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Dell Compellent Server Instant Replay
Simplify server management

Dell Compellent Server Instant Replay

Overview:

As part of Dell Compellent Data Instant Replay license, Dell Compellent Server Instant Replay functionality gives you a complete boot from SAN solution that helps reduce capital costs, cuts administrative time and can increase server performance and availability. Making implementation seamless, the Dell Compellent Storage Center SAN provides management without server-based agents that would interfere with the server boot process. An intuitive wizard automates the entire process, allowing admins to provision or recover servers with just a few clicks.

Boot from SAN

Dell Compellent Server Instant Replay is a complete Boot from SAN solution that leverages space-efficient snapshots to simplify physical and virtual server management. Using boot images stored on the Storage Center SAN, network storage administrators can deploy, provision or recover servers in minutes. There is no need for full-volume clones or server-based agents that may interfere with the process. The enterprise storage software is also ideal for testing application upgrades and patches without risk.

How to Simplify Server Management with Instant Replays

  • Use boot from SAN technology to slash server costs while reducing server recovery time
  • Easily manage server images and upgrades, ensure disaster recovery and help reduce power and cooling costs
  • Automate the boot process, allowing you to provision and recover servers in just a few clicks
  • Included with Data Instant Replay License
  • Can lower first-year server costs by eliminating direct-attached drives
  • Reduce time to deploy, provision and recover servers from hours to minutes
  • Deploy dozens of virtual machines using the same base Replay
  • Easily implement a robust test environment; test upgrades and patches on real data without risk
  • Cut storage capacity requirements with space-efficient boot images
  • Reduce the time to deploy, provision and recover servers from 8 hours to less than 15 minutes
  • Eliminate wasted capacity and reduce power/cooling costs using space-efficient boot images stored on the SAN
  • Cut the costs of server hardware and on-site service agreements with diskless servers
  • Provision multiple VMs simultaneously using shared gold images and automatic LUN masking
  • Easily implement a robust test environment for upgrades and patches using real datasets
  • Replace or add new servers with minimal downtime

Key Benefits:

Complexity hinders traditional boot from SAN

Booting servers from a centrally stored image on the SAN instead of local disks can reduce server costs, increase administrative efficiencies, and simplify overall server management. But traditional systems make implementation unnecessarily complex, or don't support server boot at all. Most storage systems require server agents that interfere with the boot process, limit the number of servers that can Boot from the SAN and consume excess capacity with full copies of boot images.

Simple, complete boot from SAN

As part of Dell Compellent Data Instant Replay license, Dell Compellent Server Instant Replay functionality gives you a complete boot from SAN solution that helps reduce capital costs, cuts administrative time and can increase server performance and availability. Making implementation seamless, the Dell Compellent Storage Center SAN provides management without server-based agents that would interfere with the server boot process. An intuitive wizard automates the entire process, allowing admins to provision or recover servers with just a few clicks.

With Server Instant Replay, you can slash the cost of server hardware, management and on-site service contracts. Diskless servers reduce power and cooling and space-efficient boot images eliminate wasted capacity, helping you cut energy costs and storage costs. You can also save time—provision or recover a server in less than 15 minutes and map a boot volume in just a few clicks. Maintenance and recovery are also simplified—replace or add new servers with minimal downtime, boot servers faster from a centrally stored image and easily replicate boot images to speed recovery.

Cut server costs

Centralizing server boot images on a Dell Compellent SAN eliminates the need and associated costs for internal disks, enabling businesses to implement low-cost diskless or blade servers. And the cost savings extend beyond lowering the initial hardware investment. Eliminating internal server disks can also drastically cut power and cooling expenses and decrease the space needed for equipment. It can even allow you to reduce on-site server maintenance from 4 hours to a less expensive next-business-day replacement. Additionally, managing a boot image separately from server hardware can reduce administrative costs.

