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Vol. 2 No. 6 August 2003

The best way to scale SANs

The consolidation of servers and business units is a tsunami crashing on most IT departments today. Consolidation and conservation of storage resources is rapidly becoming a focus, but how best to scale up today's storage area networks (SANs) to larger and more utility-like storage networks is unclear. @exb Option 1: A meshed SAN A meshed SAN is easy to create, but doesn't scale past a few switches because inter-switch links consume ports. @exe If you interconnect small switches into a meshed fabric (see "Option 1: A meshed SAN" on this page), the number of required inter-switch links (ISLs) grows quickly with the number of included switches, limiting the number of ports available on the fabric. In fact, with five 16-port switches, each with a single ISL, 25% of the available ports in the fabric are used up. Meshing 17 switches would require every port in the fabric. Instead, most SAN equipment manufacturers and consultants are recommending a so-called core/edge design, placing a few high-capacity switches--often called ...

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Features in this issue

  • Early Adopters Unequivocally Up About iSCSI Arrays

    After years of listening to iSCSI hype, some IT professionals are embracing a new generation of IP-based storage subsystems, a group that includes the PeerStorage Array 100E, an iSCSI array from Nashua, NH-based EqualLogic.

  • EMC Expands Reach of Symmetrix DMX

    The incredible expanding Symmetrix DMX

  • SRM Vendors Set Sights on Secondary Storage

    Storage resource management (SRM) has become a standard offering for primary storage from all of the major SAN management vendors. Now, a number of startups and established backup software makers have taken the features of SRM and aimed them at secondary storage.

  • File Virtualization Tackles NAS Management Woes

    Now that NAS farms have grown to multiterabyte proportions, management migraines usually associated with SANs have arisen, and virtualization--round two--has begun.

  • Can tools streamline provisioning?

    Virtualization was last year's buzz word, and it looks like provisioning may be this year's. We dissect what these tools actually do and how to choose which ones that are likely to actually be useful in your environment.

  • The best way to scale SANs

    by  Stephen Foskett

    SAN configurations greatly influence their scalability. There's no perfect model, but here are the trade-offs involved with each major option.

  • Why consolidate?

    Organizations trying to consolidate storage often find themselves creating SAN islands that perpetuate traditional stovepipes. Does this solve the problem?

  • E-mail: It's worse than you think

    by  Eric Knorr

    According to a 2003 study by Meta Group, 80% of businesspeople say e-mail is more essential than the telephone. However, storage managers are struggling to keep pace with the growth in message volume and retention requirements. however.

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