Network storage & SANs
Network storage & SANs<@VM>Fibre Channel switches and hubs support SANs of many sizes<@VM>Host bus adapters help keep that data moving<@VM>SAN software helps put all those files at your fingertips
Agencies are experiencing a boom in data needs;
read up on technology advances to meet the challenge
By J.B. Miles
Special to GCN
The year of the SAN has arrived, representing a milestone in storage technology with major implications for government agencies that need to turn terabytes of data into useful information for perhaps millions of users.
Gadzoox Networks' Gibraltar hubs, the six-port GL and the 12-port GS, provide full-duplex 2.215-Gbps speed. The GL is priced at $3,015; the GS at $4,359.
As the government continues to go paperless, the digitized data that information services departments must handle has grown to mammoth proportions. The first line of defense against total systems meltdown is storage technology, said Mark Vaccarino, director of system integration technologies for V-Squared, a federal application service provider in Ashburn, Va.
'Today's organizations require huge amounts of data storage, and the systems themselves must be highly scalable and upgradeable,' Vaccarino said. He agrees with other experts that storage area networks meet these criteria better than any other storage technology currently available. And he predicts SANs will account for the next big mass migration of government and private organizations to all-in-one storage environments.
In typical server-attached storage designs, storage arrays are tightly linked to servers. The design is effective when storage requirements are limited, but not very cost-effective or efficient when storage needs soar into the terabyte range because new servers must often be purchased to manage additional disk or tape storage devices.Wide access
SANs provide access between servers and a pool of shared storage devices by utilizing 1-Gbps Fibre Channel links between devices'and 2-Gbps Fibre Channel is on the way. For information services departments, the big payoff from a SAN is that any user connected to any server on the network can gain access to information on any of the storage systems in the pool.
SANs free up server CPUs to perform other computing tasks. They also offer round-the-clock availability, with built-in redundancy for improved data security. And advanced software has made most SANs highly scalable.
SANs can be as simple or complex as your requirements dictate, but it helps to keep in mind the basic components that make them up.
Ancor Communications' SANbox-16HA supports all topologies with 1.0625-Gbps speed in a 16-port configuration. It's priced at $2,500.
In theory, any server can connect to a SAN, but mainline computer makers such as Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp., IBM Corp. and Intel Corp. provide specialized SAN products.Disk and tape storage systems.
A SAN system could be a redundant array of independent disks, a loosely structured just-a-bunch-of-disks arrangement, a CD-ROM disk array or a tape library. Check with leading storage vendors such as Advanced Digital Information Corp., Dot Hill Systems Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co., Exabyte Corp or Storage Technology Corp. to see which of their products are SAN-enabled.Hubs.
If economy, rather than scalability, is your top priority, and you are setting up a fairly small SAN for workgroup service or for a small department, a Fibre Channel hub could provide an inexpensive solution.
Hubs offer a high degree of multivendor interoperability because in most cases physical addressing is transparent. Unmanaged hubs can be cost-effective in some situations, with a few products such as High Velocity System's Bullet 600 coming in at slightly less than $100 per port.
Virtually all hubs used in a SAN architecture support the Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop (FC-AL) configuration, which provides an aggregated, or shared, bandwidth of 100 Mbps. Although FC-AL hubs can support up to 127 attached devices, far fewer are recommended in most cases to avoid conflicts that can dramatically slow data throughput.
QLogic's QLA2200 host bus adapter has a 64-bit PCI interface and is designed specifically for SAN environments. Prices range from $1,395 to $2,395.
The Fibre Channel hubs listed in the accompanying table include both managed and unmanaged versions, and generally support between five and eight ports with both DB-9 copper and gigabit interface converters (GBICs). Most of them come with LED indicators and diagnostics software to help isolate faulty ports and drop them from the loop before they bring a hub's performance to a halt.
In addition to service as backbone devices for small SANs, Fibre Channel hubs also can be used as low-cost companions to switches in complex, multitiered SAN designs.Switches.
