What you will learn from this tip: Where to put storage intelligence on your network, given your specific storage environment.
Where is the best place to embed storage intelligence into the network? The following guidelines will help you decide:
On the switch. For environments with heterogeneous storage arrays and servers, minimal anticipated growth and a small team of administrators, placing storage intelligence on the switch makes sense. Products from smaller companies may be acceptable, but more established shops will probably want to consider products from EMC Corp., IBM and Veritas Software Corp. as they become widely available.
On an appliance. Appliances make sense for heterogeneous array, server and switch environments where growth is dynamic and unpredictable. Appliances can fit into existing deployments without forklift upgrades. Larger shops new to this space may want to experiment with products from Candera Inc., DataCore Software Corporation, FalconStor Software, Softek Storage Solutions Corporation and Troika Networks Inc. Once familiar with the technology, consider solutions from EMC, IBM or Veritas, as they're more likely to fit into existing infrastructures with less disruption.
No intelligence in the network. There are good arguments for keeping switches stupid. With switches prices as low as $200 per port, keeping intelligence on the host and storage arrays is a cost-effective option for relatively small environments with just one storage array or servers with the same operating system.
Read the rest of SAN switch smarts.
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About the author: Jerome Wendt is an independent writer specializing in the field of open systems storage and storage area networks. He has managed storage for small and large organizations in this capacity.