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One of the ways to do this is with topology-guided recovery. Bradley says that switched fabrics, like Ethernet or fiber channel, have many possible paths through them to get from one place to another to perform I/O. "Not all paths are equal, and some may be shorter and/or faster than others, or even more reliable," he says.

"If an in-use path were to become unavailable for whatever reason, it is important that this be as invisible to a backup application as possible and it's best to be able to pick the best alternate path, " he continued. "Stopping and restarting backup and restore would be unnecessary and thus more efficient in a guided recovery model," he says. In addition, he added that it also enables a path to be selected and deselected to allow different paths for different applications in a time-sliced way.

In the long run, managing multi-storage SANs will have an effect on vendors. Eicher believes that for storage vendors, it cuts both ways. "On the one hand, multi-vendor management abilities make it easier for the end user to break out of a single vendor environment. On the other hand, it offers the storage vendors an easier opportunity to break into a shop where they are not the incumbent supplier," he says.

"If I'm vendor 'A' and I can make my storage work with the storage from vendor 'B', I will have a much easier time penetrating an account. If I am selling a solution that will require a whole new set of management tools, it's a lot harder to convince the IT manager of the value I offer," he concluded.

» See All Articles by Columnist Leslie Wood

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