BGDSAN replaces VA and XP arrays

Advanced storage options for Legacy HP3000s and HP9000s with replication and tape-less backups

Why is Beechglen replacing VA and XP arrays with custom SANs?

While MPE and HP-UX servers and applications are extremely reliable and continue producing value, VA74xx and original XP/Hitachi arrays are prone to failures and are a risk to business continuity. Additionally, the size of the disks are insufficient and replacement parts are no longer manufactured. In fact, replacement drives are neither new nor refurbished; they’re USED replacements and it’s simply a matter of time before the drives and their replacements fail, putting data in danger.

Beechglen has developed the BGDSAN designed specifically for Legacy Server compatibility, integration, and reliability. BGDSANs are built on industry-standard hardware that is readily available, using current generation disk drives or SSDs. BGDSANs are configured and customized to each client’s needs. Our Managed Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) model allows replacement of each existing SAN with a new SAN featuring new disks, with no capital investment. Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) is a regular service charge including all hardware, software and administration support along with tape-less backups!

The VA and XP arrays have been good workhorses for many years. Why should I consider replacing them?

Most users recognize disk failures occur at a higher rate as hardware ages. The parts used to replace these failures are not new nor refurbished, but used drives that have just not failed yet. Additionally, both VA and XP arrays require costly hardware support compared to the BGDSAN. Our Managed Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) solution is typically comparable in cost to your existing hardware support contract and includes so much more in terms of reliability, performance, flexibility, and peace of mind. BGDSANs are built using HP hardware and brand new disk drives.

 

“I think it’s the best thing since sliced bread – we’ve had absolutely no problems (with) it and I’d say it’s 5/10 times faster than what we had.”   Jerry Nairn – Ecometry System Administrator – Schneiders

 


My VA and XP arrays use SCSI disks which are antiquated and becoming more unreliable every day. We avoid shutting down and powering down the SAN just in case they will not spin back up. What does Beechglen use in their BGDSANs?

It’s true that many disks will continue spinning forever – provided they never stop spinning. Over the years we’ve seen countless disks powered down for planned maintenance that doesn’t spin back up. More often that’s because the bearings cool off and seize the motor, or the bearings are warped from years of running hot resulting in disks that just cannot come back to operational speed after a complete stoppage. Beechglen builds arrays with NEW disks (SATA, SAS or SSD disks) based upon the performance requirements. Each type has its own performance characteristics and it’s not uncommon to see a mixture of types in our BGDSANs based upon the configuration requirements. This allows us to better match cost with criticality – i.e. we can configure production on higher performance disks and backups on alternatives. Our depth of experience designing BGDSANs allows us to maximize capacity and performance at the best cost.

“Being a user of the BGDSAN, what is the best thing about it, “That I never have to think about it!”, always goes never falters and never crosses my mind that anything is wrong. Great hardware!”  Peter Clark – Mitek USA

Why is there no Capital investment required to start BGDSAN Managed Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS)?

Our Managed Storage-as-a-Service is a convenient solution to providing a flexible storage package that changes as our customers evolve in both capacity and performance. As our customers upgrade, so do our BGDSANs to match. Why purchase an expensive SAN that takes years to depreciate when you can choose a BGDSAN at an inexpensive cost that meets your needs now and in the future no matter how those needs may change.

What are the support costs of the BGDSAN? Our XP array has consumables that are not covered under the hardware service agreement – like batteries. What is not in covered with a BGDSAN?

Beechglen includes all hardware maintenance in the Managed Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) agreement. With newer hardware and new disks, we’re able to keep the hardware support costs low for 7×24 support. It’s true that XP arrays have consumables – like batteries – that customers are on the hook for on top of regular maintenance charges. The BGDSAN does not come with any consumables for the end user to worry about paying the unanticipated expense. Under the Managed Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) solution, Beechglen manages all aspects of the SAN under this service, including hardware support at your location. We provide remote administration of the SAN according to your instructions and provide daily health check emails and alerts.

 

“One word……………….. AMAZING.” Richard Caunt – General Manager Rimmer Bros. Lincoln England

How does Beechglen prove that the BGDSAN is a better solution for us?

Most companies will allow you to bring your software to their facility and, under a very controlled environment, will benchmark your operations on their SANs. Beechglen has a 30-day Proof of Concept (POC) whereby anytime in the first 30 days if your performance is not better to what you had, return the unit undamaged and owe nothing. Benchmark the ability of our BGDSAN at your location using your server and your software in a real-world test.

Why do so many storage vendors only offer new SANs that cost $60k or more for legacy servers?

Because as the owner of a legacy server you aren’t their demographic. Large vendors are not in the habit of building and marketing to older hardware. “Upgrade! Upgrade!” is the typical pitch. New sales drive the large storage vendors, not support revenue. Some companies make their new hardware backward compatible, but that should raise flags as it means the devices weren’t made or designed specifically with the older hardware in mind. Disk drives are becoming larger and cheaper every year so manufacturers are creating newer, larger and more expensive alternatives for their state of the art customers that continue to buy the latest and greatest hardware. Beechglen offers a no capital cost BGDSANs customized to the needs in both size and performance for each client and tailored to legacy platforms. Using our Managed Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) model we can upgrade either disk size or performance requirements and keep the cost low at any time. Beechglen uses new disk drives for better reliability for legacy servers to create the best performance and reliability for our clients.

