies Carlson Companies is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States, with more than 180,000 employees in more than 140 countries. Carlson enterprises include a presence in marketing, business and leisure travel, and hospitality industries. Its Information Technology (IT) division, Carlson Shared Services, acts as a service provider to its internal clients and consequently must support a spectrum of user applications and services. The IT division uses a centralized data processing model to meet business operational requirements. The central computing environment includes an IBM mainframe and over 50 networked Hewlett-Packard and Sun servers [KRAN04, CLAR02, HIGG02]. The mainframe supports a wide range of applications, including Oracle financial database, e-mail, Microsoft Exchange, Web, PeopleSoft, and a data warehouse application. In 2002, the IT division established six goals for assuring that IT services continued to meet the needs of a growing company with heavy reliance on data and applications: Implement an enterprise data warehouse. Build a global network. Move to enterprise-wide architecture. Established six-sigma quality for Carlson clients. Facilitate outsourcing and exchange. Leverage existing technology and resource. The key to meeting these goals was to implement a storage area network (SAN) with a consolidated, centralized database to support mainframe and server applications. Carlson needed a SAN and data center approach that provided a reliable, highly scalable facility to accommodate the increasing demand of its users. Storage Requirements Until recently, the central DP shop included separate disc storage for each server, plus that of the mainframe. This dispersed data storage scheme had the advantage of responsiveness; that is, the access time from a server to its data was minimal. However, the data management cost was high. There had to be backup procedures for the storage on each server, as well as management controls to reconcile data distributed throughout the system. The mainframe included an efficient disaster recovery plan to preserve data in the event of major system crashes or other incidents and to get data back online with little or no disruption to the users. No comparable plan existed for the many servers. As Carlson’s databases grow beyond 10 terabytes (TB) of business-critical data, the IT team determined that a comprehensive network storage strategy would be required to manage future growth. Solution Concept The existing Carlson server complex made use of Fibre Channel links to achieve communication and backup capabilities among servers. Carlson considered extending this capability to a full-blown Fibre Channel SAN that would encompass the server, the mainframe, and massive centralized storage facilities. The IT team concluded that further expansion using Fibre Channel technologies alone would be difficult and costly to manage. At the same time, in supporting the many offsite client systems that accessed data center server, the IT shop already had a substantial investment in IP network products and staff training. Accordingly, Carlson sought a solution that would leverage this IP investment, provide scalability as additional local and remote services are added, and require minimal traffic engineering of the storage transport network. Thus, Carlson settled on a solution based on a core IP SAN that would meet both data-center and wide-area storage requirements and seamlessly integrate new storage technologies. The Carlson SAN The core of the Carlson SAN is an IP-based scheme in which Gigabit Ethernet switches carry IP traffic among servers and between servers and the central storage. Attached to the Gigabit switches are Nishan IP Storage switches, which provide a Fibre Channel interface for the servers and storage and an IP traffic switch into the Ethernet core (Figure IV.1). The Ethernet switches enjoy a considerable cost advantage over comparable Fibre Channel switches and require lower-cost management and maintenance. For redundancy, servers are dual-homed to the IP storage switches, which in turn connect to redundant Ethernet switches. The ratio of servers to storage interconnect is determined by the throughput requirements of each server group. Similarly, multiple IP storage switches connect the Ethernet switch core to the SAN storage system. This configuration can be scaled to support additional servers and storage arrays by adding additional IP storage switches. The network core of Ethernet switches also expands easily by adding additional switches. The focus of the Carlson SAN is a 13-TB HP Storage Works Disc array. A major consideration in planning the transition was the migration of data from the mainframe’s storage to the central storage. The mainframe hosts several mission-critical applications in a round-the-clock fashion. Thus, an offline data migration was not feasible. The migration of all common data to this array proceeded in two phases. In the first phase, each server was taken offline and a simple copy was performed to transfer the Figure IV.1 Carlson’s Data Center SAN application data on the server systems to the new storage system. The second phase involved the transfer of 1.2 TB of data from the mainframe’s legacy storage to the new storage system. Carlson contracted this task out to HP storage experts who made use of proprietary data migration and network management tools to enable the transfer to occur during production processing hours. End users were unaffected during the migration. Carlson’s IP SAN helps reduce the ongoing administration and management of storage networking by taking advantage of well-established and well-understood IP networking technologies. In addition, putting storage data over IP facilitates integration of more efficient storage services for Carlson’s enterprise-wide network, including centralized backup of remote sites to the data center SAN.