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Storage Technologies

Firmware development

Firmware is an electronic storage component which contains specific software instructions. It contains software instructions for the specific purpose for which it is made. It is a tangible component. It is stored in non-volatile memory and is permanently present, i.e. it is not erasable from the device.Firmware is present in all electronic devices with specific functions and most electronic devices made for a general purpose.

In electronic devices with specific functions like digital watches, microwaves, the firmware installed stores the code which is executed on operation of the device.

In electronic devices like CD –ROM’s and usb storage devices, the firmware stores the information about the devices which on detection by an operating system interacts with it and makes sure the operating system is ready to use its functions.

In personal computers, the Basic Input Output System (BIOS) is firmware which is situated on the mainboard of the PC. It contains instructions that detects hardware installed and ensures that the booting process is done correctly. It also contains instructions that help modify the device’s configuration through software.

Automobiles also have firmware which helps check that the automobile is in good condition and that it has no mechanical problems.

The read-only instructions on the firmware of a device cannot be modified directly by users but can be modified electronically.

As a part of storage firmware, CIT team has strong expertise in subsystems like :
    ▪ Transport protocols (FC, SAS and iSCSI).
    ▪ Host interface drivers.
    ▪ Snapshot and Replication services.
    ▪ Cache.
    ▪ RAID
    ▪ Disk Drivers
    ▪ High Availability.

Storage software

Data storage is critical to organizations that have huge levels of date that they cannot afford to lose. Such data need not be visible on a daily basis but can be retrieved as and when required. Storage software enables organizations store their data safely and retrieve when required.

Storage software is typically self-storage and allows company to store their data on their own or by vendors. What this means in simple terms is move your content to a storage space that is secure and retrievable anytime.

Storage software makes it possible for organizations with a huge data to drastically lower management overheads. This paves the way for fast deployment of next generation scale out storage techniques.

We at CIT ensure you of a simplified, extendable and open platform for all your data storage needs by abstracting resources to deliver automated, policy driven storage services on demand. Our storage software is an effective enterprise feature all out to deliver the performance expected of any capable software storage. Our dedicated services are based on simple and effective methods of storage i.e. computing, networking and management.

Some of the POCs handled by CIT :
• Storage Resource Manager to manage, monitor and provision of storage resources.
• Framework for SCSI compliance tool to validate HDDs and SSDs.
• Disk drive firmware download application

Storage management

Managing and monitoring storage appliances and provide services to end user through:

    ▪ SMI-S
    ▪ SNMP
    ▪ WBI
    ▪ CLI
    ▪ Telnet
    ▪ FTP

Storage Virtualization

Virtualization is used in storage to enable better functionality and more advanced features in computer data storage systems. Storage systems usually have special hardware along with disk drives to ensure fast and reliable storage for clients' data.

Storage virtualization is collection of data from multiple storage devices, even different types of storage devices, into what appears to be a single device that is managed from a single point of control. Virtualization is generally used in archiving backup which enables faster and easier recovery. This is frequently used in Storage Area Network (SAN).

There are two primary types of storage virtualization:

Block Virtualization: In this type of virtualization, there is a separation of logical storage from physical storage. This type of separation allows more flexibility in how an administrator manages storage for end users.

File Virtualization: In file virtualization there is no dependency of data accessed at file level and the location of files physical storage. This allows maximizing storage usage and performing file migrations without corruption.

Benefits of Virtualization:
    ▪ Non-disruptive data migration
    ▪ Improved utilization
    ▪ Fewer points of management

CIT capabilities:
    ▪ Thin provisioning
    ▪ Automated-Tiering
    ▪ Software RAID and LVM

SSD

CIT has dedicated team worked on SSD technologies like:

    ▪ FTL
    ▪ Wear levelling algorithms etc..,
    ▪ SCSI/SAS Protocol Compliance Validation test suite development for SSD.
    ▪ Defining, implementation and execution of Compliance and functional test cases for SSD.
    ▪ Error injection and data integrity tests using Lecroy and JDSU xgig analyzers.
    ▪ Host HBA Driver Validation
    ▪ Performance tests using OakGate
    ▪ Host side SSD management tools development and validation
    ▪ SATA/SAS FW Development & White box Test Development

Protocols

SCSI: It is short for small computer system interface. It is a protocol used for managing peripherals like hard disks and tape drives. It can provide a data transfer rate of up to 80 MB/s (Megabytes per second). A separate SCSI controller contains the SCSI port on the mainboard.

ATA: It is short for Advanced Technology Attachment. It is an interface standard that has evolved through the years to accommodate higher transfer speeds. ATA drives have the controller on the drive itself and not on the mainboard, thus providing more flexibility for drive makers. It is also known as IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) and many iterations of ATA such as SATA have been made to keep up with speed requirements.

SATA: It is short for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment. It is an evolution of the ATA standard with improvements. It is a bus interface for connecting hard drives, solid state drives and so on. The latest SATA 3 standard supports data transfer rate of up to 600 MBps (megabytes/second). Ports of this interface are found on most general-purpose motherboards.

CIT has hands on experience on storage connectivity protocols like:
    ▪ FC, FCOE.
    ▪ SCSI, SAS, iSCSI etc..,

Software Defined Storage - SDS

Software-defined storage encompasses a form of storage virtualization that demarcates the storage hardware from the software that manages the storage infrastructure.

Projects handled by CIT on SDS:
• Automation/Scalability: APIs provided by CIT allows the user to specify the requirements so that storage can be automatically provisioned when the storage goes out-of-space.
• Standard Interfaces: Integrated ZFS, GlusterFS, Ceph into cloud environment and provided APIs for all of these to provision the Cloud storage. Using the APIs provided by CIT, storage owner can create pools and change the characteristics of storage like de-duplication, snapshots, replication in ZFS which is integrated into cloud.

Data Protection & Recovery

We deal with data Protection and Recovery mechanisms like:

    ▪ Snapshot
    ▪ Volume Copy/mirror
    ▪ Remote Replication
    ▪ Archival and Backups etc...

Enclosure management

We deal with management of non-SCSI devices in storage enclosure like:

    ▪ Power supplies
    ▪ Fans
    ▪ Displays
    ▪ Indicator LEDs
    ▪ Sensors - Temperature, Current and Voltage sensors
    ▪ Board bring up 12G SAS All Flash Array.
    ▪ New feature development for 6G/12G SAS All Flash Array
        • Persistent logging , Unsupported Firmware upgrade protection
        • SES page implementation, Manufacturing scripts and staple
    ▪ Sustenance of 6G SAS All Flash array.

File Systems

CIT worked extensively on file systems like

    ▪ ZFS
    ▪ LUSTRE
    ▪ GlusterFS
    ▪ XFS
    ▪ NFS
    ▪ CIFS and FAT32 etc...