IBM SONAS storage for AIX and Linux environment

Use IBM SONAS storage for your growing business data running on a UNIX environment

Go beyond scale up and use the power of scale out via IBM Scale Out Network Attached Storage (IBM SONAS). IBM SONAS easily integrates with existing UNIX® environments and can be deployed instantaneously for business data storage. This article introduces you to the basic IBM SONAS setup and how it can be leveraged in UNIX environment like AIX® for centralized data storage.

Sandeep Ramesh Patil (rsandeep@in.ibm.com), Senior Software Engineer, IBM ISL

Photo of SandeepRamesh PatilSandeep Ramesh Patil is an advisory software engineer for the IBM India Software Labs. He has worked for IBM for the past nine years, focusing on distributed technology including DCE, SARPC, and security products such as the IBM Network Authentication Services (IBM Kerberos). He is an IBM developerWorks professional author. Sandeep holds a BE degree in computer science and engineering from the University of Pune, India. You can contact him at sandeep.patil@in.ibm.com.


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Bhushan Pradip Jain (bhujain1@in.ibm.com), Software Engineer, IBM ISL

author photo Bhushan Pradip Jain is an associate software engineer working for the IBM India Software Labs. He has published a technology named as "Policy-Driven File Encryption Explorer Based on OpenPGP" under alphaWorks and is currently working on IBM Scaled out Network Attached Storage. He has also worked for developing Intrusion Detection System and implementation of part of the operating system for a multi-antenna telescope. Bhushan has completed his B.Tech. in computer engineering from College of Engineering, Pune (COEP). You can contact him at bhujain1@in.ibm.com.



02 November 2010

Also available in Chinese

Introduction

The amount of unstructured data is and will continue to increase exponentially due to astronomical data generated from videos, audios, graphics and web applications. Network Attach Storages (NAS) are one of the most popular storage systems in the enterprise world.

In most NAS systems, performance and scalability improvements are gained simply by leveraging newer generation processors and I/O technologies. However, one of the most striking limitations of traditional network attached storage is that at a given point in time, NAS environments can only scale up to certain limited level. It is perhaps this limitation that is paving the way for the next generation of storage technology: scale-out storage. A scale-out storage structure employs an architecture which instead of growing vertically, grows horizontally. It means that one needs to add more disks across multiple systems, instead of adding more disks in the same system for higher storage capacity. The scale out storage provides mechanism to scale in two different dimensions, storage capacity as well as performance power. Scale out storages also provides ease of management and low cost of ownership in a way that it requires low entry cost and provides the ability to scale capacity without increasing the management efforts and further allows just in time scalability reducing the initial investment.

Scale-out architecture influences the future of data storage management in a significant way by encouraging greater use of virtualization as a technology in storage. The scale-out storages provides the perfect back-end required for cloud computing. With the advent of cloud computing, the amount of data generated keeps increasing, and the scale out storages caters to these ever growing needs by scaling the throughput to the user and scaling the disk capacity to store enormous user data when needed. In this article, we first discuss the IBM SONAS offering, its components, and then see how IBM SONAS can be used by AIX clients to cater to their ever-growing storage needs.


What is IBM SONAS?

IBM Scale Out Network Attached Storage (IBM SONAS) is a disruptive scale-out network attached storage system. It derives its high performance and scalability characteristics by interconnecting the high speed interface nodes with superior storage subsystem and IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS). Its advanced scale out capability coupled with automated data placement and unified management enables customers to rapidly expand storage infrastructure to multiple petabytes with minimal efforts. One of the distinguishing feature of IBM SONAS is that it uses a single global namespace to provide fast access to their data irrespective of the physical location of the files.

IBM SONAS is architected to have a dedicated management node and two or more interface nodes. The interface nodes provides file serving capabilities by connecting to the organization's ethernet IP network via NFS, CIFS and FTP protocols. To foster performance, the interface nodes are connected to redundant storage nodes using InfiniBand network. To enable availability, the storage nodes are integrated with RAID controllers which interface with the underlying disks storage. Figure 1 shows at a high level the different system components of IBM SONAS as described in IBM SONAS Information Center.(see Resources)

Figure 1. IBM SONAS high level system components
IBM SONAS components

Why IBM SONAS?

