Driving Up SAN Scalability

Arthur Cole
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Top 10 Benefits of Virtualization

Virtualization has taken a firm hold at most enterprises these days, but the fact is we've only just begun to unleash the true potential of the technology.

SAN developers are starting to embrace a wide range of scale-out technologies hoping to boost their system capabilities for highly virtualized environments; although, there is some question as to whether they will be able to match NAS's scale-out abilities anytime soon.

Compellent is the latest SAN provider to head in this direction. The company's new Storage Center 5.4 includes the new Live Volume hypervisor that allows non-disruptive migration of data volumes between SANs. With each SAN scaling up to a petabyte or more, enterprises that can afford it should have little trouble building the kind of virtual storage infrastructure needed to match the loads capable of newly virtualized server and networking architectures.

From Celeros Corp., we're seeing a new family of SmartSAN multi-protocol platforms capable of hitting the 100 TB mark backed by 4 GBps throughput. Aimed more at mid-level enterprises, the platform features active-active controllers, persistent cache backup, hardware-assisted RAID-6 and other tools to enhance data protection and reliability. The SmartSAN XT23S comes with a 6 Gb SAS backplane that can be matched with 4x controllers for either 8Gb Fibre Channel or 1Gb iSCSI.

SAN virtualization is one of the best ways to break your dependence on the top storage vendors like EMC, HP and Hitachi, says IT consultant Steve McMurray. New standards-based virtualization and management software from the likes of DataCore, FalconStor and others are adding layers of flexibility to multi-vendor environments, opening up a wide range of system configuration and data migration possibilities.

Still, it's the scalability issue that has left many enterprises in a virtualization plateau by delaying further server virtualization until they are sure they can maintain adequate storage. And with new NAS systems like IBM's SONAS holding out the possibility of up to 14 PB in a single name space, it's very possible we could be on the verge of a large-scale transition from SAN to NAS.

To prevent that, the SAN industry will have to step up its game even more, or at the very least find a niche market through which it can leverage its management and reliability advantages. But as virtualization and the cloud place more emphasis on "big data," scalability will become the one feature that can't be overlooked.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jul 7, 2011 5:19 AM Newrose Newrose  says:

Great blog.


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