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Vol. 2 No. 9 November 2003

Too many SAN islands

Four years ago, when business unit managers at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Financial Group in Toronto began to understand the advantages of networked storage, storage area network (SAN) deployments at the $15.5-billion multinational financial services company gained momentum faster than Lance Armstrong accelerating down the Alps. Putting its new gear to the test In 1999, officials at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) learned the hard way that compatibility testing is essential. The company set out to deploy its first storage area network (SAN), a tape SAN. Without first checking its tape vendor's compatibility matrix, RBC chose to use what Harold Durnford, the manager of systems-managed storage, now calls an "off-brand host bus adapter." But when Durnford's team attempted to put the shiny new SAN into production, it started experiencing throughput problems and frequent crashes. "We'd have a failure every couple of days," says Durnford. "It got to the point that we'd have scopes and tracers running constantly. The only solution ...

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Features in this issue

  • Defragmenting Disks Falls by the Wayside

    The deal on disk fragmenting

  • Too many SAN islands

    by  Jeff Moad

    One of the main challenges to growing SANs is the proliferation of independent SAN islands. We look at how and why a multinational financial services company consolidated many islands into larger ones, but stopped short of a single, unified SAN.

  • Sane strategies for SAN growth

    What's the right way to design storage networks for growth? There's no simple answer to that question, but understanding the implications of storage- or network-centric approaches will help you make the right choices.

  • New directions for switches

    With all of the recent acquisitions and new partnerships forming this year, finding the right Fibre Channel switch for you is even more confusing. This article will help you chose the right one.

Columns in this issue