Executive vision: The future is in global IP storage connectivity

In this continuing series of interviews with the CEOs of major storage companies attending the Merrill Lynch Storage Technology Conference in Santa Barbara last month, searchStorage talks to Sandy Helton, CEO, San Valley Systems.

The Campbell, Calif.-based company is a relative newcomer to the SAN and Storage over Internet Protocal (IP) arena. The company has just come to market IP-based SAN optical edge access products that enable seamless connectivity over IP based Metropolitan and Wide Area Network infrastructures.

Helton says one of his company's goals is "to make where the data is housed irrelevant. When a CEO, GM, or administrator needs information, they don't care what server the data is on or where the server physically sits within the data center environment. What matters is how fast that information can be accessed for business continuance, and decision support."

Will the two technologies work simultaneously?
In the past, Ethernet and Fibre Channel existed only with file-based systems; SAN Valley enables Block level access to storage with the IP-SAN Gateway. What about the benefits/drawbacks of Fibre Channel?
The benefits are very scalable, reliable performance. The drawbacks are the distance limitations. Will Fibre Channel replace Ethernet?
These technologies solve two very different problems, but over time, especially with the adoption of industry standards such as iSCSI, Gigabit Ethernet, specifically 10GbE, may eventually replace Fibre Channel as the predominant networking interface. You can't talk about SANs without talking about Fibre Channel. Where does Fibre Channel play in your product design?
Fibre Channel is the predominant storage networking technology today and it is being deployed within data centers with continued and significant growth. Fibre Channel provides a scalable, managed infrastructure for connecting storage and servers in a reliable networked fashion. When trying to extend Fibre Channel SANs beyond the confines of the data center or the campus, there are significant limitations. We address these needs by providing products that extend Fibre Channel networks over Metro and Wide Area Networks. What about Ethernet?
Fundamentally, Fibre Channel assumes that there is a very reliable network infrastructure, which has very low bit error rates. On the other hand with Ethernet, more specifically TCP/IP, it is assumed that the network has much higher bit error rates and has mechanisms that retransmit in the event of lost or dropped data. What will the two technologies mean for the future of storage?
The future of storage will ultimately result in global IP storage connectivity, which means, geographical irrelevance to your data. Fully interoperable and open standards based storage solutions will drive costs down and enable the volumes to scale to meet the demands of the enterprise and service provider markets. Who is going to be the early adopters of your technology?
Large enterprise customers, storage service providers (SSPs, Data CLECs (Competitive Local Exchange Carriers), and systems solutions providers all have storage connectivity requirements that are currently unfulfilled. SAN Valley is working with customers and vendors within those markets, as they will be the early adopters of our technology.

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