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Vol. 5 No. 5 July 2006

Microsoft paves the way for 10 gig storage apps

TEN GIGABIT ETHERNET (GbE) is just around the corner, and a host of storage applications are poised to take advantage of it now that Microsoft has announced native support for TCP offload hardware as part of its Scalable Networking Pack (SNP) announcement in May. SNP is an architectural enhancement for Windows Server 2003 that's available as a free download and will also ship as an integral part of Windows Vista and Longhorn. SNP adds three main features to Windows: TCP "Chimney" offload, which allows the operating system to offload TCP processing onto specialized hardware away from the main CPU; receive-side scaling, for better utilization of dual-core processors; and NetDMA, or direct-memory access. The most obvious beneficiary of SNP is iSCSI, especially at 10Gb/sec speeds. At 1Gb/sec speeds, most iSCSI SAN practitioners have found they can get adequate performance from a software iSCSI initiator. "At 1Gb/sec, TOE [TCP offload engine] doesn't matter," says Marc Staimer, founder and senior analyst at Dragon Slayer Consulting, ...

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Features in this issue

  • Backup apps: More choices beyond the big three

    With numerous applications and a variety of hardware and software platforms, a single enterprise backup software product may not suffice for many companies. A bevy of backup applications that aren't as well-known as "the big three" may be better architected to handle new requirements.

  • Cut data down to size

    by  Arun Taneja

    With today's extreme data growth rates, adding disk-based protection is no longer an option but a requisite. Data reduction can help ease growth pains by paring down the data that goes to disk. There are many products with data-reduction capabilities available, but the technologies they use vary widely.

  • Survey Says: Users make wish list of VTL features

  • Talk is cheap

  • The best way to expand a SAN

    Building a new SAN or extending an existing SAN requires careful planning to strike the right balance between performance, cost, scalability, high availability and ease of management. Read how to determine what architecture is best for your company's storage access needs.

  • What's holding up ILM?

    While vendors work to fill in the gaps in the information lifecycle management stack and connect the pieces, IT and business units must hammer out a manageable set of policies to drive the ILM process in their organizations.

Columns in this issue