Enterprise File Sharing Service Options (Technical Details)

Service Options | Storage Features | Storage Options

 

Service Options

When you purchase this service, the following technologies may be included depending on your agreement with UIS.

Snapshots

Permits the storage system to make available copies of data at a particular point in time.  

The storage system takes a "snapshot" of the data, and makes it available for a specific period of time (we utilize a schedule that creates hourly snaps between 7 AM and 8 PM which are available for 24 hours, and daily snaps at midnight that are available for 30 days).  

In the case of our storage system, whenever data is changed, both the old and new (changed) data blocks are held until all snapshots referencing the old blocks expire.  It is important to note that all the data blocks are held on the same storage system.  

Although snap technology greatly reduces Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) for unwanted data changes, it isn't a 100% complete backup technology since there isn't a second copy of the data, nor is there an off site copy of the data.

Replication

Permits the storage system to copy all data to a second storage system, typically located off site, at regular intervals.  The replication technology we utilize tracks and copies only changed data blocks.  Replication occurs multiple times daily, so in the unlikely event we need to utilize the off site copy, RPO and RTO are greatly lower than with traditional daily backups.  Replication alone is also not a replacement for backup technology since replication alone (that is, without snap technology) is a single point-in-time copy of the data.

Through the use of both these technologies -- snap and replication -- we are able to offer 30 days of snapshots with replication of all data (current point-in-time plus 30 days of snaps) to an off site location.

Maximum size of snapshots: The snapshots reside on the storage system along with the current version of your data, and therefore requires storage resources.  For all Enhanced Enterprise File Sharing (E-EFS) storage services, an additional 20% is allocated and reserved to hold these snapshots, though at no additional cost to the client.  Clients that anticipate a very high rate of change of data (20%/month) and fully utilize the entire size of their E-EFS resource may not have access to 30 days of snapshots.  In such a situation, traditional backup services may be purchased.

Backups

Backups vs. Snapshots & Replication: We've switched from performing traditional backups, where incremental backups are performed daily with full backups performed bi-weekly, to utilizing snapshot and replication technologies to accomplish the same goals: protecting your data for up to 30 days.

The use of traditional backup technologies required considerable resources that affected other Enhanced Enterprise File Sharing (E-EFS) clients in the form of slower access times. They also required additional storage, licenses and logistical support.

Quotas

Raw vs. Usable Storage: We've changed the method utilized to compute quotas.  Previously, we provided "raw" storage, so determining how much space was necessary was a fairly complex process that required an understanding of how well your data de-duplicated (how much space could be saved because of duplicated blocks of data) and the rate of change of your data (how much extra space was required to store 30 days of snapshots).  

We now provide "usable" storage, so the new method is simple -- the space requirement is what's reported by your operating system.  In addition to the storage space you request, we now allocate an additional 20% at no additional cost, which is reserved for snapshots. 

Faster turn-around time to reuse space from deleted files: One of the added benefits to changing the method for computing quotas is that disk space that is made available from deleting files is almost always immediately available for reuse. Previously, this disk space was unavailable for 30 days, further complicating the proper quota space planning. 

Other Implications from full Quota: Previously, fully utilizing the quota of Enhanced Enterprise File Sharing (E-EFS) storage services could cause backup, replication and de-duplication services to fail. The new method prevents this from happening.

 

Storage Features 

UIS Enterprise Storage includes some of the following features:

Cache-based I/O

Protected cache used for all I/O operations, providing a higher throughput and advanced data protection options. 

Snapshots

Local copies of data used for an added layer of data protection against accidental deletion or data corruption. 

Remoter Mirroring

Remote copies of data shipped off-site to our disaster recovery data center. 

 

Storage Options

SAN 
(Storage Area Network)

For applications with the highest performance requirements. 

NAS 
(Network Attached Storage)

Easily scalable solution