Light Reading
The first application of optical networking to benefit users * SAN and NAS primer * Key players * Key trends

Storage Networks Supernova

Light Reading
1/23/2001
50%
50%

As traffic on the Internet continues to grow explosively and become more valuable in terms of the applications it supports, a big problem is emerging for many corporate users. Data storage is getting much more important, and much more difficult to manage.

Luckily, optical networking is coming to the rescue. Low-cost, high-speed connections are beginning to enable companies to build storage area networks (SANs) that serve multiple sites, rather than just a single data center. This centralization promises to deliver big benefits in flexibility and economy of scale.

And that’s just for starters. The idea of offering remote storage services – such as disk mirroring and disaster recovery – is catching on. A new breed of storage service providers (SSPs) is emerging, one that promises to extend the use of SANs to smaller companies as well as offering wholesale storage services to other players, such as application service providers (ASPs).

"Storage networking is exploding," says Johna Till Johnson, senior vice president and CTO at Greenwich Technology Partners, a consultancy. She says network storage is opening a new era in which whole data centers will function "on a cloud in the sky." The bottom line?

This is the first application of optical networking that delivers direct benefits to corporate users, the folk that are used to spending big bucks for their communication networks. That’s good news for them, and it’s also good news for carriers that are looking for ways of making money out of the optical infrastructure they’re installing.

From a service provider perspective, storage networks are also a no-brainer because the bandwidths required typically consume a whole wavelength. In other words, there’s no need to buy extra gear, such as edge switches, to pack lower bandwidth services into wavelengths – and that equates to less investment, less risk, and quicker revenue generation.

Some carriers are already jumping on the bandwagon. "We found that the leading demand for optical networking services is being driven by storage," says Jon Oltsik, vice president for marketing at GiantLoop Network Inc., a startup whose model includes DWDM (dense wavelength-division multiplexing), dark fiber, and managed services in a range of U.S. cities.

It’s important to realize that local storage networks are already commonplace in corporate data centers. "Large, unpredictable storage requirements have validated the move to create a distinct, dedicated network for stored information on the back end of the LAN," says Arun Taneja, director at The Enterprise Storage Group Inc. a consultancy. "Any company with large storage growth is putting together a storage network today."

The new thing is that their reach is being extended to multiple sites. “Storage networks are getting bigger, they're getting more widely networked, and optical's the way they're getting networked," says John McArthur, vice president for storage research at market research firm IDC.

All the same, storage networks themselves are quite complicated, and right now there are plenty of questions over which particular technology will win the day and which vendors are here to stay. The best way of minimizing risks and maximizing rewards is to do your homework -- get a grip on the basics and dig into the details.

Light Reading has taken the sweat out of this process in the following report. It outlines the basic principles involved, then delineates the key trends afoot. It also lists companies active in storage networking and points to nascent startups that might hold the key to future developments.

Follow the report sequentially, or click right to the part you want. Hyperlinks are as follows:

Storage Networking Basics
SAN vs. NAS?
Trends in Storage Networking
Storage Networking Glossary
Vendors: Brocade -- and Beyond
Other Useful Links
Next page: Storage Networking Basics

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Page 1 / 7 Next >
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Mary Jander
50%
50%
Mary Jander,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 8:59:14 PM
re: Storage Networks Supernova
Storage networking offers intriguing possibilities, such as virtual data centers and even virtual PCs at some point in the future. Any predictions in this direction?
gxshen
50%
50%
gxshen,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 8:59:00 PM
re: Storage Networks Supernova
Does anybody have any idea on the cost difference between SAN and GE? Any comment is helpful!
majid
50%
50%
majid,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 8:58:47 PM
re: Storage Networks Supernova
It's quite significant, greater than 5:1, even though Gigabit Ethernet uses the same PHY interface as Fibre Channel. For example, a 8-port FC *hub* costs around $2000, a FC host bus adapter around $1000.

The reason of course is that GbE is benefitting from tremendous economies of scale, as a general purpose technology. While it is in theory possible to run traffic other than disk I/O on FC, nobody in his right mind would do that given the price difference.

In fact, given the prohibitive costs of Fiber Channel switches, their deployment is limited to mainframe-class data centers. I've seen data centers with 4 Sun E10000 servers, and fibre channel disks, but those disks were attached directly to the servers, not via switches.

