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September 16, 2002—In this issue:
- SAN Solutions
2. NEWS AND VIEWS
- HP Continues Storage Partnerships with New Hitachi Agreement
- Microsoft Releases Storage Software, Buys Storage Security Company
- Real-World Tips and Solutions Here for You
- New! News, Tips, and More to Keep Your Network Humming
4. INSTANT POLL
- Results of Previous Poll: Storage Resource Management (SRM)
- New Instant Poll: Win.NET Server 2003 Storage Features
- Storage Highlight: Recovering from Catastrophe
- Submit Top Product Ideas
6. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Add Storage to Your LAN
- Purchase Storage For Your Image-Intensive Environment
7. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(contributed by Guest Columnist Ed Roth, [email protected])
Storage Area Networks (SANs) are gaining acceptance at an astounding rate as a solution for organizations that are experiencing explosive storage growth. A SAN consolidates your storage for easier storage management and better use of storage resources. A SAN will allow for scalability as you add more hosts and more storage and minimizes the downtime associated with those activities compared with a Direct Attached Storage (DAS) environment. A SAN environment can increase backup performance by offloading traffic from your IP network and freeing your host's processor from packaging the backup data for IP transmission. You can also take advantage of a SAN's any-to-any connectivity to implement redundancy and disaster tolerance both locally and across long distances.
Because SANs are similar to other network technologies you've probably worked with, you can draw some comparisons to bring yourself up to speed on SAN components and how they operate together. The various pieces fall into three categories: interconnecting devices, storage devices, and hosts. Interconnecting devices include hubs, switches, bridges, and routers. Storage devices range from Just a Bunch of Disks (JBOD) to highly redundant and intelligent RAID enclosures that scale to meet the needs of the largest enterprises. Hosts are the computers that attach to the SAN through a host bus adapter (HBA), which is akin to a NIC in a typical data network.
Deploying Fibre Channel switches in a SAN offers the same performance and manageability benefits as deploying switches in an Ethernet environment. Fibre Channel bridges and routers perform functions similar to their data-networking counterparts, enabling Fibre Channel connectivity to SCSI, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), and even Ethernet across long distances.
A wide range of SAN storage choices are available to fit different applications. On the low end, JBODs provide the most raw storage for the least amount of money. You can use native or third-party volume-management tools to implement software RAID on the disks in the JBOD enclosure, but Fibre Channel RAID enclosures offer more robust solutions along with better availability and manageability. Typical RAID enclosures include redundant core components and built-in management facilities.
Each host uses an HBA to connect to the storage devices in a SAN.
Technically, legacy SCSI controllers are HBAs that connect the host to
a SCSI device; HBAs on a SAN perform the same service in letting a
host attach to Fibre Channel devices. HBAs process block-level I/O
without relying on the host's CPU, thus minimizing the CPU and bus
utilization I/O burden on the host. You can install multiple HBAs in a
host to achieve redundant data paths and improve availability. In "SAN
Solutions," which appeared in the September 2002 issue of Windows &
.NET Magazine, I look at some SAN components and implement them as a
fictional company, Datahogs, to show how a SAN can benefit your
organization. To see the entire article, click on the URL below.
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2. NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Keith Furman, [email protected])
Following similar deals this summer with IBM and EMC, Hewlett-Packard (HP) has announced an agreement with Hitachi: The two companies will cross-license storage APIs that will enable their storage-management software to manage each other's products. The agreement will add support to HP's OpenView Storage Area Management (SAN) software to let it manage Hitachi Freedom Storage Lightning 9900 and 9900 V Series and Thunder 9200 Series storage arrays. Hitachi's HiCommand Management framework will gain support to manage the HP StorageWorks XP and VA disk arrays, HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA), and HP StorageWorks Enterprise Modular Array (EMA) storage systems.
According to the two companies, the agreement is a step toward the
standards-based storage-management initiatives currently evolving in
the industry. According to Mark Sorenson, vice president, Storage
Software Division, HP Network Storage Solutions, "The knowledge HP is
gaining through integrating API technologies from Hitachi, Ltd. and
other companies into a common software management platform will be
used to assist the industry in making Bluefin and \[Storage management
Initiative\] SMI a reality."
Microsoft announced new Multipath I/O technology, which the company will include in future versions of Windows and many storage vendors will support. Multipath I/O enables systems to access storage systems through multiple paths, such as multiple Fibre Channel connections. Multipath I/O will let storage vendors use Windows to deliver solutions with fault tolerance and load balancing. EMC currently makes a similar product called PowerPath.
Microsoft will support the technology in Windows 2000 Server and the upcoming Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) 2003. The following companies will also support Multipath I/O: 3PARdata, Agilent Technologies, Egenera, EMC, Emulex, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Hitachi, LSI Logic Storage Systems, Maranti Networks, NEC, Network Appliance (NetApp), oPoet, PolyServe, QLogic, Rhapsody Networks, Seagate Technology, Stratus Technologies Bermuda, Unisys, VERITAS Software, Vicom Systems, and XIOtech.
Microsoft also announced the acquisition of XDegrees, a security
software developer. The Mountain View, California, company develops
products to secure data access across computer and storage systems
installed in large companies. Microsoft plans to use XDegrees'
technology in future file systems to help strengthen Windows' support
for advanced data storage.
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Networking UPDATE brings you the how-to tips and news you need to implement and maintain a rock-solid networking infrastructure. We'll explore interoperability solutions, hardware (including servers, routers, and switches), network architecture, network management, network security, installation technology, network training, and WAN disaster recovery. Subscribe (at no cost!) at
4. INSTANT POLL
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's Storage Admin Channel nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Do you use Storage Resource Management (SRM) applications?" Here are the results (+/-2 percent) from the 33 votes:
- 21% Yes, in conjunction with a Storage Area Network (SAN) - 03% Yes, in conjunction with storage virtualization - 06% Yes, but not with a SAN or virtualization - 70% No
The next Instant Poll question is, "How likely are you to use the upcoming storage capabilities in Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) 2003?" Go to the Storage Admin Channel home page and submit your vote for a) Very likely, b) Somewhat likely, c) Unlikely, d) Absolutely uninterested, or e) Undecided.
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 David Chernicoff's "Stop Disaster in Its Tracks." David discusses the importance of disaster recovery in the event of a catastrophe.
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])
Raidtec released the SNAZ E6, an addition to Raidtec's Network Attached Storage (NAS) family of file server appliances. The SNAZ E6 is a high-performance Gigabit Ethernet file server that supports Windows, UNIX, and Linux client PCs on a LAN. The appliance is available in 960GB, 720GB, or 480GB storage capacities. For pricing, contact Raidtec at 770-664-6066.
JMR Electronics announced the FORTRA Desktop 6-Bay, a Fibre Channel storage solution device measuring 11" x 7" x 12" that can provide up to 876GB of storage. Optimized for image-intensive, high-bandwidth digital-media environments, the FORTRA Desktop 6-Bay costs $1998. Contact JMR Electronics at 818-739-1125.
7. CONTACT US
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