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  1. #1
    robertivey NNTP User

    Sentinel Network Storage over multiple Mount Points


    We have a Sentinel 7 instance that we are configuring using the virtual
    appliance. We will be using a SAN for network storage, but would like
    to break up the storage if possible. Is there any way of using multiple
    network locations for storage?


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    robertivey
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  2. #2
    ab NNTP User

    Re: Sentinel Network Storage over multiple Mount Points

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    Sentinel itself does not really care about the mountpoints of the system
    as long as it can write where it is going to try to write (and read
    where it wants to read) without errors. The tricky thing you've
    identified is somehow splitting up the data since all of the directories
    broken up for each day go in the same 'events' directory and there do
    not appear to be any ways of predicting the subdirectory names so you
    could do mounts or symlinks for those ahead of time.

    I'm sure there are things you could try like moving the data to another
    partition and using symbolic links to those partitions in order to get
    the data elsewhere, but if you're already using a SAN is there a reason
    you cannot have the SAN or OS handle the allocation of space for
    whatever? For example, assign space from LUN0 and LUN1 to the same
    "disk" which then is partitioned for use by Sentinel? Maybe if you can
    describe what you're trying to overcome with a bit more detail your
    concerns may be clearer to me (or others reading).

    Good luck.
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  3. #3
    robertivey NNTP User

    Re: Sentinel Network Storage over multiple Mount Points


    In short, we have a limitation on the SAN. When creating storage pools
    on the SAN, the storage must exist to add it to the pool on creation. A
    limitation in the IBM 5000 series SAN is that pools cannot be resized
    dynamically. This would not normally be an issue, but when things add
    up, we are looking at potentially needing quite a bit of space to store
    all data (500 EPS over 90 days is around 2.2 TB, depending on your
    average event size). Looking ahead, this can be problematic, because we
    want to thin provision the storage and add to it on an as needed basis.
    With the SAN volume pools maxing out at 2TB, if we ever need to go
    larger (we probably will within the first 3-6 months), this would
    require the use of multiple SAN volumes.

    My initial thought was to use Linux LVM to stitch together the
    individual volumes, but this seems a bit tedious and a slightly hacked
    method of accomplishing the task, especially considering we have a SAN
    that is breaking up the storage, exposing it separately to an OS, only
    to have it stitched right back together on the OS.

    We cannot get the storage pool allocated to the full size we (may) want
    it because we could be looking at a very large number, considering there
    will be hundreds of Cisco Firewalls, VPN concentrators, and domain
    controllers that will be pointed at this environment (one of the domain
    controllers is estimated to pump out 30 EPS in Security Audit logs alone
    - which we want to store). Because we can't get the storage all up
    front (must be thin provisioned then grown) we will not be able to use
    the raw mappings.

    We decided to use the NAS head side of the SAN to provide us with an
    NFS mount point for the volume. The NAS head can have its volumes span
    multiple pools and provide us with a single volume that can scale as
    large as we need. It can be thin provisioned, then grown on the NAS on
    an as needed basis as we scale up the EPS we are storing within
    Sentinel.

    On a side note, one other hurdle we found when investigating storage
    for the VMWare ESX environment is two big limitations with storage
    attached directly to the ESX Server. First, VMFS volumes have a 2 TB
    size limitation, so that will be your maximum amount (minus overhead)
    for space on a single volume if you attach the storage to vmware and
    have it present a VMDK file to the server. Second, RDM (raw device
    mapping) has limitations when trying to move the server between
    different vmware clusters for DR purposes.

    NFS seemed to be the way to go. It seems to work better than a raw
    device given to vmware because we are not limited to which cluster the
    vm runs on. We also remove our limitation for growing the volume, since
    we do not need all of the storage allocated into the storage pool that
    will ever be needed upon initially provisioning it. With the NFS route,
    we can grow the volume across multiple storage pools if required to
    obtain as much storage as we may need.


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  4. #4
    ab NNTP User

    Re: Sentinel Network Storage over multiple Mount Points

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    I've entered an enhancement for this in the future in the form of
    BugZilla entry 735790. For now I think LVM is probably your best
    option. I'm not sure how that is really different from having Sentinel
    point to multiple locations since in the end the endpoint is making up
    for the SAN's deficiency, but this could be a nice feature for a bunch
    of other reasons. NFS sounds like a good option for you as well.

    I cannot give any kind of ETA worth its weight in digital characters as
    it was just entered and needs to be prioritized with all of the other
    improvements being made, but hopefully it can be fit in by 7.1.

    Good luck.
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  5. #5
    Bob-O-Rama NNTP User

    Re: Sentinel Network Storage over multiple Mount Points


    Aaron,

    A complete hypothetical:

    You already have some divisions between the online, rawdata, and
    rawdata_archive arrangement. Since the rawdata & archive are zipped,
    they take up a lot less space than the online files. So perhaps that
    is good enough.

    The gibberish folder names are the event source UUIDs. Since data
    accumulates in the online folder tree, and -then- is moved to the
    rawdata and -then- rawdata archive folder, it should be possible to
    construct a script which looks for ..../online/UUID and then ensures
    there is a corresponding mount -o for that UUID which tossed the data to
    a number of storage areas. Alternatively, if Sentinel works with them,
    a symlink to stub the folder over to some other place you want.

    But you DO have a couple natural breaks, the online data, the processed
    raw data, and the "network" storage ( cough ). And since you have a
    "heads up" as to the UUID's ahead of time, you should be able to do
    something in a script, and cron it to manage things every 10 minutes to
    get well ahead of the hourly dredge Sentinel does.

    Also in the absence of using mount -o, if Sentinel works properly with
    the UUID folders being symlinks, then you can spray them all over any
    storage you like and it should happily "just work."

    But this sounds like a good enhancement request to allow it to work
    with multiple storage areas and hash the data between them or pick the
    one with the most free space.

    -- Bob


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  6. #6
    ab NNTP User

    Re: Sentinel Network Storage over multiple Mount Points

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    I created an entry in BugZilla within Bug# 735790. It links to this
    thread to provide a bit more background. Nice ideas, Bob.

    Good luck.
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