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March 2017, Vol. 16, No. 1

Data storage infrastructure starts with science-fiction inspiration

Fans of classic science-fiction movies might appreciate the feelings that overwhelmed me this past holiday season when I confronted the challenge of building a fairly complex data storage infrastructure from an assortment of undocumented parts. There I was, a veritable Dr. Cal Meacham from the 1955 classic This Island Earth, working to create a storage platform no less complicated than your proverbial "interocitor," but without so much as a "Metalunan" catalog to document the component parts. I wasn't sure whether my creation would be useful for storing data, let alone performing some sort of "electron sorting" or other exotic workload mentioned in the movie. But I attacked the project with zeal, anyway. The backstory My test bench, consisting of a couple of DataCore SANsymphony servers connected in a failover cluster, had grown into a hodgepodge of external storage boxes connected with everything from USB to eSATA and Fibre Channel (FC). Every slot of every installed StarTech.com eSATA board was maxed out, their drives ...

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