Storage UPDATE, August 5, 2002

Tom Clark discusses some Quality of Service features that are evolving for SANs. Also, get news about the new Tape Technology Council and the industry's support of Microsoft Systems Architecture.

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(below COMMENTARY)


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August 5, 2002—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

  • Quality of Service for SANs

2. NEWS AND VIEWS

  • Storage Manufacturers Form Tape Technology Council
  • Storage Industry Companies Support Microsoft-Led Effort

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Jobstor.com
  • Get a Free Digital or Print Sample Issue Today!

4. INSTANT POLL

  • Results of Previous Poll: Your Enterprise Storage Capacity
  • New Instant Poll: Storage Resource Management (SRM)

5. RESOURCES

  • Storage Highlight: Ensuring Database Recoverability
  • Submit Top Product Ideas

6. NEW AND IMPROVED

  • Protect Your Data
  • Prepare for Disaster Recovery

7. CONTACT US

  • See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

1. COMMENTARY
(contributed by Tom Clark, Storage UPDATE Contributing Editor, [email protected])

  • QUALITY OF SERVICE FOR SANS

  • Over the past 10 years, developers have put enormous engineering effort into developing stable and highly reliable Storage Area Network (SAN) infrastructures. SAN development has emphasized resolving gigabit-transport technical challenges, host and storage SAN interface designs, and high-performance switch functionality. The underlying SAN infrastructure is clearly a prerequisite for supporting enhanced auxiliary services; however, the development of SAN management, security, and Quality of Service (QoS) features has trailed behind the deployment of storage networks. As a result, customers are now demanding better services to support their SANs, and the industry is scrambling to satisfy them. The Common Information Model (CIM) management initiative, for example, promises to provide a common framework that will let users manage SANs and storage resources from one console. Initiative groups and vendors must still address other services, such as security and QoS mechanisms for storage data.

    QoS is an umbrella concept that includes acknowledging delivery and prioritizing different types of data for movement through the network (commonly referred to as Class of Service—CoS), guaranteed bandwidth through the network, and expedited data delivery from source to destination. Within a SAN, for example, online transaction processing (OLTP) data should take priority over less time-critical applications such as tape backup.

    The QoS options available in current Fibre Channel SANs include Classes of Service that establish dedicated bandwidth and different levels of delivery acknowledgement. Class 1 service, for example, creates a dedicated link between source and destination, ensuring that no other traffic interrupts the conversation. Class 1 service supports acknowledgment, so a transaction's sending party can verify receipt. Class 2 service also supports acknowledgement, but doesn't require a dedicated connection through the fabric. Class 3 service is both unacknowledged and connectionless—and so provides no delivery guarantees. Nevertheless, Class 3 is the most commonly used Class of Service in Fibre Channel SANs. Why? Because Class 3 service imposes the least transaction overhead and therefore provides the highest performance. (Class 3 service, however, does rely on upper-layer protocols for recovery if frames are dropped because of congestion in the fabric.)

    With Fibre Channel Classes of Service, you still can't identify and prioritize one type of storage traffic over another. No matter what priority users might place on their data, all data traversing the fabric is equal. Therefore, organizations often allocate a dedicated SAN island for each mission-critical and time-sensitive business application (and create separate SANs for backup and other less critical applications). Although this approach doesn't make the most efficient use of SAN technology, customers currently make this trade-off for lack of better QoS mechanisms.

    Some promising approaches to QoS are evolving, however. For example, converting Fibre Channel-originated data into IP storage protocols lets SANs use QoS features originally devised for messaging traffic. Ethernet offers IEEE 802.1q traffic prioritization and Differentiated Services (DiffServ) options for flagging data streams with priority levels. For IP switches and routers, Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) or Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP) can establish prioritized service and delivery guarantees through the network. Heterogeneous SANs with both Fibre Channel and IP components can thus supplement Fibre Channel Classes of Service and help users leverage large SANs that support a variety of applications concurrently.

    Combining Fibre Channel and IP storage architectures can give customers additional tools for enforcing QoS in SANs. The ability to expedite delivery of mission-critical storage data, establish priority levels for different applications, and shape bandwidth to accommodate storage transactions lets customers maximize the return on their SAN investment and increases the end-user value of SAN technology.


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    2. NEWS AND VIEWS
    (contributed by Keith Furman, [email protected])

  • STORAGE MANUFACTURERS FORM TAPE TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL

  • Nine data-storage manufacturers have formed a new organization called the Tape Technology Council. The council's mission is to support tape storage as a key option for data backup. As the price of storage has decreased over the years, companies have begun to evaluate using devices other than tape for backup. The council will raise awareness about tape technology to help data-storage manufacturers combat the developing competition.

