The top 10 SAN news stories of the year are listed below, along with related expert advice. Some of the topics we have been following include the Brocade/McData merger, file virtualization, SAN encryption, iSCSI SANs and storage virtualization.
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It's a little harsh, but that's the word on street for the now combined Brocade and McData. Brocade missed its latest earnings targets claiming customers are deferring purchases until the company releases the next generation merged platform early 2008.
- Cisco goes for the jugular
Wasting no time, Cisco has pounced on Brocade and McData customers and is spreading FUD like there's no tomorrow, increasing competition dramatically.
- Networking vendors snap up file virtualization
Brocade started the trend of networking companies buying into the file virtualization market with the acquisition of NuView in 2006. This year the trend has continued with F5 buying Acopia and Cisco buying Neopath.
- Cisco, EMC buddy up on SAN encryption
Storage managers have been reluctant to purchase storage security products because, until now, these products been very expensive and have added latency to the SAN. Cisco and EMC/RSA are working on a blade for Cisco's MDS directors that will provide SAN-based encryption for tape libraries and VTLs, which promises to alleviate both these issues.
Related advice: Storage encryption: How much is enough?
- Brocade gets into HBAs
Brocade announced earlier this year that it has partnered with LSI Logic to develop HBAs. Analysts said a third competitor in the HBA market could improve pricing for end users, which is always nice to hear.
Related advice: Fibre Channel HBA Buying Guide
- iSCSI takes its rightful place next to Fibre Channel
iSCSI has been blasted as the redheaded step child to Fibre Channel ever since its inception. Finally, this year it's taking its rightful place in the family of storage networking protocols.
Related advice: iSCSI vs. Fibre Channel Explained, What you should know about iSCSI initiators, What you need to know about 10 GigE IP SANs, Easing I/O bottlenecks with Microsoft Scalable Network Pack
- 4 Gig Fibre Channel switches everywhere
4 Gigabit FC switches rolled out en masse this year.
- SAN vendors propose FC over Ethernet standard
Just in case you want another networking standard to worry about, the storage vendors have come up with FC over Ethernet (FCoE). The claim is that the new specification will define the process of adding Fibre Channel information into Ethernet packets as the "payload"; the new protocol would be a Layer 2 networking standard that would allow for the creation of converged networks combining Fibre Channel, enhanced Ethernet, and high-performance computing (HPC) clustered traffic in the data center.
- FC-SATA switch emerges
Another cross-protocol standards effort has been led by Emulex, to get FC and SATA devices talking to one another. The company has released a product of its own but so far the rest of the industry has yet to get on board.
- Storage virtualization reaches the "Trough of disillusionment"
Block-level storage virtualization had built a head of steam over the year, but users with say there are either still limits in the products available or limits in their infrastructures that keep the "single pane of glass" management dream just a dream for now.