By Alan Earls
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Storage area networks (SANs) are new -- new enough that training opportunities really haven't caught up. Sure, there are quite a few training offerings pertaining to the bits and bytes of enabling technology, such as Fibre Channel, but SAN overviews are rare.
All that seems to be slowly changing, though. Take for example, Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. (www.brocade.com), the supplier of open Fibre Channel fabric solutions that support SANs. Brocade SAN Design and Assessment seminar is targeted at SAN engineers and architects who will be responsible for designing and assessing SANs.
According to the San Jose company, the class provides the technical and product information needed to design and assess Storage Area Networks based on available components as well as the underlying technology of SAN hardware and software. Most importantly, the course covers the key SAN design concepts and rules-of-thumb across a range of vendors. The course includes case studies and a mixture of lecture and hands-on elements.
Trilliant Group (www.trilliant-group.com), a Cincinnati, Ohio-based consulting firm has a course called SAN Fundamentals, which will be offered later this month. The course aims to provide "a solid foundation of objective SAN knowledge."
The class identifies when a SAN is needed; reviews Fibre Channel technology and its importance to SANs; explores how to build a SAN; reviews the role of each SAN component, including switches, hubs, directors, SCSI-to-fibre bridges, and host bus adapters; and discusses typical SAN implementations.
Dale Miller, who runs the training program for Trilliant, says there has been tremendous interest in his firm's vendor-independent offering. "Many analysts now says that it isn't a question of `if' but `when' to implement SAN," he says. "Our course gives people a solid grounding so they can better interpret and understand what vendors are offering." At the end of the course, attendees will have a clear understanding of SANs, their basic components, and their implementation value, says Miller.
In addition to these two SAN training offerings, storage giant EMC Corp. (www.emc.com), Hopkinton, Mass., offers a similar course which focuses on managing an Enterprise Storage Network using Fibre Channel connectivity. According to EMC spokesperson Rich LaCroix the course is exclusively EMC-oriented and is available for "customers or prospects."
Watch this space for future news on SAN course offerings.
Earls is a contributing editor in Franklin, Mass.