Intel IT’s Data Center Server Storage Strategy

We optimized our overall server storage strategy around the key metrics of: reliability, availability, performance, and scalability. Achieving results in these areas increases efficiency and reduces capital and operational costs. We are challenged with managing 25 petabytes (PB) of primary and backup storage in our design computing, office, and enterprise environments that is growing at an average of 35% YoY.  A variety of factors will stimulate future growth such as: the increasing complexity of silicon designs to continue to deliver on the promise of Moore's law, the growth of enterprise transactions, cross-site data sharing and collaboration, regulatory and legal compliance, and the ongoing need for retention.

Our storage landscape is mapped to multiple computing areas: silicon design, office, manufacturing, and enterprise. We choose storage and backup and recovery solutions based on the application use models for these respective areas:

  • Design computing:  Our silicon design computing primarily relies on network attached storage (NAS) for file-based data sharing. In addition to NAS, we use parallel storage for our high-performance computing (HPC) needs. We have more than 8 PB of NAS storage capacity and 1 PB of parallel storage in our design computing environment. We use slightly less than 1 PB of storage area network (SAN) storage in design computing, primarily to serve database and post-silicon validation needs.
  • Office, Enterprise, and Manufacturing:  We rely primarily on SAN storage for block-level data sharing, with more than 8 PB of capacity. Limited NAS storage is used for file-based data sharing. For both NAS and SAN, storage is served in a three-level tier model (Tiers 1, 2, and 3) based on required performance, reliability, availability, and cost of various solutions offered in respective areas.
  • Backup, archive, and restore:  Backup, archive, and restore are major operations used in data management. We use both disk and tapes for our backups. Tapes are used for archive functions to facilitate long-term offsite data storing for disaster recovery. The tapes remain offline, which saves significant energy and offers a cost-effective solution. Our disk-based backups serve specific needs whenever faster backup and recovery are required. Our virtual tape library serves the disk-to-disk backup for faster backup and recovery needs, especially in the office and enterprise computing areas.

I'd love to hear your server storage challenges and how you are addressing them.