Fibre Channel switches are a must for large SANs that store terabytes of information. Although many switches can provide both point-to-point and FC-AL configurations, high-end versions are nonblocking fabric switches. They guarantee full-speed data delivery regardless of traffic conditions and employ all or most of the Fibre Channel methods for linking nodes and routing frames in a multiswitch Fibre Channel network.
Vixel Corp.'s 7100 and 7200 switches are cost-effective entry-level models that can be upgraded to the company's full-fabric 8100 switches. Brocade Communications Systems Inc.'s SilkWorm 2000 family is similarly expandable, with the entry-level 2010 model supporting FC-AL configurations, and the high-end 2040 model supporting entry-level SAN fabrics. Both the 2010 and 2040 can be upgraded to the SilkWorm 2050, a robust device for multiswitch full SAN fabrics.
The FCE-6410 host bus adapter from JNI has a 64-bit PCI interface and supports all Fibre Channel topologies. Its price ranges from $895 to $1,095.
Virtually all switches can be managed with software from the switch manufacturer or from third parties.
Gadzoox Networks Inc.'s Capellix 2000 and 3000 switches are managed with the company's Ventana SAN Manager. Vixel supplies SAN InSite 2000 management software with its switches. Brocade installs its Fabric OS, which includes Fabric Watch for simplified SAN management and Extended Fabrics for extending SAN-to-SAN connectivity distances.
Most Fibre Channel switches come in eight- to 16-port versions. A few, such as McData Corp.'s 32-port ED-5000 and Ancor Communications Inc.'s SANbox-64/128, are director-class switches with high port densities that are designed to direct the activities of other switches and hubs in three-tier SAN architectures.Host bus adapters.
Like standard 10/100-Mbps Ethernet cards in other parts of a network, Fibre Channel host bus adapters are the essential elements of SAN systems. These small but necessary components go into the servers and other network hardware to make them part of the SAN.
In fabric configurations, host bus adapters provide a fabric log-on to initialize the servers and then scan the entire arbitrated loop to initialize the other devices on the SAN.
If data is being streamed from multiple storage pools into a particular server, the host bus adapters also perform context switching to help reduce traffic overhead.
When selecting the appropriate Fibre Channel host bus adapter, it's important to check for compatibility with host buses, such as PCI or MCA, operating systems and the types of connectors'DB-9 copper or GBIC optical'required. Although virtually all host bus adapters support full-duplex throughput of 100 Mbps, a few, such as Emulex Corp.'s LP8000DC and Interphase Corp.'s 5550 PowerSAN, are dual-channel cards that effectively double typical 1.0625-Gbps full-duplex data rates for high-throughput storage requirements.
QLogic Corp., which holds the leading share of the Fibre Channel host bus adapter market, and other leading companies such as JNI and Emulex provide robust suites of software drivers and remote configuration and management utilities to make their products suitable for service in just about any SAN.
Software is the tie that binds the collection of equipment making up a typical SAN. Most switch and hub vendors offer proprietary management software, and customers increasingly are looking for ways to manage heterogeneous SAN components.
The result is a ballooning market for storage management software, according to Dataquest, the San Jose, Calif. subsidiary of the GartnerGroup Inc. of Stamford, Conn. The market research company recently reported that worldwide storage management software revenues were $4.2 billion last year, a 47 percent increase over 1998 revenue, and predicted that revenues will soar to $14.7 billion in 2004.
This guide includes more than 25 software products (see chart, Page 53
) useful for managing a wide variety of SANs. Some, such as Data General Corp.'s Navisphere, Dot Hill's SANman suite and Gadzoox's Ventana, are designed primarily to manage each company's proprietary line of servers, switches or hubs.
Others are designed to meet more general storage requirements.
Computer Associates International Inc.'s ARCserveIT Enterprise Edition offers built-in SAN management capability via the company's Unicenter TNG Framework.
SANsymphony from DataCore Software Corp. provides enterprise-level network storage pooling across heterogeneous SAN components. It comes in both an entry-level Server Edition and a full-function Network Edition.
