Are you challenged with systems that don't scale?

Do your operations folks spend a majority of their time reactively? Or fighting those hardware issues that should be easier?

Are you unable to implement improvements to your processes because your hardware infrastructure won't 'allow' it?

Do you have availability challenges?

Do you have ad-hoc or legacy systems creating headaches for you?

TeraDBA Consultings Systems Design specialists design solutions based on real-life implementation experience gained in the field. As such we are able to offer an advanced level of practical experience along with an in-depth understanding of the various options available. Consultation, design and implementation of a solution is always backed by an in-depth evaluation of your needs and a tailored presentation and design paper outlining the design and implementation options.

Some of the key areas to be considered when evaluating and designing a systems solution for your needs are:

Consolidation and standardization are not just buzz words in today's environment.. Many companies have projects currently running right now to consolidate and standardize. Many companies have plans in place to start consolidating and standardizing their environments. Do you? Do you know where to start? Let TeraDBA assist you with the systems design in this major cost saving exercise - we have the experience, and know what needs to be done, and how to get it done.

Are your new hardware purchases still high cost, high end machines? How does the business feel about that? Most IT organizations are challenged with proving their 'business value' to the organization as a whole. But, if the business knew that your Systems Strategy was building-block, low incremental cost, commodity hardware they would feel a whole lot more comfortable with each incremental spend, as and when required. Imagine the business in partnership with IT, knowing that IT had a clear, value-added strategy - you can build this partnership - let us help you get there.

We can help you put together that Systems Design that incorporates your requirements and still delivers availability, reliability, scalability at a fraction of the costs you are probably paying now. TeraDBA will help you deliver value to the business !!

High availability

One of the prime objectives of technical architectures in today's business critical environments is to eliminate any single point of failure within the data processing chain. Whether the chain involves computational processing or serving data across networks, they all rely on data movement between systems that may be geographically dispersed. The challenge is to ensure the availability and integrity of this data movement against failure within the technology infrastructure. This availability must be accomplished within a framework that is scalable, manageable and cost effective.

TeraDBA Consultings' System Design specialists are able to offer expertise in the deployment of solutions that protect business critical data against failures at all levels from the physical media level to a catastrophic failure of the data center. Some of the core capabilities of our team are the understanding of how to ensure high availability (HA) using redundant components at different levels of the solution depending on your specific requirements. Some of the considerations applied to systems design follow:

TeraDBA consultants have the knowledge and experience to design and implement highly available, robust solutions that will meet your requirements. Call us to discuss the various ways we can help you in moving forward with adding value to the business by providing sound, stable, scalable systems. Let's work together to create your 'Rock Solid, yet Agile, systems' !!

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Disaster Recovery

One of the prime objectives of technical architectures in today's business critical environments is the ability to recover business operations in the event of the loss of your key compute resources. TeraDBA Consultants have extensive experience in all facets of disaster recovery. One disaster recovery solution is diagrammatically represented below:

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Application and Integration

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Archiving and Near-line Storage

Information is the backbone of every organization, an asset that can and should be leveraged to gain a significant competitive edge. Protecting past and present data and ensuring that there is always access to it, is one of the most important challenges every organization faces, both from a technology perspective and our current regulated environment perspective. In most, if not all, market segments there is the need for information management services and technology that allows extended data archiving, retention and retrieval, whether for audits, legal protection, data reprocessing or to provide intelligent insight into business activity.

TeraDBA Consultings' Systems Design specialists are able to offer expertise to address these mission critical business requirements. The following technical core competencies are provided:

We consider two approaches to data management:

Data archiving: The process of taking a "snapshot" of a file or a series of files as they reside on primary media (disk) at a given point in time. Archiving is normally performed for related files or data associated with specific projects. The image of the snapshot typically is stored on removable media, often tape or optical disk. Archiving provides an extra level of protection for a company's mission-critical data. An important benefit of archiving is that once the snapshot is safely stored in removable media, the original files can be deleted from primary storage, thus freeing up disk space.

