& cplSiteName &

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  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
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
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
4.5G Evolution: Peter Zhou on Advanced MIMO Technologies & 5G Business Prep

2|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


In the process of service transformation, operators need to catch three major opportunities and start deploying in 4.5G networks, such as video, household broadband access and digital transformation of vertical industries. 5G is coming. Operators don't need to wait for it to happen but should progressively deploy 4.5G networks by introducing 5G-oriented ...
LRTV Custom TV
What WTTX Can Deliver

2|23|17   |     |   (0) comments


Mohamed Madkour explains the benefits of WTTX while Dimitris Mavrakis discusses the challenges of delivering home broadband access.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei on Mobile Broadband

2|23|17   |     |   (0) comments


Mohamed Madkour shares his vision on MBB for the next three years.
LRTV Custom TV
Analysys Mason Talks About the Future of Digital Operations

2|23|17   |     |   (0) comments


The future of digital operations has three key aspects: 1. Highly automated operations for both service and network; 2. Highly converged BSS/OSS for business and resources; 3. Highly merged management and control for real-time cloud native operations.
LRTV Interviews
Software Trends in the Telecom Sector

2|23|17   |   03:40   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading senior analyst James Crawshaw talks with Telecoms.com Editorial Director Scott Bicheno about trends and developments in the telecoms software sector and what to expect at MWC 2017.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei's Pre-MWC Analyst Briefing 2017 Highlights

2|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei shares its vision for this year's MWC.
LRTV Interviews
MWC17: 5G, Cloud RAN & More

2|21|17   |   04:35   |   (0) comments


Ovum Senior Analyst Julian Bright talks to Scott Bicheno from Telecoms.com about all things MWC, including Cloud RAN, Huawei's pitch to the industry and the road to 5G.
LRTV Interviews
MWC 2017's Key 2-Letter Terms

2|20|17   |   08:29   |   (1) comment


5G, AI, VR... these are just some of the two-letter terms that will dominate show-floor chat at MWC 2017 in Barcelona, according to these two blow-hards (a.k.a. Scott Bicheno of Telecoms.com and Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre). And then there's PB...
LRTV Interviews
Key Trends for Mobile Operators in Developing Markets

2|20|17   |   06:37   |   (0) comments


Ovum's Matthew Reed talks to Scott Bicheno from Telecoms.com about the challenges and opportunities facing mobile operators in the developing markets of Africa and the Middle East.
LRTV Documentaries
YouTube Takes on Facebook Live-Streaming

2|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Popular 'YouTubers' will be the first to get the new service on their smartphones. You have been warned.
LRTV Custom TV
Open Source NFV/SDN Automation

2|17|17   |   05:54   |   (0) comments


AT&T ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy) code is transitioning into the Linux Foundation for placement into open source. In this video, Carol Wilson provides an update on the maturation of open source ECOMP and meets with industry leaders from AT&T, Bell Canada, Orange, Linux Foundation and Amdocs to discuss what this means for the ...
LRTV Documentaries
Uber & NASA Collaborate on Flying Car Project

2|16|17   |     |   (0) comments


Is Uber for real? Well, it's hired NASA engineer Mark Moore to lead the project, and he wouldn't come cheap.
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Uber's HR Nightmare: Company Investigates Sexual Harassment Claims
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 2/21/2017
Broadband Has a Problem on the Pole
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/21/2017
Verizon to Start Fixed 5G Customer Trials in April
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/22/2017
Sprint to Go Gigabit Crazy at MWC!
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/22/2017
MANO Marriage: ECOMP, Open-O Converge as ONAP
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 2/23/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
No One Likes This Click Here
Take a hint!
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.