SUSE Enterprise Storage: A Best Practice Guide | SUSE Communities

SUSE Enterprise Storage: A Best Practice Guide


Storage is exploding

With the release of SUSE Enterprise Storage 6, we thought we’d revisit some of the basics of software-defined storage — like what it is, where to start, and what to expect once implemented.

From the SUSECON Session, SUSE Enterprise Storage: A Best Practice Guide, this post is a quick summary of best practices from requirements to implementation.

Why  SUSE Enterprise Storage?

First things first. What exactly is SUSE Enterprise Storage? Very simply, it is an intelligent software-defined storage solution, powered by Ceph technology, which enables you to transform your enterprise storage infrastructure.

You can take any server, install the software and consume the storage behind it. And because it is based on Ceph technology,you get all the functionality Ceph provides, such as unified block, object and file storage, thin provisioning, erasure coding and cache tiering. It is self-healing and self-managing so when a problem occurs, it will take care itself.

Sounds pretty great, right?

Let’s Get Started

Before getting started, let’s make sure you’ve got the basic requirements covered. Since this is not an “off the shelf” storage solution, you’ll need to combine several things to be successful in your deployment.

Your checklist includes:

  • Hardware – Not cloud or virtual storage space
    • Independent Hardware Vendor, SUSE partners with a number of IHVs, including SuperMicro, HPE, Fujitsu, Lenovo, and Dell. To find a complete list of our IHV partners, click here.
    • YES Certified Partner. Learn more about YES certification here.
  • Software
    • SUSE Enterprise Storage
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server – High Availability
  • Knowledge base for implementation planning
    • SUSE Global Services (offerings for both pre and post-sales consulting) or Partner Services
      • for architecture and to buy the right hardware
      • for the initial implementation
    • Support
      • 24/7 in case of issues (SUSE Enterprise Storage is backed by SUSE Support)
      • Maintenance and proactive support
        • SUSE Select which is the perfect combination of proactive maintenance and support, knowledge transfer, and implementation
      • Scale, upgrade, review and fix


Implementation Specific Requirements

There are also implementation specific requirements that you’ll need to know that will ensure you get the right solution to suit your particular use case.

  • I/O Workload: Bandwidth, Latency, IOPS, Read vs Write
  • Access Protocols: RBD, S3/Swift, iSCSI, CephFS, NFS, SMB
  • Availability: Replication Size, Data-Centers
  • Capacity Requirements / Expected Data Growth
  • Budget
  • Processes


Once you have the requirements in place, you can move on to planning and sizing.

  • What kind of storage devices do you need?
  • How many disks?
  • What are your bandwidth expectations?


You will also need to consider network and server needs.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

You’ve got your planning and sizing set, you’ve got all the right hardware and software ready to go – now it’s time for deployment. What’s the saying for carpentry, “measure twice, cut once?” The same is true here. You’ll want to make some additional hardware preparations before you start.

  • Review the Design
    • Depending on the requirements, adjust before implementation
  • Hardware Installation
    • Ensure that hardware installation and cabling is correct
    • Update Firmware
    • Adjust Firmware / BIOS settings
  • Disable everything not required (i.e., serial ports, network boot, power saving)
  • Configure Hardware date/time
  • Preparation of Time Synchronization
    • Have a fault-tolerant time provider group
  • Name Resolution
    • Ensure that all server addresses have different names
    • Add all addresses to DNS with forward and reverse lookup
    • Ensure that DNS is fault tolerant
    • /etc/HOSTNAME must be the name in the public network


Just like with the hardware, you’ll need to make sure all is right with your software. You have to have some sort of software staging in your environment. And, it is very important that all your servers have the same patch level.

Well-planned staging will help you with that. You should also have a software management tool in place (e.g. Subscription Management Toolkit, SUSE Manager, Remote Method Invocation (RMI)).

Operating System Requirements

SUSE recommends BTRFS for the Operating System. You will also want to disable your firewall and set the CPU governor to performance. Server installation should be fully automated as much as possible to make sure all servers are installed 100% identical. After the installation, Configure Management will help check to see if all servers are configured the same.

Finally, you’ll want to verify your infrastructure and begin testing. Testing is critical to implementation. This is where you will find any last minute tweaks or errors that need to be fixed before going live. Do not skip testing!

Congratulations! Testing is complete, you followed best practices and your clusters are happily humming along with your shiny new SUSE Enterprise Storage solution.

Ready To Get Started?

If the benefits of SUSE Enterprise Storage sound good but the implementation seem overwhelming, SUSE Global Services has your back.  Whether you just need a fast start offering like SUSE Start or a more proactive consulting and maintenance offering like SUSE Select, we’ve got consultants who have the experience to ensure you get a rapid return on investment.  Because software without implementation is just shelfware.

Watch the video from SUSECON ’19 below; a PDF presentation can be found here.

Note:  Blog written from SUSECON 2019 Presentation by Martin Weiss, Senior Architect Infrastructure Solutions/SUSE Consulting and Mark Gonnelly, Senior Architect Infrastructure Solutions/SUSE Consulting


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No comments yet

Avatar photo
Stacey Miller Stacey is a Principal Product Marketing Manager at SUSE. With more than 25 years in the high-tech industry, Stacey has a wide breadth of technical marketing expertise.