The following points cover the main requirements that archiving solutions must satisfy:

Near Line Storage: Provides data available within a short amount of time, but not instantly. Tape and disk libraries are considered near line devices, because it takes several seconds to retrieve the appropriate cartridge before it can be read. The primary goal in implementing a near-line strategy is to preserve drive space while at the same time providing network users with seemingly infinite storage capacity. However, end users seldom have control over which files get migrated; system administrators and system managers typically specify this.

The following points cover the main requirements that the proposed near line solution must satisfy:

A key part of the near-line storage product family is Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) systems. HSM software constantly monitors hard disk capacity and moves data from one storage level to the next, based on age, category and other criteria, as specified by the network or system administrator. HSM systems often include facilities for routine backup.

To work efficiently HSM products must maintain a meta data repository containing information about the off-line files, in this way they differ from Unix file systems where no such meta data repository is required. As a file is moved off the hard disk it is replaced with a small stub file that indicates where the original file was located. This meta data repository is often augmented with an online disk cache which provides a dynamic staging area between disk and off-line storage.

TeraDBA Consultings' Systems Design specialists provide core competencies in the following major archiving and near line storage solutions. Ongoing research of the various technology options will increase the list of supported solutions - just call and ask if we have experience in the area you are looking at!

Software Technologies

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Storage Area Networks (SAN)

A storage area network (SAN) is a dedicated, centrally managed, secure information infrastructure, which enables any-to-any interconnection of servers and storage systems.

Some of the key benefits of SAN's are:

One of the SAN implementations TeraDBA Consultings System Design specialists participated in was to design and implement a highly flexible and available SAN, connecting 60 server class machines (from 4 CPU machines up to 12 CPU machines, as well as 16 CPU clusters) serving over 80Tb of disk storage. The backup solution consisted of 200 DLT tape drives spread across 15 tape libraries as well as a 500Tb archiving solution.

Some of the tasks involved in this SAN project included:

SAN Design: The SAN designed was based on Brocade switches, the total port count within the SAN was 640 and the number of ports for host or storage connections was 384 ports. The SAN was truly redundant and each storage sub system was reachable from any given host via at least two paths. To take advantage of the SAN's features the system design for the server hosts had to change. "Multipathing" on the host level was enabled to guarantee storage availability, so storage could be reached across different independent paths. The San's operating system feature, "zoning", was used to separate hosts from storage thus providing both security and data integrity.

SAN Implementation: This phase included building the SAN infrastructure. Even more importantly, documenting the SAN with tools from the networking world to detail device connectivity within the SAN.

Storage Migration into the SAN:
Legacy systems based on SCSI attached storage were migrated into the SAN. Legacy systems were based on fiber attached storage, but built as islands, and were seamlessly migrated into the SAN. The entire disk farm was consolidated to form a highly distributed environment with a centralized backup and archive solution.

SAN Operation: The most important phase in the SAN project was the tasks of making the SAN operationally ready and taking advantage of the SAN's capabilities. No integrated utilities existed when the SAN was implemented. So the major task in the project phase was to come up with an integrated monitoring and management solution. The entire SAN operations were handed over to an operations team, this included a comprehensive training and familiarization phase.

Communication: In order to make the most effective use of the SAN's features, detailed communication was required between the SAN (implementation), SAN (operations) and applications groups.

Integration: It was essential to know the I/O bandwidth and throughput requirements for the different applications running across the SAN to ensure that it satisfied the performance and availability requirements that were outlined in the technical architecture document. The major applications implemented were Oracle databases, Sybase Servers and NFS servers.

TeraDBA Consultings' System Design specialists have that real-world experience that your company needs to ensure that your SAN solution is designed to meet your needs. Don't remain 'stuck' with being unable to expand that application, or lose real purchasing power by buying small size storage because your systems architecture doesn't allow for expansion and to be able to scale with the business - start responding now with a fully redundant, expandable solution for your storage needs. Call us with your requirements today.....

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Databases and how it relates to System Design

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