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Organizations today have a plethora of options when it comes to storage connections

By Max Burkhalter
August 1, 2011
A report by Information Week finds that companies today can be nearly overwhelmed by the number of options available when it comes to storage connection. In many cases vendors may be of little help as many of them offer nearly every solution available and may switch the burden of selection back on to the buyer.

According to the report, ubiquitous storage connection solutions now available include fiber channel, network attached storage, internet small computer system interface, ATA over Ethernet and fiber channel over Ethernet. Some vendors even offer unique solutions. For example, serial attached SCSI can be a storage connection avenue to some extent. Finally, direct attached storage is making something of a comeback. The new interest in DAS has been made possible by the introduction of smarter applications such as Exchange 2010.

While FC is highly respected and is the dominant solution in today’s data center, most buyers are probably going go with a solution that they have experience with. Many organizations will find that 10Gbps Ethernet is for their environments. Servers, at most companies, have CPU bandwidth to spare, so coping with added IP overhead is not a serious issue, says the report.

According to the InformationWeek report, 16Gb FC is coming soon, and under certain circumstances, this solution might be a good choice for organizations that need high-performance.

A report from the Fiber Channel Industry Association states that with 16GFC, users will enjoy twice the bandwidth of 8GFC. This level of speed will double the savings in the price/performance equation. It will also vastly improve power and port density.

The FCIA report adds that 16GFC is automatically backward compatible to 8GFC and 4GFC without burdening the user. This feature ensures that organizations will not have to bear the burden of removing and replacing their legacy 4GFC or 8GFC FC SAN in order to integrate particular 16GFC components until they want to. Finally, the FCIA reports that 16GFC provides organizations with a natural value pathway away from 8GFC and ensures buyers that 8GFC investments made now will be useful in the future.

“The timely completion of this standard demonstrates continued industry commitment towards the FCIA Fiber Channel roadmap,” states FCIA Chairman Skip Jones in the report. "Given expected product roll-outs in the 2011 timeframe, 16GFC promises to provide data center managers with higher speeds and cost savings double that of today’s 8GFC and near double of today’s 10G Ethernet.”


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