Adding a storage area network (SAN) to your computing environment doesn't need to be a harrowing experience. We show you how.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

August 24, 2005

4 Min Read

An example

For this example we will walk through the setup and installation of an HP StorageWorks Modular Smart Array 1000. The MSA 1000 is a rack-mounted housing with dual power supplies, internal dual SCSI controllers, 14 hot swappable drive bays, and a fibre-channel connector. Also included in the kit are two fibre-channel adapters, an eight-port SAN switch, and cables. In other words, everything necessary to install a SAN and connect it to two servers.

HP's MSA1000 kit includes all the components necessary to set up a SAN for a small business, but you will need to purchase the drives separately.

Step #1: Plan the configuration

Determine how much drive capacity you need and purchase the drives to support the capacity and the RAID configuration needed. The drives for the MSA 1000 will typically be SCSI Ultra 320 for high performance. Other configuration factors include the server configuration, physical location, and power supplies and power sources (to support the redundant power supplies). The MSA 1000 includes a detailed yet simple configuration guide. Use whatever documentation your SAN vendor supplies, and record your configuration in detail before you start the installation process.

Step #2: Prepare the server

Update the operating system with the most current patches and updates. It is critical that the server is working properly before installing the host bus adapter (HBA) and the SAN management software.

Step #3: Install the HBA

Install the fibre-channel HBA card in each of your servers. This is similar to installing a SCSI card. Be sure to use the driver supplied by the SAN manufacturer, which may be different from what is supplied by the HBA manufacturer.

Step #4: Prepare your switch or hub

Most SANs connect through a switch in much the same way an Ethernet LAN connects its components. The MSA 1000 includes an eight-port switch. Set your switch up according to the manufacturer's instructions. For this installation, one fibre-channel cable will connect the SAN array to the switch and the other two fibre-channel cables will connect the switch to the HBAs in the servers. When it's necessary to expand your SAN, you can connect more SAN arrays and more servers to the same switch based on the number of ports in the switch, and add more switches as necessary.

Step #5: Install the SAN in the rack

Once all the optional components that may require accessing the top or rear of the unit have been physically installed, mount the SAN in your equipment rack. Once the housing is mounted, install the hard drive units in the drive bays as you have previously designated during the planning phase. At the same time, mount your switch.

Step #6: Cables

Connect your power cables to the power supplies and backup units, then connect the fibre-channel cables between the SAN, switch, and computers. Follow the design layout you created during the planning phase.

Step #7: Power up the devices

The physical installation is now complete. Turn on the power to each of the units (SAN, switch, and server). Monitor the various status displays on each device according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once all the devices have successfully come online it is time to configure the SAN.

Step #8: Configure the SAN

During your planning session you designated one of the servers as the management console. Install the manufacturer's configuration and management application. Use the configuration application to define the RAID configuration and partitions for the drives in the SAN according to the plan you defined during the planning phase.

Once your SAN has been configured, it is available as a storage device attached to the server or servers connected to it. Storage capacity can now be added without taking your servers off line, by simply adding drives to the SAN cabinet. Additional servers can be added to your network, and they can access the applications and data on the SAN, or can access separate partitions as necessary.

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