Hewlett-Packard's SureStore E SAN Manager comes in two flavors: DM provides centralized device management for a variety of manufacturers' hubs and switches; LM offers logical unit management of hundreds of host devices.
IBM, pre-eminent among providers of integrated SAN products with its own brand of servers and storage units, has Tivoli SANergy File Sharing, software that enables the sharing of SAN arrays, file systems and files across multiple systems. The company plans to release other SAN software products later this year.
The Storage Networking Industry Association, whose Web site is at www.snia.org
, offers the following criteria to guide your selection of SAN management software:
|Tips for buyers|
' SANs represent the near future of network storage technology.
' Consider signing on with an application service provider or systems integrator if your SAN requirements are large.
' Fibre Channel is the preferred technology for SAN architectures.
' Good software is the key to SAN management.
' Buy your SAN components only from a recognized Fibre Channel hub, switch or host bus adapter manufacturer.
SAN software must account for a large number of components and a multitude of physical and logical relationships between them.Performance management.
Software should include the tools for providing a system-level view of overall SAN performance.Software and firmware management.
Software and firmware updates should be managed from a centralized station, and a generic mechanism should be provided to transport updates to components from different vendors.Accounting or asset management.
Capabilities such as standardized SAN resource identifiers containing asset information must be defined. The software should include a common mechanism to obtain asset information from SAN resources.Cluster management.
Managing SAN clusters requires robust solutions for workload management and a single point of control for the cluster's component systems. The software should support both data and storage management within and across clusters.Security management.
A centralized manager must become a trusted entity to manage isolated storage devices and zones.Policy management.
Examples of services that require policy are disaster recovery, backup, hierarchical storage management and archiving.J.B. Miles of Pahoa, Hawaii, writes about communications and computers.
|Company||Product||Type||Port speed||Media connectors||Management||Configuration||Description||Price|
|Ancor Communications Inc.|
Eden Prairie, Minn.
|SANbox-8||Eight-port switch||1.0625-Gbps, full-duplex||Copper and optical||SANsurfer, SNMP, TFTP, Telnet, SES, GS3||Stackable, rackmount||Supports all topologies including cascade, cascaded loop, mesh and multistage||$1,995|
|SANbox-64/128 ||64 to 128-port switch||Same||Same||Same||Same||Same, director-class||Available in the fall|
|ATTO Technology Inc.|
|FibreCenter 1100D||Five-port hub||1.0625-Gbps, full-duplex||Copper and optical||ATTOView RMON, Intelligent Port Management||Stackable, rackmount||FC-AL hub||$1,195|
|FibreCenter 2100R||Five-port hub||Same||Same||Same||Rackmount||Same||$1,195 |
|Brocade Communications Systems Inc.|
San Jose, Calif.
|SilkWorm 2010||Eight-port switch||1.0625-Gbps, full-duplex||Copper and optical||Telnet, SNMP, Brocade Web Tools, Brocade SES||Stackable||Entry-level switch with FC-AL support||$5,775 up|
|SilkWorm 2040 ||Eight-port switch||Same||Same||Same||Stackable||Entry-level fabric switch||$5,775 up|
|SilkWorm 2050||Eight-port switch||Same||Same||Same||Stackable||Full fabric switch||$5,775 up|
|FibreQuik HB2000||Eight-port hub||1.0625-Gbps, full-duplex||Copper and optical||Unmanaged||Stackable||FC-AL hub||$1,745 |
Costa Mesa, Calif.
|LH5000||10-port hub||1.0625-Gbps, full-duplex||Copper and optical||HTML, Telnet, SNMP||Stackable||Configurable as single 10-port or separate dual five-port hub||$2,527|
|LH1005||Five-port hub||1.0625-Gbps, full-duplex||Copper and optical||Unmanaged||Stackable||For workgroup service||$1,295 |
|Gadzoox Networks Inc.|
San Jose, Calif.