The scale-out model of IBM SONAS highly suits growing business needs with consideration to key elements like cost, performance, manageability and standard protocol support. Hence, it makes it suitable for small to medium businesses to vendors planning for storage cloud services to even large organizations working on having a consolidated private storage cloud.

The two noteworthy degrees of scalability provided by IBM SONAS which makes it a preferred filer are:

  1. Storage capacity with performance: Achieved by dynamically adding Storage Pods on need basis.
  2. File serving capability: Protocol handling power by dynamically plugging in Interface Nodes to support more client connections.

Some of the key features of IBM SONAS are:

  • Scalable storage capacity, from 100's of terabytes to multiple petabytes
  • Independent storage capacity and file serving capability scaling
  • High parallel access to data
  • Policy based Data placement and movement for enhanced tiering and ILM (Information Life-cycle Management)
  • Easy management of large NAS installation
  • Access standard Network File Services like NFS v2/v3, FTP and CIFS
  • Completely centralized management and administration
  • Support for up to 256 Snapshots per file system to provide Data Protection

For comprehensive understanding please refer to IBM SONAS Information Center.(see Resources)


IBM SONAS integration with the existing infrastructure

IBM SONAS can seamlessly be incorporated into your existing infrastructure to help manage your storage needs. The NAS clients can choose different protocols to access the shared files and data. Your existing domain name server (DNS) can be used for load balancing the client request across multiple IP address supported by the IBM SONAS system. It integrates with your existing Microsoft Active Directory (AD) Server for authenticating existing users and using their groups. In addition, it can also supports LDAP server, as well as Samba PDC (Primary Domain Controller). IBM SONAS uses Network Time Protocol (NTP), which is a commonly used protocol for clock synchronization. It uses SNMP protocol to communicate its state and supports the popular Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) for backup and archive needs.

IBM SONAS system can be administered via the command line interface (CLI) using the secure shell or via highly consumable web-based user interface using a standard web browser. Figure 2 gives a high level snapshot of the commonly deployed infrastructure services which IBM SONAS makes use of, thus enabling its adoption.

Figure 2. IBM SONAS integration with the existing Infrastructure
IBM SONAS integration with the existing Infrastructure

AIX backed with IBM SONAS

In this section, we discuss the basic IBM SONAS configuration and see how we can use IBM SONAS as a back-end store for UNIX systems in general and AIX in particular.

IBM SONAS CLI configuration commands

Typically, most of the IBM SONAS basic configuration and setup is executed by IBM. However, you are provided with a set of commands to verify the configuration using IBM SONAS command line interface (CLI). You are required to login to the IBM SONAS management node using SSH and the special CLI user provided by IBM. The session has explicitly chroot jail configured to avoid malicious activity or tampering with the system. Following are few handy IBM SONAS CLI commands:

  • get_version prints the version of the IBM SONAS Product.
  • lscluster lists all the clusters created and their details. Execution of this command helps verify the configuration and creation of the cluster.
  • lsnode helps lists all the nodes in the cluster and their details.
  • cfgldap, cfgad, cfgnt4, cfgsfu helps configure the authentication schemes with external LDAP server, AD server, Samba PDC or Services For UNIX user mappings respectively
  • lsauth helps to verify the details of the authentication configuration.
  • mknw is used to configure the network settings, like the IP addresses used to access the IBM SONAS system.
  • lsnw is used to list all the public IP addresses served by the IBM SONAS system.
  • lsfs is used to list all the created filesystems and their details.
  • mkexport is used to create the exports (shares)which can be accessed by the NAS clients.
  • lsexport is used to view all the existing exports (shares), their name, path and protocol.

Please note that in IBM SONAS 1.1.0.2 the NFS authentication is only done by host name/IP address. Authorization is based on uids/gids and the NFS client sends the uid/gids of the current user to the IBM SONAS (NFS Server). Thus you must ensure that the client have the same id mapping as that on IBM SONAS.

The following sample output of these IBM SONAS commands help us configure a basic IBM SONAS system.

