SAN Boot

Call me a geek, but I think SAN (Storage Area Network) Booting is probably one of the coolest things there is. I’ve been working with it a lot lately, and the more I work with it, the more I like it…especially on NetApp storage! For those of you not familiar with SAN’s, it’s basically booting your computer off of a NetApp filer. That’s right….no hard drive is needed in your computer. What’s so cool about that? Think about it…you can load an operating system on a NetApp filer in Germany and boot off of it in the USA over iSCSI. Now, you probably wouldn’t want to do that, because the speed would be terrible right now…but the fact that you can is amazing. What’s even cooler is being able to use ndmp, Snapshots, etc. on the filer to further the reliability, scalability, etc.. If you boot off of the filer, all of your data is constantly backed up via NetApp Snapshot Technology. With Snapshots, you can backup and restore all of your data in an emergency situation in seconds. Seriously, Snapshots typically take less than one second to create and can be scheduled. What about ndmp? Well, I’ve been doing some experimenting…I have 2 clustered filers, one running Data ONTAP 7.0.3, and the other cluster runs Data ONTAP 7.1rc4. Well, after I boot off of the cluster running 7.0.3…what if I want to boot off of the other cluster? I simply ran ‘ndmpcopy -sa user:pwd -da user:pwd /vol/vol1 filer2:/vol/vol1’ and all of my data was copied to the other cluster in 2 minutes. Then, I just changed the HBA settings to see the other filer, and bam….booted Windows Server 2003 from the other cluster.

[tags]netapp, ontap, san, sanboot, boot, iscsi, snapshot, ndmp[/tags]

James Burke
Frisco, TX