|Gibraltar GL||Six-port hub||2.215-Gbps, full-duplex||Copper and optical||Ventana SAN Manager, optional IntraCom Management Module, Nomad Management Module||Stackable||Scalable managed hub||$3,015 |
|Gibraltar GS||12-port hub ||Same||Copper and optical||Same||Stackable||Scalable managed hub||$4,359|
|Bitstrip TW||Nine-port hub||1.0625-Gbps, full-duplex||Copper and optical||Unmanaged||Stackable, rackmount||FC-AL hub||$2,042|
|Capellix 2000||Eight- to 11-port switch||Same||Copper and optical||Ventana SAN Manager, SNMP||Stackable||FC-AL switch ||$3,750|
|Capellix 3000||Six- to 34-port switch||Same||Copper and optical||Same||Modular||Modular SAN switch with redundant hot-swappable power supply and fan options||$7,995 up|
|High Velocity Systems|
|Bullet 600||Six-port hub||1.0625-Gbps, full-duplex||Copper||SNMP, SCSI-3 SES||Stackable||FC-AL hub||$594|
|ES-1000||Eight-port switch||1.0625-Gbps, full-duplex||Copper and optical||McData EFC, SNMP||Rackmount||Edge fabric switch||$4,999|
|ED-5000||32-port switch||1.0625-Gbps, full-duplex||Copper and optical||McData EFC, SNMP||Rackmount||Director-class fabric switch||$100,000 up|
|Storage Technology Corp.|
|StorageNet Switch 4108||Eight-port switch||1.0625-Gbps, full-duplex||Copper and optical||Proprietary||Rackmount||Configures to FC-AL and fabric devices||$19,000 up|
|StorageNet Switch 4116||16-port switch ||Same||Copper and optical||Proprietary||Rackmount||Same||$35,000 up|
|LX 1500||32-port hub||1.0625-Gbps, full-duplex||Copper and optical||Proprietary||Modular, rackmount||Crossbar hub that accepts up to eight modular port cards with up to four I/O ports per card||$5,995 up|
|Vixel 1000 Hub||Seven-port hub||1.0625-Gbps, full-duplex||Copper and optical||Unmanaged||Stackable, rackmount||FC-AL hub||$1,795|
|12-port hub||Same||Copper and optical||Vixel SAN InSite, optional SNMP card||Stackable, rackmount||Same||$4,800|
|Six-port hub||Same||Copper and optical||Same||Stackable, rackmount||Same||$2,650|
|Vixel 2100 Zoning Managed Hub||Eight-port hub||Same||Copper and optical||Same||Stackable, rackmount||Supports four FC-AL links from a single hub||$3,495|
|Vixel 7100||Eight-port switch||Same||Copper and optical||Vixel SAN InSite, Total Connectivity Management, SNMP||Stackable, rackmount||FC-AL switch||$6,995|
|Vixel 7200||16-port switch||Same||Copper and optical||Same||Stackable, rackmount||FC-AL switch that interoperate with fabric switches||$11,995|
|Vixel 8100||Eight-port switch||Same||Copper and optical||Same||Stackable, rackmount||Fabric switch||$8,495|
Eden Prairie, Minn.
|Magnitude||Eight-port switch||1.0625-Gbps, full-duplex||Copper and optical||REDI Access, Copy, Control, Path||Modular||Total SAN environment that supports point-to-point, FC-AL and switched fabric topologies||$60,000 up|
|Vendor||Product||Bus interface||Media connectors||OS support||Features||Price|
|ATTO Technology Inc.|
|ExpressPCI FC||64/32-bit PCI||Copper and optical||Win9x, NT, Mac OS||Advanced Data Streaming technology supports SCSI over Fibre Channel; RAID kit available||$995 |
|ExpressPCI FC SW||64/32-bit PCI||Same||Same||Same with short wave optical embedded physical interface||$1,295|
|FibreQuik PC1000||64-bit PCI||Optical||AIX, NT||Supports point-to-point, FC-AL and fabric loop connections||$995|
|FibreQuik MC1000||64-bit MCA||Copper and optical ||AIX||Compatible with leading FC hubs, RAID and other storage arrays||$3,495|
Costa Mesa, Calif.