Dramatically reduce the cost of owning, operating and managing every server attached to your SAN
Dramatically reduce the cost of owning, operating and managing every server attached to your SAN

Minimize server management

An intuitive wizard can significantly reduce the time and effort required to deploy and provision servers. Admins of all levels are guided through the process of capturing, storing, replicating and recovering boot images, and no training or costly consulting engagement are required to implement Server Instant Replay. Deploying hundreds of servers with Server Instant Replay can take far less time compared to local setup or traditional boot from SAN processes. What's more, streamlining server provisioning and recovery cuts overall server management time and can increase your productivity. You can provision a new server or recover a server image in less than 15 minutes and create boot volumes in just six clicks. Plus, the first LUN is automatically set to LUN 0 for seamless operating system integration, and all software is included with Storage Center and managed from a single, centralized console.

Increased availability and performance

Server Instant Replay speeds server provisioning and restore capabilities to help minimize downtime and ensure application availability both locally and remotely. Seamless integration with Dell Compellent Remote Instant Replay allows you to easily replicate boot images across multiple locations, booting, or restoring a remote server in less than 15 minutes. In addition to reducing downtime, servers boot faster from the high-performance SAN drives instead of slower internal drives, helping to ensure near-immediate application availability. You can seamlessly integrate server virtualization software to store multiple servers on one physical box—all booting from the SAN.

Reduce wasted capacity

Server Instant Replay is fully integrated with space-efficient Dell Compellent Data Instant Replay snapshot technology to reduce the amount of overhead storage capacity required for every server that boots from the SAN. Each boot image is created by taking an intelligent Replay (snapshot) of the initial gold image, which includes pointers to the original volume rather than creating a copy of equal size. Admins can easily extend these SAN-based volumes for patches or OS updates. This allows you to cut overall storage capacity requirements; instead of consuming 30GB per boot image, Dell Compellent uses only 6GB. It also helps eliminate costly downtime by allowing you to create Replays on a schedule that meets your recovery objectives. In the event of OS corruption on the server, easily roll the OS back to a previous known point-in-time.

Streamline server testing

Traditional steps Time Compellent steps Time
Power up server 1 min. Power up server in rack 1 min.
Re-install OS 60 min. Point server to boot image 1 min.
Reboot server 2 min. Boot server 1 min.
Locate and install OS patches 120 min.    
Test OS and patches 60 min.    
Re-install application software 120 min.    
Test application software 60 min.    
Re-install server specific settings 30 min.    
Test server settings 30 min.    
Traditional Method: ~480 min. Server Instant Replay: 12 min.

By booting test servers from a centralized image, you can easily implement a robust and affordable test environment. Server Instant Replay allows the flexible use of multiple operating systems on a single server. In combination with Data Instant Replay, you can test upgrades and patches on real data without risk. This allows you to increase test environment productivity and cut hardware costs for testing. Easily test a VMware virtualized machine in the morning and a Linux server upgrade in the afternoon, all with the same server hardware. Or if you have a server that is functioning in an unexpected manner, simply give it a new bootable copy, but keep the malfunctioning copy for forensic testing, all while keeping the production environment up and running.

Space-efficient snapshots require minimal incremental space for each additional server boot image.
Space-efficient snapshots require minimal incremental space for each additional server boot image.

Technical Specifications:

Server Instant Replay Specifications
Architecture
Included with Data Instant Replay license Yes
Integration with Remote Instant Replay Yes
Integration with Dynamic Capacity Yes
Copy-on-write technology No, pointers to data only
Additional software required for Replays No
Maximum number of boot images Unlimited
Performance
Time required to create a Replay of a boot image Less than 5 seconds
Time required to mount a Replay As little as 5 seconds*
Time required to deploy, provision or recover new servers Less than 15 minutes
Server boot performance Boot volumes virtualized over a number of disk drives to increase performance when booting over the SAN
Management
Auto LUN set up Boot image set to LUN 0 for seamless OS integration
Automates the boot process Setup in as little as 6 clicks with step-by-step guides
Special training or consulting engagement Not required
Scripts to create boot volume Replays Not required
Scripts to mount boot volume Replays Not required
Scripts to recover boot volume Replays Not required
Server Environment
Server agent required No
Internal server disks required No
Volume recovery to any server Yes
Test application software across multiple operating systems Yes
*Operating System and operating system administrative tools will determine how fast a replay can be mounted.