Tom Clark


Director, Solutions and Technologies, McDATA Corporation
Author: Designing Storage Area Networks Second Edition (2003) (available at
and IP SANs (2002) (also available at

During his 18-year career in systems engineering and design, Tom Clark has gained extensive experience in data communications and internetworking, has published numerous articles on storage networking technology, and has presented papers at several conferences, including Storage Networking World. Tom is a board member of the Storage Networking Industry Association and co-chair of the SNIA Customer Focus Committee.

Current Articles:

» Virtual Storage Equals Real Confusion
Commentary: Storage virtualization is still in its infancy compared to its rich, mature potential. The goal of a ubiquitous, vendor-neutral storage utility will take more years of evolution of both the storage networking infrastructure and virtualization technology. (7/1/04)

» iSCSI, FCIP, iFCP ... and iFUD?
Have the fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) marketing tactics of former times returned to the storage industry? Tom Clark disputes and refutes some of the latest FUDian claims being made with respect to IP-based storage. (5/12/04)

» Dumb and Dumber Switches?
Adding 'intelligence' to fabric switches inevitably increases the complexity of products that many feel should be as simple to manage and support as possible. Tom Clark reveals how these two seemingly contrasting philosophies might peacefully coexist. (4/27/04)

» Super-Sizing Data Center SANs
SANs frequently find themselves super-sized by businesses attempting to connect hundreds or even thousands of servers and devices in a single network. Tom Clark explores the potential issues that can arise with XXL-sized SANs and reveals several new technologies that can help storage managers achieve their objectives more efficiently and at a lower cost. (4/6/04)

» SANs Seek Adoption by SMBs
Nurtured over the past decade in the relative affluence of large data center budgets, SAN solutions are now poised to penetrate the vast middle market. Tom Clark explores how new, lower cost storage technologies are spurring the adoption of SANs by SMBs. (3/23/04)

» SANs Go International
SANs have gone international, both serving and linking disparate parts of the world. Tom Clark reveals how several factors are driving the high adoption rate of SANs internationally and why the U.S. may be in danger of falling behind on the technology curve. (2/17/04)

» Storage Reality Check - Open Systems Standardization
Open systems standardization for storage has been an elusive goal that may well never come to pass. As Tom Clark explains, a more realistic objective might be to offer customers the flexibility of using a diversity of products with the look and feel, if not the reality, of openness. (2/5/04)

» Going the Distance for Disaster Recovery
Tom Clark looks at how the combination of a hard new reality and emerging IP storage technologies is forcing a fundamental reexamination of disaster recovery strategies. (1/5/04)

» A New Standard for Fabric Intelligence
Tom Clark reveals how a new storage standard for fabric intelligence should facilitate the migration of storage virtualization and other enhanced services from edge devices to the network core. (12/9/03)

» The Feeding Frenzy on End Users
End user associations can either be noble efforts to give customers influence over their vendors or hotbeds of opportunism as vendors attempt to use such associations for their own purposes. Which of the two will result from the recent proliferation of storage end user groups? (11/5/03)

» Much Ado About Nothing
A recent announcement from Spirent spurred a ruckus in the Fibre Channel industry, but was the heated exchange really much ado about nothing or is there something more to the claims than the industry would like to admit? (10/21/03)

» Towards Trusted and Open Solutions
With a stated mission of ensuring that storage networks become efficient, complete, and trusted solutions, how well has the storage industry performed in providing solutions that meet these requirements and that are also closely aligned with real customer needs? (10/7/03)

» It Isn’t Easy Being You
Caught in a tug-of-war among restrictive budgets, increasing user demands, and vendor product limitations, the storage administrator often ends up as the knot in the middle of a very tight rope. Thankfully, help is on the way, but can it get here quickly enough? (9/22/03)

» Enhancements Spur Evolution of Fibre Channel SANs
New developments in Fibre Channel offerings are enhancing the value of traditional SANs, both in terms of supporting an increased variety of storage applications and in making SANs accessible to a broader market. (9/9/03)

» The Politics of Storage
As an uninvited guest to the already crowded storage networking party, Cisco is shaking up the scene and causing confusion and consternation among storage vendors. Tom Clark explores how Cisco's entry is stirring up the politics and changing the dynamics of today's storage market. (8/25/03)

» Are Interoperability Demos a Hoax?
Between the ideal of harmonious and seamless interoperability and the reality of product compatibility conflicts is an expansive gap that all too often leaves customers in the dark. But are interoperability demonstrations really a hoax, perpetrated by unscrupulous vendors to deceive gullible end users, or are interoperability issues an inevitable consequence of a new technology halfway on its road to maturity? (7/28/03)

» Your Recovery Comes First
Newly available disk-to-disk data replication, remote server clustering, and IP storage switch products are making it easier for customers to design and implement comprehensive disaster recovery strategies. As with ten step programs, however, the key to disaster recovery is to take the first step. Tom Clark shows you just how easy it can be to take that first step. (7/15/03)

» The Search for Sentient SANs
While SANs have become more intelligent in terms of automating and simplifying complex storage processes, SAN technology intelligence is still in its infancy. As Tom Clark explains, the end-user value of SAN technology will be raised with the arrival of application-aware virtualization, which automatically identifies the most appropriate form of storage that should be applied and enables the dynamic assignment of resources based on the unique requirements of specific applications. (6/24/03)

» Security Spotlight Shines on SANs
In insecure times, security threats seem to be everywhere, and heightened security awareness is rampant. While SAN technology's rudimentary security managed to avoid scrutiny in its early days, it too is now coming under the security spotlight. What security threats exist today for storage area networks, and how can you protect your SANs from them? (6/9/03)

» The SAN Management Dilemma
Since the advent of SANs, customers have complained that storage area networks are difficult to manage. While SANs are unlikely to ever become self-configuring and self-administrating, industry-sponsored efforts like SNIA's Storage Management Initiative (SMI) and the integration of SAN-aware functionality into OSes should make it much easier for customers to deploy and support SANs in the near future. (5/27/03)

» iSCSI's Effect on the Eternal NAS vs. SAN Debate
The advent and rapid availability of iSCSI is changing the terms of the NAS/SAN debate. Tom Clark goes beyond the marketing-inspired, quasi-religious disputes of NAS versus SANs in discussing the essential factors to consider when determining whether to utilize NAS or an iSCSI/Fibre Channel-based SAN. (5/5/03)

» Bringing SANs to the Masses
While SANs have proven value for large data center applications, until recently it has been unclear whether SAN technology could provide comparable value for medium-sized and smaller businesses. Tom Clark reveals how recent market developments such as lower cost modular shared storage arrays, more economical disk drives, and IP-based storage products are generating a lower entry cost for SANs and are bringing shared storage to a broader market. (4/23/03)

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