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Building a Flexible AdvancedTCA Solution with iSCSI Boot

 

Astute Networks and Alliance Systems have partnered to build a “stateless” AdvancedTCA server solution using Alliance Systems’ leading AdvancedTCA servers, Intel technology, and Astute Networks’ Caspian 10 Gb iSCSI Storage Blades with remote iSCSI boot. The roles of AdvancedTCA systems are more demanding with an increased variety of applications, operating systems and server processors running in a single chassis. The ability to rapidly deploy, manage, repurpose and upgrade systems for new or changing applications is a growing challenge for NEPs and Telcos. There are several advantages of creating a “stateless” server model using Astute Networks’ iSCSI boot to meet these challenges.

Alliance Systems’ Stateless AdvancedTCA Server

The stateless server is a simple concept. On a stateless server there is no disk or flash drive to hold the “state” (OS, applications, data) of the server. Upon boot up the state of the server is loaded on the server from a centralized and/or remote source. This enables the server to be dynamically allocated without the need to re-build applications, install operating systems or migrate data. Alliance is a leader in building stateless AdvancedTCA servers, leveraging Intel technology, to improve flexibility and reduce operating costs and management overhead.

Caspian 10 Gb iSCSI Storage Blade

Astute Network’s Caspian Storage Blade, built with Intel® embedded processors, is the first 10 Gb iSCSI storage solution for AdvancedTCA. It is designed to provide iSCSI boot services for diskless and stateless server environments. Caspian’s iSCSI boot support allows NEPs and Telcos to centralize their storage across all servers. They can now store a single set of OS boot images and applications files that can be shared over all servers in a chassis or across chassis. Centralizing storage reduces management overhead, capital cost, power consumption and improves recovery time, server deployment time and systems availability compared to Direct Attached Storage (DAS) on CPU blades.

Key Benefits

    • Light weight virtualization for real-time and embedded systems

    • Maintains hard real-time performance guarantees

    • Provides maximum system throughput

    • Lower costs and improves time to market by re-using existing software.

    • Lower bill of materials by providing increased functionality with less hardware.

     

Supported Hardware Architectures

VLX supports a variety of 32-bit/64-bit, single and multi-core processors, including Intel® multi-core architecture with Intel® Virtualization Technology.

Supported Operating Systems

VLX scalable OS supports a wide range of in-house, and commercial real-time operating systems and rich operating systems, such as Linux.

High Performance Virtualization

The VLX virtualization software manages processor(s), hardware devices and memory across two or more operating systems. At initialization time, VLX allocates system resources either exclusively to one operating system or virtualizes them so they can be shared between operating systems. Exclusively owned resources use the operating system’s native drivers; shared resources use simple virtual drivers. Regardless of how resources are partitioned, applications run unchanged on their respective operating systems.

 

Key Benefits of iSCSI Boot and Stateless Servers

 

    • Diskless Servers – Diskless servers supported by Caspian storage blades lower the cost and power consumption of AdvancedTCA systems. Caspian’s use of 10 Gb iSCSI enables high-performance, high-availability shared storage.

    • Centralize OS and Application Images – iSCSI boot enables the use of centralized OS and application images. This makes management upgrades and control of servers faster and easier. Even in environments with multiple OS images, the centralized approach is less complex. The same is true for AdvancedTCA applications running on server blades.

    • Rapid Deployment and Re-Purposing of Servers – One of the key benefits of stateless servers and iSCSI boot is rapid deployment and re-purposing of servers. iSCSI boot provides a central boot image that allows servers to be added with no build up time. Simply point the new server toward the right boot and application LUNs and they are up and running. For existing servers changing OS or applications is also just as easy.

    • Rapid Deployment and Re-Purposing of Servers – One of the key benefits of stateless servers and iSCSI boot is rapid deployment and re-purposing of servers. iSCSI boot provides a central boot image that allows servers to be added with no build up time. Simply point the new server toward the right boot and application LUNs and they are up and running. For existing servers changing OS or applications is also just as easy.

    • No Data Migration Required – The centralized and shared storage of Caspian eliminates the need to migrate data after adding or repurposing a new server. Simply re-map the LUN from the centralized SNMP console and the new server is ready to use existing data.

    •Less Cost/Subscriber – It costs less to support subscribers with stateless servers and iSCSI boot. Combined with the increased 10 Gb bandwidth of the Alliance AdvancedTCA chassis and Caspian storage blades, moving from DAS to external centralized storage blades increases the number of servers per rack and lowers the cost of storage. These savings and the ability to support more subscribers in the same footprint can reduce the cost per subscriber up to 50%.

    •Reduces Management Overhead – Stateless servers implementing iSCSI boot with Caspian reduce management overhead. Centralizing storage reduces the number of OS instances and applications that need to be managed. Additonally, Caspian’s storage model is centrally managed via SNMP unlike external Fibre Channel storage.

    •Improved Availability and Field Service – Centralizing storage on Caspian’s shared storage blades allows NEPs and Telcos to reduce the number of disk drives in the chassis, which improves availability by reducing electromechanical devices in the field. Second, the use of centralized storage allows for rapid remote re-deployment to hot spares in the chassis without data migration. Finally, iSCSI boot can lower FRU and service costs. Since fewer HDDs can fail there will be fewer service calls to replace failed drives.

     

     

Develop an iSCSI Boot Solution Today!

Alliance Systems designs, integrates, and supports any AdvancedTCA open-standards components. With a custom solutions approach focused on combining best-of-breed technology with design and integration services, Alliance delivers superior solutions that meet each customer’s specific needs.

Alliance’s broad range of partners ensures a comprehensive offering and a significant pool of engineering resources to collaborate on each solution. And, our commitment to the technology guarantees a strong product roadmap based on our vendor’s offerings as well as our own line of high-availability platforms.

 

Contact Information

Alliance Systems

800.977.1010

www.alliancesystems.com