|LP8000||64-bit PCI||Copper and optical||NT, Win 2000, Solaris, AIX||Supports all Fibre Channel topologies||$1,495 to $1,995|
|64-bit PCI||Same||Same||Same||$2,795 to $3,995 |
|LP850||64-bit PCI||Same||NT, Win 2000||Same||$1,295 to $1,495 |
|LP7000E||32-bit PCI||Same||NT, Win 2000, Solaris, AIX||Same||$1,995|
|Great River Technology Inc.|
|GRT-PCIFIBRE-V1||32-bit PCI||Optical||Win9x, NT||Fibre Channel with video output||$4,200|
|5560 PowerSAN 2000 2Gbps PCI Fibre Channel Adapter||64-bit PCI||Copper and optical||N/A||Provides full-duplex, 2-Gbps for 400-Mbps connectivity||$1,595|
|5550 PowerSAN 2000 Dual PCI Fiber Channel Adapter||64-bit PCI||Same||N/A||Supports all Fibre Channel topologies||$1,795 |
|5540 PowerSAN 2000 PCI Fibre Channel Adapter||64-bit PCI||Same||N/A||Same||$995 |
|5527 PowerSAN PCI Fibre Channel Adapter||64-bit PCI||Same||N/A||Provides simultaneous SCSI and IP network connectivity||$1,495 to $1,895|
|5526 PowerSAN PCI Fibre Channel Adapter||64-bit PCI||Same||N/A||Same||$1,395 to $1,495|
|FCE-3210||32-bit PCI||Copper and optical||NT, Win 2000 Mac OS||Supports all Fibre Channel topologies||$745 to $995|
|FCE-6410||64-bit PCI||Same||Same||Same||$895 to $1,095|
|FCE2-6410/6412||64-bit PCI||Optical||NT, Win 2000, Linux, Mac OS||Same with dual Fibre Channel connections||$1,995 to $2,595|
|FC64-1063||64-bit Sbus||Optical||Solaris||Supports all Fibre Channel topologies||$3,275|
|Prisa Networks Inc.|
|NetFX-PCI32||32-bit PCI||Copper and optical||NT||Supports all Fibre Channel topologies||$2,199|
Aliso Viejo, Calif.
|QLA2100||64-bit PCI||Copper and optical||NT, UnixWare, OS/2, Solaris, AIX||Multiple media options||$1,195 to $1,795|
|QLA2200||64-bit PCI||Same||Same||Designed for SAN environments||$1,395 to $2,395 |
|VMIPCI-5660 PCI Fibre Channel Adapter||64-bit PCI||Copper and optical||NT, VxWorks, Linux||Supports full-duplex, 200-Mbps in all Fibre Channel topologies||$746 to $974|
|VMIPCI-5661 PCI Fibre Channel Adapter||64-bit PCI||Copper and optical||Same||Same||$746 to $974 |
|VMIPCI-5661 CompactPCI Fibre Channel Adapter||64-bit PCI||Same||Same||Same||$746 to $1,582|
|VMIPMC-5660 PMC Fibre Channel Adapter||64-bit PCI Mezzanine||Same||Same||Same||$946 to $1,588|
|VMIPMC-5661 PMC Fibre Channel Adapter||64-bit PCI Mezzanine||Same||Same||Same||$827 to $1,670|
Advanced Digital Information Corp.
CentraVision allows clients on heterogeneous networks to share files over SANs. It provides direct connection to shared SAN devices and supports SunSoft Solaris, Microsoft Windows NT and Linux clients.
Ancor Communications Inc.
Eden Prairie, Minn.
SANsurfer is Web-based SAN management software that allows systems administrators to monitor and control SANs via the Internet or an intranet.
Brocade Communications Systems Inc.
San Jose, Calif.
Fabric OS provides an intelligent infrastructure for
heterogeneous SAN components. It includes Fabric Watch for simplified SAN management and Extended Fabrics to extend SAN-to-SAN native Fibre
Channel connectivity from 10 kilometers to 100 kilometers.
Computer Associates International Inc.
