SAN for the masses
Information networks straddle the world. Nothing remains concealed.
But the sheer volume of information dissolves the information. We are unable
to take it all in.
-Günther Grass, German author
month, we examine an area of perennial interest to CIOs, namely, storage. If
there's one segment of the IT industry where the old cliché of change
being the only constant holds true, it is in the storage technology vertical.
Why is storage so vital? Well, storage is all about data which is related to
another concept that is the bedrock of modern business, viz, information.
So how does storage facilitate the exchange and use of information? Let's take
the case of an enterprise that deploys a SAN. All of a sudden, data that lay
on multiple servers is all on a consolidated storage infrastructure and the
ponderous chore of transforming that raw data into meaningful information becomes
that much easier.
The next stumbling block is the cost of a conventional SAN. These have become
cheaper but we're still talking in terms of lakhs of rupees which may be a bit
much for an SMB or even a departmental implementation in a large enterprise.
There is a way out though and it's called IP storage. To be specific, there's
a technology called IP SAN that complements FC SAN in situations where the requirements
are not quite mission critical but are still vital.
That's the reason behind the growing importance of IP in
storage. IP's attraction is easy to understand, every organisation has IT staff
who are well versed in it. The promise is that using IP in storage lets enterprises
do away with having two separate networksone for their PCs and servers
and the other for storage. Anil Patrick examines this and other arguments put
forward in favour of as well as against IP-based storage and attempt to give
you a balanced and clear picture of what is and isn't as well as when and how
IP-based storage should be piloted and deployed.
Deepali Gupta examines how enterprises can use IP storage
protocols such as iFCP and FCIP to mirror their storage across locations using
existing WAN links. Soutiman Das Gupta examines deployments at Wipro Spectramind
and HDFC Standard Life that reveal how India Inc. is using IP SAN technology
to its advantage. The bottomline is that technology is only important as long
as it facilitates business. IP SAN does that by reducing the cost of accessing
and leveraging information in some scenarios.
As Jean Baudrillard said, "Information can tell us everything. It has all
the answers. But they are answers to questions we have not asked, and which
doubtless don't even arise."
Prashant L Rao
Head of Editorial Operations