Code 1: IBM SONAS Commands.
sonasisvaix4> hostname
sonasisvaix4.storage.tucson.ibm.com

sonasisvaix4> ssh cliuser@sonasisvc1.storage.tucson.ibm.com
cliuser@sonasisvc1.storage.tucson.ibm.com's password:

[sonasisv.storage.tucson.ibm.com]$ get_version
SONAS Version: 1.1.0.2-7

[sonasisv.storage.tucson.ibm.com]$ lscluster
ClusterId            Name                            PrimaryServer SecondaryServer
12402779238924710539 sonasisv.storage.tucson.ibm.com strg001st001  strg002st001

[sonasisv.storage.tucson.ibm.com]$ lsnode
Hostname     IP           Description Role       Product Version Connection status 
GPFS status CTDB status Last updated
int001st001  172.31.132.1             interface  1.1.0.1-6       OK                
active      active      4/24/10 4:01 PM
int002st001  172.31.132.2             interface  1.1.0.1-6       OK                
active      active      4/24/10 4:01 PM
int003st001  172.31.132.3             interface  1.1.0.1-6       OK                
active      active      4/24/10 4:01 PM
mgmt001st001 172.31.136.2             management 1.1.0.1-6       OK                
active      active      4/24/10 4:01 PM
strg001st001 172.31.134.1             storage    1.1.0.1-6       OK                
active                  4/24/10 4:01 PM
strg002st001 172.31.134.2             storage    1.1.0.1-6       OK                
active                  4/24/10 4:01 PM

[sonasisv.storage.tucson.ibm.com]$ lsauth
userName = Administrator
domain = sonasDM
AUTH_TYPE = ad
realm = sonasDM.STORAGE.TUCSON.IBM.COM
passwordServer = sonaspb11.sonasdm.storage.tucson.ibm.com
clusterName = sonasisv

[sonasisv.storage.tucson.ibm.com]$ lsnw
Network       VLAN ID Network Groups IP-Addresses 
Routes
9.11.102.0/26         int            9.11.102.10,9.11.102.12,9.11.102.13,9.11.102.14,
9.11.102.15,9.11.102.16,9.11.102.17,9.11.102.18,9.11.102.19,9.11.102.8,9.11.102.9 
0.0.0.0/0:9.11.102.1

[sonasisv.storage.tucson.ibm.com]$ lsfs
Cluster                         Devicename Mountpoint  Type  Remote device 
Quota              Def. quota Blocksize Locking type ACL type Inodes   Data replicas 
Metadata replicas Replication policy Dmapi Block allocation type Version Last update
sonasisv.storage.tucson.ibm.com av         /ibm/av     local local         
user;group;fileset            256K      nfs4         nfs4     100.000M 1             
1                 whenpossible       T     scatter               11.05   4/5/10 9:21 AM
sonasisv.storage.tucson.ibm.com gpfs0      /ibm/gpfs0  local local         
user;group;fileset            256K      nfs4         nfs4     100.000M 1             
1                 whenpossible       F     scatter               11.05   4/5/10 9:21 AM

[sonasisv.storage.tucson.ibm.com]$ mkexport remote_storage /ibm/gpfs0/remote_storage 
--nfs "*(rw,no_root_squash)"
EFSSG0019I The export remote_storage has been successfully created.

[sonasisv.storage.tucson.ibm.com]$ lsexport
Name             Path                                     Protocol Active Timestamp
remote_storage   /ibm/gpfs0/remote_storage                NFS      true   4/5/10 9:26 AM

[sonasisv.storage.tucson.ibm.com]$ exit
logout
Connection to sonasisvc1.storage.tucson.ibm.com closed.

IBM SONAS and AIX

IBM SONAS provides a single global namespace and mechanisms to share the data with multiple AIX clients. Since IBM SONAS supports NFS and FTP protocols, which are inherent to AIX and other Linux machines, it fits best into UNIX infrastructure. You can use standard NFS protocol to access data on IBM SONAS systems eradicating the need to install any special clients or code on each client. You can now use IBM SONAS NFS shares for your critical applications like databases, technical applications and services running on your AIX and Linux systems. The GPFS enabled IBM SONAS filer further helps leverage high data storage performance to your AIX and Linux systems aiding in a uniform, consolidated and cohesive storage management. The IBM SONAS snapshots facility provides reliable data protection of your AIX or Linux data, making sure that you can go back to a point in time copy of it. Thus, IBM SONAS easily integrates in the AIX and Linux environment to provide the extra consolidated storage space along with various other features.

