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
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Light Reedy
Numbers Are In: LR's 2014 Salary Survey

7|24|14   |   1:25   |   (7) comments


Our fourth annual Salary Survey paints a picture of who's hiring, firing, earning, and yearning for a change in the telecom industry.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving the Network Transformation

7|23|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


Intel's Sandra Rivera discusses network transformation and how Intel technologies, programs, and standards body efforts have helped the industry migration to SDN and NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed NFV-Based Business Services by RAD

7|18|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


With the ETSI-approved Distributed NFV PoC running in the background, RAD's CEO, Dror Bin, talks about why D-NFV makes compelling sense for service providers, and about the dollars and cents RAD is putting behind D-NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
MRV Accelerating Packet Optical Convergence

7|15|14   |   6:06   |   (0) comments


Giving you network insight to make your network smarter.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV-Enabled Ethernet for Generating New Revenues

7|15|14   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Cyan's Planet Orchestrate allows service providers and their end-customers to activate software-based capabilities such as firewalls and encryption on top of existing Ethernet services in just minutes.
LRTV Custom TV
Symkloud NVF-Ready Video Transcoding, Big Data

7|9|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Kontron and ISV partner Vantrix demonstrate high-performance video transcoding and data analytic solutions on same 2U standard platform that is ready for SDN and NFV deployments made by mobile, cable and cloud operators.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Evolving Role of Hybrid Video for Competitive Success

7|4|14   |   4:09   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's Global Analysts Summit in Shenzhen, China, Steven C. Hawley from TV Strategies speaks to us about the evolving role of hybrid video for competitive success.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How CSPs Leverage Big Data in the Digital Economy

7|4|14   |   4:48   |   (2) comments


Justin van der Lande from Analysys Mason shares with us his views on how telecom operators can leverage customer asset monetization with big data. His discusses the current status of big data applications and the challenges and opportunities for telecom operators in the digital economy era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerator for Digital Business Future Oriented BSS

7|4|14   |   3:08   |   (0) comments


Mobile and internet are becoming intertwined; IT and CT are integrating; and leading CSPs have begun to transform to information service and entertainment providers. How should the BSS system evolve to enable this transformation? Karl Whitelock, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, shares his views.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Packet Design asks network professionals how they handle the cloud, SDN, and network management.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
The Municipal Menace?
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 7/22/2014
Cisco Puts a Fog Over IoT
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/23/2014
Apple Earnings: Strong iPhone Sales, iPad Sales Slump, $7.8B Profit
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/22/2014
Salary Survey Report 2014
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/23/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed