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Making NAS work with the 3000

Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a powerful enterprise resource, full of value now that disk prices have plummeted. At the GHRUG International Technology Conference, Alan Yeo of ScreenJet shared his secrets for making NAS an HP 3000 tool.

"Like most HP 3000 shops we were looking for a cheap way to [store many gigabytes of data] — and there was no way we could afford a DLT," he said. Digital Linear Tape boasts massive capacities, but most storage these days is going straight to another disk.

Yeo said that fundamentally, the method to include NAS as an option is to create STORE to Disk files, "and then FTP those STORE files up to the NAS device. A simple half-terabyte (500 GB) RAID-1 NAS device is the equivalent of 40 12-GB DDS tape drives."

It's a little unsettling to learn how much HP 3000 backups still go onto DDS tapes. Even the DLT tapes are a pain to handle, Yeo added.

You need enough free disk space on your HP 3000 to do the STORE to Disk files, Yeo explained. "If you haven't got 50 percent free disk space and you're doing a complete backup in one hit, you're going to have a problem," he said.

STORE to Disk speeds are not significantly slower than STORE to tapes. One way to speed up the process is to have a few separate volume sets for these STOREs, sets that are two or more high-speed spindles. HP's got disks today which spin up to 15,000 RPM. Third party disks work with HP 3000s, too, in case HP hasn't got a certified product for your MPE/iX server.

FTP bandwidth can be a bottleneck for some older HP 3000s, sometimes as slow as 10 megabits per second. "You may have a protracted FTP process to your NAS device," Yeo said.

Using NAS is not a substitute for having a good SLT tape for your system in case of disaster. Yeo added that doing an @[email protected] backup onto the same SLT tape, "so you'll have everything you need when you bring the box back up to get the networking started."

Devices available for HP 3000 NAS use? The Buffalo Linkstation Pro worked in one of Yeo's client projects, and the device starts at $650 and goes up for 1-4 TB. Another choice is the Infrant ReadyNAS at the same price point. Shop online.

It may seem crazy to be ordering HP 3000 storage devices from Amazon.com. But so much has changed for the HP 3000 customer, and some of the change opens up new opportunities to save money and make your server even more efficient.