In the previous section, we configured the basic IBM SONAS system with a NFS export. Now let's configure an AIX system to access this share so that it allows the AIX users to use the NAS space. You can use any of the public IP address configured for the IBM SONAS system to mount the NFS export. In our scenario, we create a local directory "/mnt/storage". Then we mount the NFS shared path "/ibm/gpfs0/remote_storage" on this directory. We then create a file named test.txt in the NFS mounted directory. Further, to demonstrate the high availability and parallel accessibility of data using various IP addresses configured with IBM SONAS, we mount the same NFS share using a different IP address on a different path "/mnt/duplicate_storage". We then access the same file and verify that the contents are indeed the same.

Code 2: Using IBM SONAS from AIX or Linux.
sonasisvaix4> hostname
sonasisvaix4.storage.tucson.ibm.com

sonasisvaix4> uname -a
AIX sonasisvaix4 1 6 0028D6AC4C00
sonasisvaix4> oslevel
6.1.3.0

sonasisvaix4> mkdir /mnt/storage
sonasisvaix4> mount 9.11.102.8:/ibm/gpfs0/remote_storage /mnt/storage
sonasisvaix4>
sonasisvaix4> mount
  node       mounted        mounted over    vfs       date        options
-------- ---------------  ---------------  ------ ------------ ---------------
         /dev/hd4         /                jfs2   Mar 21 14:52 rw,log=/dev/hd8
         /dev/hd2         /usr             jfs2   Mar 21 14:52 rw,log=/dev/hd8
         /dev/hd9var      /var             jfs2   Mar 21 14:52 rw,log=/dev/hd8
         /dev/hd3         /tmp             jfs2   Mar 21 14:52 rw,log=/dev/hd8
         /dev/hd1         /home            jfs2   Mar 21 14:53 rw,log=/dev/hd8
         /dev/hd11admin   /admin           jfs2   Mar 21 14:53 rw,log=/dev/hd8
         /proc            /proc            procfs Mar 21 14:53 rw
         /dev/hd10opt     /opt             jfs2   Mar 21 14:53 rw,log=/dev/hd8
         /dev/livedump    /var/adm/ras/livedump jfs2   Mar 21 14:53 rw,log=/dev/hd8
9.11.102.8 /ibm/gpfs0/remote_storage /mnt/storage     nfs3   Apr 05 09:42

sonasisvaix4> echo "Hi, This is a test" > /mnt/storage/test.txt
sonasisvaix4> cat /mnt/storage/test.txt
Hi, This is a test
sonasisvaix4> mkdir /mnt/duplicate_storage
sonasisvaix4> mount 9.11.102.10:/ibm/gpfs0/remote_storage /mnt/duplicate_storage
sonasisvaix4> mount
  node       mounted        mounted over    vfs       date        options
-------- ---------------  ---------------  ------ ------------ ---------------
         /dev/hd4         /                jfs2   Mar 21 14:52 rw,log=/dev/hd8
         /dev/hd2         /usr             jfs2   Mar 21 14:52 rw,log=/dev/hd8
         /dev/hd9var      /var             jfs2   Mar 21 14:52 rw,log=/dev/hd8
         /dev/hd3         /tmp             jfs2   Mar 21 14:52 rw,log=/dev/hd8
         /dev/hd1         /home            jfs2   Mar 21 14:53 rw,log=/dev/hd8
         /dev/hd11admin   /admin           jfs2   Mar 21 14:53 rw,log=/dev/hd8
         /proc            /proc            procfs Mar 21 14:53 rw
         /dev/hd10opt     /opt             jfs2   Mar 21 14:53 rw,log=/dev/hd8
         /dev/livedump    /var/adm/ras/livedump jfs2   Mar 21 14:53 rw,log=/dev/hd8
9.11.102.8 /ibm/gpfs0/remote_storage /mnt/storage     nfs3   Apr 05 09:42
9.11.102.10 /ibm/gpfs0/remote_storage /mnt/duplicate_storage nfs3   Apr 05 09:46

sonasisvaix4> cat /mnt/duplicate_storage/test.txt
Hi, This is a test

Conclusion

With the scale-out architecture, IBM SONAS is a lucrative storage filer to satiate growing storage needs. IBM SONAS support for standard access protocols helps its integration in UNIX environment to store AIX and Linux data to ensure optimum cost of ownership. The other features of IBM SONAS further aids to centrally manage the UNIX data and provide high data access performance to applications and services.

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