ARCserveIT Enterprise Edition provides automated storage management for Microsoft Windows NT and Unix servers. It centrally manages all enterprisewide storage activities from a single networked or browser-equipped console and includes SAN management capability via the company's Unicenter TNG Framework.
CommVault Systems Inc.
Galaxy is a suite of SAN management products based on logical views of data rather than physical views. The software allows IT administrators to set policies, monitor events and seamlessly enhance the availability of information regardless of whether it is located on a server, LAN or SAN.
DataCore Software Corp.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
SANsymphony is SAN management software that provides enterprise-level network storage pooling across heterogeneous SAN components. It's available in an entry-level Server Edition and a Network Edition for additional functionality and scalability.
Data General Corp.
Navisphere Storage Management Software from Data General, a division on EMC Corp. of Hopkinton, Mass., is a suite of centralized management and monitoring tools for all EMC Clariion storage systems.
Dot Hill Systems Corp.
SANman is a software product line comprising SANscape and SANpath. SANscape is a management suite that enables enterprisewide administration of Dot Hill's SANnet storage systems across existing LANs and WANs. SANpath extends intelligent input/output path management to SANs. A third component, SANtrap, is prebuilt into Dot Hill's systems for out-of-band monitoring.
EMC Data Manager is a centralized system for handling the backup and restore needs of large enterprise databases. It's used with EMC's high-end Symmetrix Enterprise Storage Systems.
NetStorm is a Java suite of SAN management products for managing network resources and simplifying network administration across multiple Unix and NT platforms. The first available product in the suite, NetStorm Library Monitor provides for remote management of tape libraries from anywhere on the network.
Gadzoox Networks Inc.
San Jose, Calif.
Ventana is SAN management software composed of SANtools for managing Gadzoox' Capellix 2000 and 3000 Fibre Channel switches and SAN Manager for managing the company's Gibraltar hubs.
Palo Alto, Calif.
SureStore E SAN Manager Device Management provides comprehensive and centralized management of SAN hubs and switches. Logical Unit Management manages thousands of storage logical units and hundreds of host devices.
Hitachi Data Systems
Santa Clara, Calif.
Care is a suite of products that delivers enterprisewide coverage of online data copy and relocation, data access and protection, and storage management.
Tivoli Storage Manager is an enterprise storage manager that scales from PC servers running Unix to mainframes OS/390. It provides for tape resource sharing, LAN-free data transfer and server-free data movement.
Tivoli SANergy File Sharing enables the sharing of SAN storage arrays, file systems and files across multiple systems.
|It supports NT and Windows 2000, Mac OS, SunSoft Solaris, SGI Irix, AIX and Tru64 Unix operating systems.|
IBM StorWatch Enterprise Storage Server Expert gathers and presents information for managing the Enterprise Storage Server, providing performance, asset and capacity management.
IBM StorWatch Serial Storage Expert simplifies the SAN planning and management implemented on IBM Serial Storage Architecture loops.
IBM StorWatch Specialists are storage management tools built into most IBM storage server, RAID and gateway products.
Legato Systems Inc.
Mountain View, Calif.
Celestra is advanced management software for high-end SCSI, Fibre Channel and SAN storage systems.
Enterprise Fabric Connectivity Manager enables sysadmins to manage all switched enterprise components from a single console and provides a fabricwide view of an entire SAN.
nStor Technologies Inc.
AdminiStor is a Web software suite for configuring RAID controllers, monitoring and reporting SAN component status, and managing disk arrays.
Aliso Viejo, Calif.
QLogic Management Suite contains advanced management utilities for heterogeneous SAN environments.
Veritas Software Corp.
Mountain View, Calif.
Veritas SANPoint Control is management software that provides centralized monitoring and management of heterogeneous SAN components.
SAN InSite 2000 is a hardware-independent software management tool that provides end-user interoperability and manageability for all SAN devices.
Eden Prairie, Minn.
REDI Storage Manager is logical SAN management software that supports multiple-server access, duplication of storage volumes, configuration and monitoring from a remote console, and I/O load balancing.