    The Tape Technology Council will provide education, training, and information about tape storage technologies to users, resellers, and industry analysts; explain how tape technologies compare with other options; and educate end users about the tape storage technology market. Founding members are the EMTEC Group, Fujifilm, IBM, Imation, Maxell Corporation of America (MCA), Quantum, Seagate Removable Storage Solutions (RSS), Sony, and StorageTek.
    http://www.tapecouncil.org

  • STORAGE INDUSTRY COMPANIES SUPPORT MICROSOFT-LED EFFORT

  • Microsoft has launched an industry initiative to develop architecture guides for Internet and corporate data centers. The initiative is part of a new Microsoft Systems Architecture (MSA) program. Several storage companies, including Brocade, EMC, and Emulex, as well as other companies in the industry, including Avanade, Dell, Nortel Networks, and Unisys, support the initiative.

    The initiative has already produced the first two of a series of MSA Prescriptive Architecture Guides (PAGs), "Internet Blueprint for the Microsoft Systems Architecture" and "Internet Blueprint Plus for the Microsoft Systems Architecture." In the coming months, the initiative expects to release additional guides that will present information about tested solutions for enterprise customers who deploy data centers built on the Windows 2000 Server platform. The guides will include information about server and storage consolidation and migration to the latest technologies. The vendors provide resources and information about their participation at the Web sites listed below.
    http://www.microsoft.com/systemsarchitecture

    http://www.avanade.com/msa

    http://www.brocade.com/msa

    http://www.dell.com/msa

    http://www.emc.com/msa

    http://www.emulex.com

    http://www.nortelnetworks.com

    http://www.unisys.com/datacenter/msa

    3. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • JOBSTOR.COM

  • Jobstor.com is the only online job board for the data storage industry. Jobstor.com provides a resourceful exchange between data storage professionals and employers. Finally, the storage community has an effective way to match employment opportunities with talent. A resume on any other job board just gets lost in the mix. Visit:
    http://www.jobstor.com?wnm

  • GET A FREE DIGITAL OR PRINT SAMPLE ISSUE TODAY!

  • SQL Server Magazine is the premiere independent resource for SQL Server database solutions—packed with hands-on, how-to articles to keep your database running at peak performance. This technical handbook is now available in two convenient formats. Select your free digital or print sample issue at:
    http://www.sqlmag.com/sub.cfm?code=sfei212hdu

    4. INSTANT POLL

  • RESULTS OF PREVIOUS POLL: YOUR ENTERPRISE STORAGE CAPACITY

  • The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's Storage Admin Channel nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "How much storage capacity does your enterprise have?" Here are the results (+/-2 percent) from the 153 votes:
    • 25% Less than 500GB
    • 20% 500GB to less than 1TB
    • 29% 1TB to 10TB
    • 26% More than 10TB

  • NEW INSTANT POLL: STORAGE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT (SRM)

  • The next Instant Poll question is, "Do you use Storage Resource Management (SRM) applications?" Go to the Storage Admin Channel home page and submit your vote for a) Yes, in conjunction with a Storage Area Network (SAN), b) Yes, in conjunction with storage virtualization, c) Yes, but not with a SAN or virtualization, or d) No.
    http://www.storagadmin.com

    5. RESOURCES

  • STORAGE HIGHLIGHT: ENSURING DATABASE RECOVERABILITY

  • Each month, the Storage Admin channel highlights several articles about important storage topics such as backup and recovery, storage-related hardware and software, and application-specific storage. This week, take a look at Michael Otey's "The Data Is Job One." Michael discusses your role in safeguarding your organization's most important asset: data.
    http://www.storageadmin.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=24969

  • SUBMIT TOP PRODUCT IDEAS

  • Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected]

    6. NEW AND IMPROVED
    (contributed by Carolyn Mader, [email protected])

  • PROTECT YOUR DATA

  • OnlineBackupCenter.com announced services that can protect small-business owners’ data by using technology used in large enterprise data centers. You visit OnlineBackupCenter.com and download its software. You then receive a username that will let your computer communicate with backup servers at OnlineBackupCenter.com. Service plans start at 500MB, which costs $9.95 monthly. Contact OnlineBackupCenter.com at 253-912-0733.
    http://www.onlinebackupcenter.com

  • PREPARE FOR DISASTER RECOVERY

  • NuView and Network Appliance (NetApp) announced a relationship to provide an integrated disaster-recovery solution. The combination of NuView StorageX software, NetApp filers, and NetApp SnapMirror software lets you have near-continuous data access and multisite failover capabilities. The joint solution can help you prepare for and manage disaster recovery. For pricing, contact either NuView or Network Appliance at 281-497-0620 or 408-822-6000, respectively.
    http://www.nuview.com
    http://www.netapp.com

    7. CONTACT US
    Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

    (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)

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