Q

Sharing data with OSs

I have to share data in a SAN with three OSs: OpenVMS 7.2, Solaris 8 and Windows --> --> --> 0.

What are the vendors I should consider? Compaq with VersaStor (and HP?), HDS, HP, EMC, IBM? And, what do you think about virtualization and the products actually on the market? I have one month to choice the better solution and one month for testing! In advance thank you very much.

Best regards.


All are good products. I would check with each vendor though on support for OpenVMS 7.2 in the current products. If by "sharing data", you mean you need each OS to access the SAME files in the SAN, then a NAS approach would be better for you. You can use IP based NFS on VMS and NT, and native NFS on Sun to access the same files from each OS.

I cannot recommend a specific vendor, as I try to be vendor "agnostic" on this site. If you have a month to test, then I would ask each vendor to do a pilot in your data center to prove out who will provide the best solution and service for your environment. It's a buyer's market nowadays and a little competition could be good for your bottom line.

As for virtualization, I think it's going to be THE best way to manage storage in the future. I would wait to see who wins the virtualization wars first though. Standards and OS vendor buy-in needs to happen before virtualization really becomes compelling. Stay tuned to http://www.snia.org and http://www.fibrechannel.com/ for updates on where the standards are, and when they will be available. VersaStor has a good shot but Veritas is also a player. We need a good "global-file-system" that supports Unix variants and Microsoft OSs to enable true file and block based virtualization come to life.

Whether "in-band" (synchronous) or "out-of-band" (asynchronous) wins, will also matter to you. In-band is easy, but not as scalable as out-of-band. Both are metadata approaches to storage resource pooling, but one is appliance based and the other software/agent based. In-band uses the actual data path for control, where out-of-band uses IP for metadata, and FC for data.

I'm biased towards out-of-band but there are plenty of good in-band products available today that can connect to anyone's storage on the back end.

Chris

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This was first published in October 2001

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