I suspect true SANs (i.e. with hubs and switches in some sort of topology, not just point ot point links) are mostly used when there is a requirement for data vaulting (remote mirroring of mission-critical data offsite, usually for disaster recovery purposes).

Today, most data vaults are built within a short distance (less than 30km) of a primary site, on leased dark fiber, and probably using IBM ESCON more often than FC. This is not enough to protect against earthquakes, and other such major disasters.

It could thus be argued here is a market opportunity for emerging carriers specializing in offering ESCON/FC transport over DWDM combined with outsourced data vaults.
vdmh
50%
50%
vdmh,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 8:57:28 PM
re: Storage Networks Supernova
Majid,

thanks for the lucid explaination. Could you also suggest (speculate) why SAN uses FC and not GbE?

PBC
50%
50%
PBC,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 8:57:18 PM
re: Storage Networks Supernova
Most your questions can probably be answered at:

http://www.fibrechannel.org/te...

Enjoy

PS- www.searchstorage.com is also a good site
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Is your network built on 'The Old IP,' or are you part of 'The New IP' revolution?
LRTV Documentaries
A Cultural Shift for an OTT World

9|26|14   |   01:41   |   (3) comments


Telcos need to embrace a new approach to partnerships if they are to generate extra revenues quickly and give customers what they want.
LRTV Documentaries
New Skills Needed as Telecom, IT Collide

9|26|14   |   4:07   |   (1) comment


As telecom and IT collide, new technologies are emerging, new skills are needed and new opportunities for women are arising.
UBB Forum News
Do IP Networks Need An Overhaul?

9|25|14   |   02:01   |   (0) comments


As traffic levels ramp, do IP networks need new technologies and topologies?
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint Wields Its Influence in the Valley

9|25|14   |   3:09   |   (10) comments


Anne-Louise Kardas, Sprint's connection to startups in the Valley, explains how telcos can be innovative and find new opportunities with partners.
LRTV Documentaries
SDN, NFV & The Future of XO's Network

9|25|14   |   3:47   |   (0) comments


XO Communications COO Don MacNeil explains how cloud, SDN and NFV are altering its network requirements as well as changing data centers of the future.
UBB Forum News
The OTT Conundrum

9|24|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


What is holding back prosperous partnerships between telcos and the OTT players?
LRTV Documentaries
Putting Broadband to Work

9|24|14   |   01:26   |   (0) comments


High-speed broadband network rollout is key to telco strategies, but it's what happens after the network is built that counts.
Light Reedy
Light Reading's Women in Telecom Recap

9|24|14   |   0:55   |   (4) comments


Our first Women in Telecom breakfast was a huge success, and we hope you'll join us in London for the next event on November 6.
UBB Forum News
Monetizing Ultra-Broadband

9|24|14   |   01:43   |   (2) comments


Ultra-broadband networks need to be built, with fiber-to-the-premises the ultimate goal, but they need to be monetized, too.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sales Director of INIT on Plug & Play Switch Devices

9|19|14   |   3:21   |   (0) comments


INIT Italy uses both the Huawei S5700 and S7700 series switches for the campus LAN environment. Sales Director Andrea Curti says their company chose these Huawei devices over others because of their performance, flexible scalability and plug-and-play features.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Arabia Upgrades Vocational Training System

9|19|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


The Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) has 100,000 students, 150 government-owned institutions and oversees 1000 private institutes. The CIO of TVTC explains that Huawei devices have allowed them to manage multiple datacenters using just one software program, scientifically tracking the progress of students and teachers, saving them millions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Media Solutions Are Here to Stay

9|19|14   |   4:35   |   (0) comments


The current media revolution requires rapid upgrades in technology. New formats (HD, 3D, 4K etc.) and the subsequent explosion of file sizes demand sophisticated network and storage architecture. Social media and the multiple distribution channels require a robust asset management system. Gartner analyst Venecia Liu speaks about the current technological trends in ...
Upcoming Live Events
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Half of the world's population will be connected to the Internet by 2017, but not just by smartphones and desktops.
Hot Topics
Facebook Pokes Around LTE Direct
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/25/2014
Sprint Wields Its Influence in the Valley
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/25/2014
Gigabit Nets Boost GDP, Says FTTH Council
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 9/23/2014
US Ignite Cultivates Gigabit Apps
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 9/25/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed