This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download "Storage magazine: Adding low-cost tiers to conserve storage costs."
Download it now to read this article plus other related content.
|Where should storage intelligence reside?|
Simply put, switches bear the brunt of the changes in storage networks. They must simultaneously monitor and prioritize bandwidth for critical applications, handle storage management functions and secure access for all devices attached to the SAN. Putting these services in switches gives users multiple benefits:
- A central point of administration for storage, performance and security management functions
- Simpler storage management
- Stronger security
- Better performance and availability of critical applications
- Are switches the best choice to house storage and security functions? Or are customized appliances better suited?
- How will these technologies impact the performance of your critical applications?
- How compatible are these vendors' advanced switch technologies with your storage environment?
Users must also assess if they should use existing technologies or deploy new ones. For example, Brocade Communications Systems Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and McData Corp. switches integrate security and volume management technologies from companies such as EMC Corp., IBM Corp. and Veritas Software Corp. However, a new switch vendor like Maxxan Systems Inc. ships its own storage and security products.
Magnifying the problem, the capabilities that smart switches offer vary significantly from vendor to vendor. For example, Sandial Systems' Shadow 14000 FC switch offers users the ability to monitor performance and then dynamically allocate bandwidth based upon predefined QoS policies. Both Maxxan's MXV320 and Cisco's MDS 9000 family of switches can incorporate virtualization blades into their switches from third-party providers like FalconStor Software Inc., IBM and Veritas. Still others like Computer Network Technology Corp.'s UltraNet Multi-service Director (UMD) offer users the ability to turn on RADIUS authentication that enables switches to verify the authenticity of servers logging onto the FC SAN. What follows is a look at who offers what, how the features work and which ones you need and when.
This was first published in August 2004