 

“…Aside from the performance improvement, we also saved floor space by removing one ton of former array hardware and 30 square feet of floor space. Beechglen’s BGDSAN array only took two units of space on an existing rack. We also achieved a power savings from two, 2-inch thick cables of single phase 220V 30A power. And also the heat, since we eliminated over 100K BTUs per hour, our dual computer room cooling system does not have to struggle so hard…” Tracy Johnson – TE Connectivity *

Is there an upgrade path for the BGDSAN?

The VA and XP array have limited upgrades currently as they are getting old. Which disk drives can you put into them? Are they still being manufactured? Are licenses still available for different options? The BGDSAN under the Managed Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) always gives the customer options. We can upgrade your BGDSAN as your company grows without the added capital expense. Tell us what you need and we will make it happen, even if it means building an entirely new BGDSAN to meet your needs.

My VA and XP Arrays have replication software whereby we can synchronize data between multiple locations. Is data replication available on the BGDSAN?

Yes! BGDSANs have replication capabilities. Replication software on VA and XP arrays requires the purchase of a license that limits the amount of data that can be replicated from one SAN to another. Licenses were expensive when the SANs were new and almost impossible to find on older SANs. The manufacturers are not motivated to sell a license on an old SAN when they have new SANs and licenses to sell.

Beechglen offers synchronous replication alternative for no licensing fee. We can replicate to multiple BGDSANs at the same time. Our asynchronous replication does require licensing but is broken down to a monthly fee and included in our monthly service charge. No upfront capital investment is required to purchase this service. Discount pricing is available for long-term commitments to asynchronous communication usage.

 

“…This has certainly taken a great deal of worry off our shoulders not to mention not having to deal with lugging tapes offsite. In my opinion, the BGDSAN solution is a fantastic option for those choosing to use the dependable HP3000/N4000 series servers. We definitely feel more confident about the security & reliability of our data.” Mychael Caquelin – Director of IT – Unilens Corp **

 

Currently we are doing Host replication of our SAN, how does this compare to the SAN replication you offer on your BGDSAN with Managed Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS)?

Host replication vs SAN replication is the topic of many discussions and there are numerous articles covering the topic. Database or file system replication has its place. But, consider on legacy servers anything that places more load on the operating system and CPU resources of the server is not acceptable. BGDSANs offload the overhead of data replication from the host machine. The BGDSAN with synchronous mode provides data replication AND an increase in I/O performance, ensuring data replication is being done correctly at no cost to the performance of the server.

Contact Beechglen for more information to see our BGDSAN is right for your company. No up-front
costs and reasonable monthly fees may be the answer to reducing the risk of continuing to run on
legacy HP3000 and HP9000 computers.
info@beechglen.com or Lancem@beechglen.com

 

Full Customer Quotes:

*Our site installed Beechglen’s BGDSAN array which is built within HP ProLiant hardware, using a mix of SSD and standard spinner disc. Beechglen’s array provided our HP3000 server a 30% performance improvement over our previous disc array. Both the former and new arrays were connected via to the HP on the same Fiber Channel cards, so any comparison of throughput along the I/O channel is apt. Aside from the performance improvement, we also saved floor space by removing one ton of former array hardware and 30 square feet of floor space. Beechglen’s BGDSAN array only took two units of space on an existing rack. We also achieved power savings from two, 2-inch thick cables of single phase 220V 30A power. And also the heat, since we eliminated over 100K BTUs per hour, our dual computer room cooling system does not have to struggle so hard.We use the SSD portion of its LUN configuration for our software that uses Turbo/Image databases due to heavy I/O. We use the spinner LUNs for our disc to disc backup Volume_Set, since the I/O there is mostly write once during backup, read once during copy to tape and maybe a “read sometime”, in the case of a restore from disc backup.But wait, there’s more.To fulfill our Disaster Recovery (DR) plan, Beechglen’s BGDSAN array is also replicated over the network at a remote site in another state. Which came with it the same savings of eliminating the previous array at the DR site. Tracy Johnson – TE Connectivity

**“With the aging hardware of the HP3000/N4000 class servers our biggest concern was hard drive availability as well as dependability. With not many options to choose from we reached out to Beechglen and they had a solution with their BGDSAN’s, new hardware in proven technology. Since about April of 2013 we have been a client of Beechglen using the BGDSAN’s. In about 2015-2016 we decided to take advantage of the full suite Beechglen had to offer with Triplestore, Hot Site & Offsite Backups. We are now protected with a production & backup BGDSAN, in addition to a Hot Site HP that is available within hours upon our request, and backups that are managed by Beechglen and securely transferred offsite nightly. This has certainly taken a great deal of worry off our shoulders not to mention not having to deal with lugging tapes offsite. In my opinion, the BGDSAN solution is a fantastic option for those choosing to use the dependable HP3000/N4000 series servers. We definitely feel more confident about the security & reliability of our data.” Mychael Caquelin – Director of IT – Unilens Corp, USA – A division of Bausch & Lomb