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LAN-free backup vs. server-free backup in a SAN: Part 4

The functional benefits of LAN-free backup versus server-free backup implementations using a storage area network (SAN).

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Industry standards review
3. Architectural considerations
4. Server-free implementation considerations
5. Conclusion

Server-free implementation considerations:
Several factors significantly limit the functionality of server-free technology in a heterogeneous data center environment.

Extended Copy standards:
The Extended Copy standard is not yet approved by the ANSI T10 committee, server-free implementations of the Extended Copy SCSI command set will be based on non-standards based, vendor specific versions of this technology. While manufacturers have established compliancy programs, true compliancy will not exist until the standards are published by ANSI and adopted by SNIA, FCIA, hardware manufacturers, application vendors, and data management software providers.

Host bus adapter and SAN device support:
For server-free data movement, the Extended Copy command (not yet approved) set must access the server via the host bus adapter, to map logical to physical data block information. Current server-free implementations do not support all host bus adapters, because much of this data is unavailable from HBA manufactures. [Reference 3] As a result, limited implementations of server-free data transfer exist.

An excellent case in point, is the current supported devices for Veritas Server-Free Agent listed below: [Reference 4]

    Supported Server Platforms:
    Solaris 2.6, 2.7, 2.8
    Supported Client Platforms:
    Solaris 2.6, 2.7, 2.8
    Supported Data Movement Devices (needed for the implementation):
    Chaparral FS1310x
    Pathlight SAN Gateway
    Crossroads 4x50 Storage Router
    Netbackup Media Server

According to Veritas Vertex initiative white paper, "Today those engines [SAN devices for Server-free implementation] are from Chaparral and Pathlight." [Reference 5]

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