Since spring 2010, the Windows network file service (Lincoln) has been running on the newly acquired NetApp storage system in the University data center. This move (from traditional Windows file servers) has provided the campus several tangible service improvements: minimal service interruption, faster access to data, the ability for users to recover deleted files, and perhaps most importantly, the replication of data to the campus’ alternate data center in the Management Services Center.
On the evening of December 28, 2010, ITS conducted a test that moved the production file service, normally running in the University data center, to the alternate data center using the replicated data. The switch-over took approximately fifteen minutes after which Lincoln file services ran from the MSC data center. Other than the fifteen minute interruption in service, the transition was transparent to users. The following day, the file service was moved back to the data center.
While the fail-over test may have appeared to the users as a relative non-event, it allowed ITS to confirm NetApp’s ability to quickly move the campus file service from one site to another – thereby providing redundancy for campus data stored the network. If there were a catastrophic event in the University data center that affected the Windows network file service, we now know that we will be able to recover and sustain network file services with a minimal loss of data.
Brian Tischler, Eric Dombroski, Brian Heaton and Grant Harders were involved in the initial implementation and fail-over testing of the NetApp storage system.