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Fibre Channel (FC) SAN
HBAs: Are dual HBAs worth the investment?
By Greg Schulz
Without knowing more details about your particular environment, applications, performance, physical layout, network and availability requirements, I hesitate to make any specific recommendation. However, generally speaking, I would look to see if some level of server consolidation using server virtualization is appropriate to reduce the number of physical servers, and thus, the number of HBAs and associated SAN ports. However, this would be dependent on the application's performance requirements as well as application and business needs for dedicated servers. With server consolidation comes the risk of putting too many eggs (or applications) in a basket (server), so be mindful of high availability and server failover capabilities.
What you may find is that some servers could be consolidated onto a larger, higher performance server with redundant 2 gigabit (Gb) or 4 Gb Fibre Channel (FC) adapters to reduce the total number of servers, and thus, adapters. Another consideration to explore is attaching some of the servers using iSCSI to access FC storage via your Cisco directors or third-party iSCSI-to-FC bridge/gateway/router eliminating the need for FC HBAs on your servers. Of course, you would need to have available Ethernet ports or add additional NICs to your servers if needed, thus there would be a cost tradeoff to consider.
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29 Jun 2006