Storage

Data that works for you: Volume duplication on block and file storage

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Today we released updates to our current block and file storage architecture—featuring quick and easy volume duplication (cloning) from existing volumes. (See no. 1 below.)

If you work in IT—whether in the largest of enterprises or the smallest of start-ups—you’re probably accountable for creating and executing a backup plan, transferring large amounts of data, and preserving business critical data assets in the midst of testing and refreshes. When that’s the case, the term “volume duplication” is, or rather should be, a keyword in your weekly and monthly production sprints.

What is volume duplication?

Volume duplication lets a user create a new, completely independent, duplicate volume of an existing block or file storage volume without stopping any host I/O activity or replication processes. This is accomplished using a point-in-time snapshot of the original volume to create the new volume. As part of the duplicate volume creation, the user can change the size of the new volume (larger than the existing volume) as well as the performance (IOPS). The process of creating a clone is completely non-disruptive, and can be attached to any virtual or bare metal server immediately after creation.

Why is volume duplication an IT guru’s best friend?

Refresh, refresh refresh

Have some heavy lifting updates to make? Make them offline. Many of our clients require the ability to clone their production data and mount the new volume to their non-production environments for testing and development. With volume duplication, your non-production environment can be located in either the same location as your production environment—or an alternate location (if the non-production environment is located in the target DR data center).

The golden template

Why spin up a completely new environment every single time if you don’t have to? Volume duplication lets you copy data from an existing environment and maintain an offline copy of data, which can then be used as a template for deploying multiple environments with the same file system requirements.

DR testing

Scheduled snapshots are replicated to an alternate data center so that data can be restored to a DR environment in the event of a disaster at the primary data center. Volume duplication supports DR test procedures by allowing you to mount volumes with a copy of the replicated data in the remote data center, while ensuring source volume replication and the original target volume stay in sync.

Restore and breath again

Volume duplication lets you restore from snapshots. Mount volumes are created from a snapshot to the same server, or an alternate server in some cases. You then copy the necessary data from the new volume to the production volume, as opposed to reverting the entire production volume back to the previous point-in-time snapshot.

Resize storage without manually moving data

This one is fairly simple. With volume duplication, you can move your data to another volume of a larger size or faster IOPS without manually copying data from one volume to another.

There is no fee for using the new volume duplication feature for Bluemix block and file storage. Clients are billed in the same manner as creating a new volume today from scratch.

The new volume duplication features on Bluemix block and file storage are currently available in upgraded IBM Cloud data centers with encrypted storage, including DAL09, DAL10, DAL12, DAL13, SJC03, WDC04, WDC06, WDC07, LON02, FRA02, AMS03, OSLO01, PAR01, SYD01, MEL01, TOR01, MON01, MEX01, TOK02 and HKG01 data centers.

Additional data center availability is coming in 2017.

What else is new with Bluemix block and file storage?

Here’s the full list:

  • Data-at-rest encryption: Protect your sensitive data with provider-managed industry standard protocols. (See no. 2)
  • Flash-backed storage: Block storage at 2 IOPS/GB or higher is Flash-backed for durability and size. (See no. 3)
  • Eighty-eight percent increase in IOPS max: Meet the most demanding I/O requirements with 48k IOPS—now available when provisioning with performance options. (See no. 4)
  • Granular volume sizes: Stop doubling your costs just to double your storage capacity. TB increments are now available when provisioning with both endurance and performance options (available in all data centers worldwide).
  • Snapshots and replication: Capture point-in-time snapshots and disperse for business continuity—now available when provisioning with Performance options. (See no. 5)

Now is the time to migrate if you have block and file storage in one or more of the upgraded data centers.


Legal disclaimers:
1. Volume duplication is currently available in DAL09, DAL10, DAL12, DAL13, SJC03, WDC04, WDC06, WDC07, LON02, FRA02, AMS03, OSLO01, PAR01, SYD01, MEL01, TOR01, MON01, MEX01, TOK02 and HKG01 data centers.
2. Encryption for data at rest is currently available in DAL09, DAL10, DAL12, DAL13, SJC03, WDC04, WDC06, WDC07, LON02, FRA02, AMS03, OSLO01, PAR01, SYD01, MEL01, TOR01, MON01, MEX01, TOK02 and HKG01 data centers. All encrypted file storage volumes provisioned in the select data centers have a different mount point than non-encrypted volumes. View the mount point information in the volume details page in the UI as well as access the correct mount point via an API call: SoftLayer_Network_Storage:getNetworkMountAddress() to ensure you are using the correct mount point for both your encrypted and non-encrypted file storage volumes.
3. Flash-backed storage is available with 2 IOPS/GB tier options and higher and is currently available in DAL09, DAL10, DAL12, DAL13, SJC03, WDC04, WDC06, WDC07, LON02, FRA02, AMS03, OSLO01, PAR01, SYD01, MEL01, TOR01, MON01, MEX01, TOK02 and HKG01 data centers.
4. 48,000 IOPS provisioned within performance options is currently available in DAL09, DAL10, DAL12, DAL13, SJC03, WDC04, WDC06, WDC07, LON02, FRA02, AMS03, OSLO01, PAR01, SYD01, MEL01, TOR01, MON01, MEX01, TOK02 and HKG01 data centers. 48,000 IOPS provisioned within endurance tiers is available in all data centers.
Snapshots and replication provisioned within performance options is currently available in DAL09, DAL10, DAL12, DAL13, SJC03, WDC04, WDC06, WDC07, LON02, FRA02, AMS03, OSLO01, PAR01, SYD01, MEL01, TOR01, MON01, MEX01, TOK02 and HKG01 data centers. Snapshots and replication provisioned within endurance tiers is available in all data centers.
5. Snapshots and replication provisioned within performance options is currently available in DAL09, DAL10, DAL12, DAL13, SJC03, WDC04, WDC06, WDC07, LON02, FRA02, AMS03, OSLO01, PAR01, SYD01, MEL01, TOR01, MON01, MEX01, TOK02 and HKG01 data centers. Snapshots and replication provisioned within endurance tiers is available in all data centers.

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