January 31st, 2020            Click here to download the PDF file

Perfect Solution with Accusys Storage and Mac Pro

To categorize Accusys Storages by connection interface, they can be roughly divided into two product lines: Thunderbolt and ExaSAN. The former uses the latest Thunderbolt 3 technology and can be directly connected to Mac; the latter is based on PCIe 3.0 technology and can be connected to PC. In the past, if Mac users wanted to use the ExaSAN series, they would need a C2M converter to convert the interface from PCIe to Thunderbolt. Without the converter, the choice of storage devices is often limited by the differences in interfaces. However, the launch of the latest Mac Pro solves this problem.

Mac Pro is one of the best choices for professional video editing users, especially for tasks like animating 3D film assets, compositing 8K scenes, and building lifelike gaming environments. At the heart of the system is an Intel Xeon processor with up to 28 cores — the most ever in a Mac. Created to transform the workflow for film and video professionals, Afterburner allows you to go straight from camera to timeline and work natively with 4K and even 8K files from the start. No more time-consuming transcoding, storage overhead, or errors during output*. For the fans of Accusys storage, a crucial point here is that Mac Pro is equipped with 8 PCIe expansion slots. In addition to using Thunderbolt Storage directly, using the ExaSAN series will no longer require a converter.

Take A16S3-PS and MAX 24 of the ExaSAN series as examples. The A16S3-PS is a 16-bay rackmount storage device that is PCIe SAN (Storage Area Network) ready, while MAX 24 is a 24-bay DAS (Direct Attached Storage) model designed for 8K colorists. Both can be connected to Mac Pro's PCIe slot through QSFP cable to provide excellent performance: A16S3-PS’ read and write speeds can reach up to 2500MB/s, and Max 24 can reach nearly 3800MB/s and exceed 4800MB/s for write and read speeds respectively. With the release of Mac Pro, users can now experience the dazzling performance of ExaSAN first-hand. Are you also a Mac user? Come join us and experience the perfect solution with Accusys Storage and Mac Pro!

*Extracted from Apple Official Website https://www.apple.com/mac-pro/.

Case Study: HA-AP Appliance in a Large Cigarette Factory in China -- Part 1 of 3


In the newsletter of November 2019, we discussed the importance of maintaining the storage system availability. Starting from this issue, we will present a real case study in three consecutive installments to demonstrate how we use the HA-AP Appliance to help customers solve data center problems, and build a highly available storage system to achieve the goal of business continuity.

The Customer

Our case subject is a cigarette factory located in a well-known historical city in China. Founded in the middle of the 20th century, the cigarette factory is an affiliation of a large tobacco group. With about 2,000 employees, fixed assets valued at more than 10 billion RMB, and multiple brands of cigarette in production, it is one of the core processing companies of the tobacco group. (To protect its privacy, our customer has requested that we write this story under a disguised name. We honor that request and will simply refer to it as CSCF, short for Case Study Cigarette Factory.)

Since IT has gradually become the foundation of business operations, CSCF has adopted a solid scientific approach in improving product quality, work environment, occupational health safety, and standardized management systems; propelling it towards more scientized, standardized and disciplined operation management along the way. As parts of this vigorous effort in making technological progresses, it has introduced new tobacco shredding production lines, built efficient logistics systems, improved energy consumption, and strengthened production quality control; all based on advanced informatization technologies.

To date, CSCF has established a 3-tier intelligent management model, with ERP (Enterprise Resources Planning) system on top for decision-making, MES (Manufacturing Execution System) system in the middle for production control, and the actual facilities and production lines at the bottom. In turn, CSCF has made dramatic strides in elevating delicacy processing, digital control and flexible manufacturing.

The Challenge: Guaranteeing Zero-downtime Business Continuity and Data Protection

The CSCF data center is crucial to its manufacturing management, which supports all business systems such as ERP, MES, and intelligent management; meanwhile, data integrity plays a critical role as the core foundation of the data center. In order to protect data integrity and maintain business continuity, the CSCF technical team needs help with mature, advanced, safe, and reliable hardware/software products to build a total solution.

The old data center had several deficiencies such as low resource utilization, high maintenance cost, complex operation and maintenance, and higher-than-desirable risks in interrupting business continuity. To solve these problems, the technical team adopted advanced technologies such as high-speed storages, VMware virtualization cluster, mirrored active-active data, and a fully redundant architecture to guarantee the integrity and availability of core data. The result is a scalable, high-performance, efficient, and easy-to-manage storage solution for the new data center, with guaranteed zero-downtime "7x24" business continuity and data protection.

The guaranteed reliability of mission-critical core information systems must be addressed at all levels of the data center including application, host, network and storage. In a traditional architecture, the configuration of redundant SAN switches guarantees availability of physical links of network; the VMware cluster software and virtualization technology on hosts ensures the availability and continuity of the business layer. However, should the storage equipment be irreversibly damaged, the entire application system would be interrupted, and data might even be permanently lost in the worst situation; this could mean irreparable loss for the business. Eliminating the possibility of business downtime due to any single point of failure of the storage equipment was one of the key goals of the new data center.

After a series of research and comparison, the technical team finally decided on the HA-AP high-availability storage architecture for ensuring the availability of storage system. Why did they choose HA-AP high-availability storage architecture? How does HA-AP high-availability storage architecture guarantee data protection and business continuity? Please see our next issue of newsletter for details.