True Integration � Fact or Fiction? Page 3 -

True Integration � Fact or Fiction? Page 3

Complexity Among the Switches

Another major challenge facing storage customers is the sheer complexity of today’s SANs. For example, says Ross, if SAN islands are made up of mid-range switches, which are typically of the 16- or 32-port variety, merging them into a large SAN means that you have to consume many ports just to provide inter-switch connectivity. And there are practical limits to the number of hops and domains.

“Exceeding the domain and hop count can result in fabric timeouts, which will affect performance,” says Ross. He believes the best way to build large SANs is to use large SAN switches, usually referred to as director-class switches. “These devices offer high port capacity, which helps keep domain count low and, at the same time, offers a high degree of availability through the use of redundant sub-systems such as power, cooling, and control processors.”

This is Part I of a two-part article on True Integration: Fact or Fiction. Part II of the article will cover the following:

  • Do major storage challenges exist because storage vendors are not always aware of the latest ‘arrays’ offered by their competitors and may not have the drivers to support the various hardware? If so, what can be done to change this problem?

  • Alternatively, do these challenges instead exist because many storage vendors manage their storage arrays using proprietary protocols that make interoperability a challenge by requiring either continual cross-licensing or reverse engineering by competitors?

  • Has storage technology reached the point where true integration is even achievable?

  • Will a common set of protocols, such as the CIM-SAN-1 protocol being developed by the SNIA, change the future of integration?

  • Will more cooperation between storage vendors change the future of integration? Is this realistic?

» See All Articles by Columnist Leslie Wood

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