Friday, December 7, 2007

SAN Buzz for December I

Holiday Season is coming up, and for those of you still searching for a gift for someone in the storage industry, here's my choice!
In the SAN realm, here's what I found most noteable during the last couple of weeks. I was traveling quite a bit, so may have missed out on a few new hot topics, but I don't think I missed a major new trend during that time.
Byte&Switch brought us a very useful summary of future storage interconnects and IBM -at the same time- did announce a whole new set of solutions around intreconnects in a blade server environment:
The IBM BladeCenter Open Fabric Manager provides I/O virtualization and can help cut cost and complexity for clients through its open architecture. IBM BladeCenter Open Fabric Manager supports the complete range of Ethernet and Fibre Channel technologies.
And while Brocade did announce FY 2007 results which came in as expected, sentencing for their former CEO Greg Reyes is still pending: the date has been postponed indefinitely and as the local San Jose newspaper Mercury News reports, support was building up for Reyes in the industry with hundreds of supporters writing to district Judge Charles R. Breyer who -according to Fortune magazine- found that "..the government had failed to quantify any amount of loss that can be attributed to Reyes’ conduct.”
Lastly, here's a list of the most unusual data disaster stories of 2007, hope yours is not on the list: "Discovering ants had taken up residence in his external hard drive, a photographer in Thailand took the cover off his computer and sprayed the interior with insect repellent. ...
The ants didn't make it, and neither did the drive"

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

SAN Buzz October II

This week, IBM had some major storage announcements, including new functions and solutions for almost all storage products accross the portfolio:
Virtualization, Disk Systems, and storage solutions targeted at SMBs.

Most important on the SAN-side are the IBM announcements of the CISCO MDS 9134 and 9222i as well as the 18/4 FCIP director blade.
These products complete CISCOs push into the switch market and leave customers with a choice of vendors across the entire IBM SAN portfolio!
Here's some great coverage about a recent IBM Analyst meeting where STG Executives outlined the IBM storage strategy for 2008 and beyond.
Searchstorage had this excellent article about SAN Best Practices and points out (among seven other potential pitfalls) to:
Understand the functional limitations of your switches (#3):
"Today, switches incorporate features that go beyond simply managing network communication, such as data migration and storage virtualization, which are common in the large director-class switches. The need for intelligent features, such as these, is frequently the motivation for switch upgrades and replacements, and storage administrators should consider intelligent features and their role in the data center"

So, talking about intelligent switches, Brocade did use the SNW conference in Dallas and their recent Customer Event in Las Vegas to demo 8 Gbps SAN gear and outline their DCF (data center fabric) strategy.
Read comments here and here.
And with the end of the year coming closer, here's more IT predictions for 2008: Gartner's top technology predictions for 2008
My friends over at the IBM ITSO also have been very productive lately and here's two redbooks related to storage networks and IBM BladeCenter that you may find useful:

Implementing Cisco InfiniBand on IBM BladeCenter
Published: October, 2, 2007
Implementing the QLogic Intelligent Pass-Thru Module for IBM BladeCenter
Published: October, 2, 2007

Last but not least -talking about Blades- here's my personal Blade-favorite for 2008: The Honda Fireblade!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

SAN Buzz October

Here's a great piece on virtualization comparing appliance vs. network/switch based virtualization.

At a recent analyst meeting, Brocade executives did outline future strategies and talked about how they see the duopoly-SAN-market.
You can find the complete slides here and a good comment on the presented ideas and statements here.

Do you have hundreds, maybe thousands of SAN ports in your enterprise? And store TBs and maybe PBs of information? Then maybe you can be a contender in the "Worlds biggest SAN" contest!

Friday, September 21, 2007

SAN Buzz September II

The only IBM announcement we had in the SAN space during the last couple of weeks is the Brocade 10 Gbps and iSCSI blades for the SAN256B Director (aka Brocade 48000), details here.

However, it was a very busy two weeks in terms of IBM Storage Research announcements, there were two major press releases and interestingly, the first one (on Aug. 30) was related to a technology which probably is another 15 years away until we see real products, whereas the second one (Sept, 11) seems to have the potential for a midterm implementation as a product:
IBM is to redefine memory architecture: Racetrack Memory
In the arena of good old magnetic disk technology, there was interesting news as well. For one, Seagate announced that it will add encryption capability to its desktop line of disk drives by the end of this year (2007 that is).
And as always around the end of summer, IDC is adding up the numbers from the industry and published the sales ranking for external disk subsystems for the second quarter 2007.

At the other end of the fibre cable, Dell'Oro is busy adding up the SAN ports numbers and causes Brocade to claim a 73% market share for the first half of 2007.
To round things off on a funny note here's the Top 10 SAN Stories this year so far. They include topics like:

The Encyclopadia of Business Clichees shows the most abused (buzz)words and if I tell you the "push the envelope" is ranked as #15, you'll certainly want to see what's number 1!
Have fun!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

SAN Buzz September I

Green storage seems to be all the buzz lately, here's two contributions I did like a lot:
One is a recent article in ESG on green storage,
The picture on the left should remind us of the fact that some data simply is not worthwhile storing at all!
Another area of intense hype and activities is the file area network or FAN.
This article summarizes what the perceived business benefits of this methodologies and products are.

SNIA has established a workgroup to help clients navigate this space and has recently posted a very comprehensive definition of what a FAN is supposed to be:
A namespace-based network-oriented infrastructure for files that includes a decoupling layer which separates logical file access from physical file location. This decoupling layer enables a variety of services (e.g., replication and migration) to be applied to files and filesystems.

And a couple of various news from last week:

Qlogic switches have been recently certified with the IBM SVC.

FCoE compromise reached between Brocade and CISCO
no compromising with the U.S. government: Reyes guilty:
..while outside the courts, the (marketing)battle continues:

Brocade says CISCO is blocked

Monday, August 27, 2007

SAN Buzz for August

Industry News:
Although SANs are pervasive in larger enterprises, many small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have yet to take the plunge and are still tethered to direct-attached storage (DAS) configurations. Those companies are missing out on a number of benefits, including efficient management of data and storage resources, cost- effective capacity planning, improved asset utilization, and reduced risk of data loss-whether it’s a Fibre Channel SAN or an iSCSI SAN.
It’s time to take a little time out of the day and have some fun. Network World has once again collected a series of funny videos about storage technology:
Have a look at the new generation of small form factor enterprise drives:
Comeback of solid state storage?
There was a number of noticeable announcements and news during the months of summer which seem to indicate that solid state storage is slowly preparing its comeback into the enterprise realm.
Here's a couple of examples:
Terabyte solid-state storage disk array
Solid-state storage for IBM BladeCenter
and -on a more funny note- the motorcycle enthusiasts Flash Memory (picture above!)
With a slightly wider scope and looking into the future beyond 2007, here's a very interesting article about data storage after spinnning disks:
Here's how it works.