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“The Dell EqualLogic PS Series is fundamentally changing the way enterprises think about purchasing and managing storage
. Built on breakthrough virtualized peer
storage architecture, the EqualLogic PS Series simplifies the deployment and administration of consolidated storage
Source : Equallogic
Buyer's Guide to Enterprise Storage
iSCSI SANs ' An Affordable, Enterprise-Class Alternative
Storage Resource Guide is also known as :
Storage Resource Management,
Storage Resource Guide,
Underlying Physics of Storage Devices,
Storage Resource Storage White Papers,
Self Storage Guide,
Resource Guide And Storage,
Data Storage Resource Guide,
Guide for Storage Resource Manager,
Distributed Energy Resources Guide,
Evidence Storage ,
Handling Resource Guide,
Guide to Storage Resource Management,
Data Storage For The Enterprise,
Storage Resource Management Technologies,
Step-by-Step Guide for Storage Resource.
Organizations of all sizes are faced with the same challenges when it comes to managing their
storage ' not enough capacity, a need for more ei cient protection, and many others. However,
one of the hottest technologies of the year, iSCSI SANs, can help you ef ectively manage your
storage needs. With simpler management, lower costs and seamless growth, iSCSI is quickly
becoming the more practical SAN choice over Fibre Channel in companies of all sizes.
You need a cost-ef ective, high-performance storage environment that's scalable for rapid
growth and that will simplify your entire operation. Today, iSCSI storage solutions can deliver
these enterprise-class features and performance gains. This E-Guide, featuring articles from
Storage magazine, outlines iSCSI from the basics to best practices in the industry, including:
- Storage magazine's 2006 Quality Awards -
Read about the industry's top storage products.
- Hot Technologies for 2007 -
Find out about this year's "must have" technologies.
- AirClic, Inc. Case Study -
A top wireless provider's real-world experience with deploying advanced
SAN features on iSCSI.
- Unstoppable iSCSI -
Not only is iSCSI here to stay, but in many shops it's taking the lead.
- iSCSI: The New Standard for Networked Storage '
IP-based SANs deliver the performance of Fibre Channel, but at a fraction of the cost.
iSCSI SANs are enterprise ready.
Are you ready for a better way to manage your storage?
as topmidrange array
In its first year in our survey, EqualLogic PS Series proved its
mettle by unseating Sun FlexLine as the highest rated midrange storage array.
By Rich Castagna and Phil Goodwin
MIDRANGE STORAGE ARRAYS just might be the stor-
age hardware category offering consumers the greatest
breadth of choice. This year's Diogenes Labs'Storage magazine Quality
Award for midrange arrays asked Storage readers to relate their
experiences using 15 different midrange
product lines, ranging from Apple Computer Inc. to Xiotech
Corp. Our readers provided a total of 474 evaluations of
these systems, with nine products garnering enough responses to be
included as award finalists (see "Products
included in the survey," p. 7 ). Readers rated these systems
in five different categories'sales-force competence, product features,
initial product quality, product reliability and
technical support'using a 1.0-8.0 scale, where 8.0 is the
most favorable score.
Our survey is designed to allow smaller vendors to compete
on an equal footing with larger, more established vendors.
We're always curious to find out if any emerging vendor is developing a
"cult" following that might indicate a "best-in-class" opportunity for
IT buyers. If the results of our 2006
survey are any indication, storage groups may want to take
a look at EqualLogic Inc.'s PS Series arrays, which topped a
wide field of products and eclipsed last year's winner Sun Microsystems
Inc./StorageTek FlexLine. EqualLogic's win is
especially noteworthy because it wasn't in last year's survey.
In the 2005 Quality Awards midrange arrays survey, we
were struck by the high scores products received, indicating across-the-board satisfaction. In that survey, overall
product scores ranged from 6.77 down to 5.75. This year's
scores fell back to earth a bit, but still demonstrate general
satisfaction among all of the midrange arrays. EqualLogic's
overall score of 6.00 was only .05 better that of Sun/StorageTek FlexLine (see "Overall rankings," p. 4 ). EqualLogic led
the pack in four out of our five categories.
Sun/StorageTek FlexLine was a surprise winner last year,
but its strong second-place showing this year proved that
last year's results weren't a fluke. We separated the FlexLine and 6000 series in our survey, and the results were
similar to those of last year, with the 6000 series dropping
from fifth to sixth largely due to the addition of EqualLogic.
The biggest positional changes occurred with Dell's CX Series (rebranded Clariion) and Network Appliance's (NetApp)
Inc. FAS series. Dell fell from third place last year to ninth
place this year, while NetApp dropped from second to fifth.
Both vendors saw their scores decline by more than a full
point. Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co.'s StorageWorks Enterprise
Virtual Array (EVA) and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) Corp.'s
Thunder 9500 V improved to third and fourth, respectively.
HDS' fourth-place finish was three positions higher than in
2005. While EMC Corp.'s Clariion and Dell's Clariion didn't
track together in 2005, they did in 2006.
The largest number of responses was for EMC Corp.'s
Clariion, with 118 evaluations; HP EVA was second with
67. The most represented industry was financial services, followed by
healthcare and government/nonprofit. The
distribution of respondents by company size was weighted
slightly toward large organizations. The breakdown here
was 28.3% from small organizations (less than $100 million
in revenue), 29.4% from midsized organizations ($100 million to $1
billion) and 42.3% from large organizations (more
than $1 billion). The majority of respondents are in operational roles,
with only 6% from senior management. Storage administrators comprise
24.9% of the respondents, and
16.8% are storage managers.
We've found a direct correlation between a vendor's salesforce competence and its overall results. Winners of prior
Quality Awards have always finished in the top two in this
category; in this survey, Sun's FlexLine topped all others with
a 5.88 and EqualLogic was second with a 5.57, which was its
lowest score in any category (see "Sales-force competence,"
p. 4 ). Comparing Sun's FlexLine results to the results for
its 6000 series is interesting because the 6000 finished
sixth with a score of 5.17. In the case of FlexLine, 50%
of systems were purchased through resellers, whereas
90% of the 6000s were purchased directly from Sun.
Eighty percent of EqualLogic's systems were purchased
through a value-added reseller (VAR).
Sun FlexLine scored a 6.07 for "My sales support
personnel are knowledgeable." It also scored very well
for "My sales rep is flexible" (5.97). EqualLogic had its
highest ratings for "My sales rep keeps my interests
foremost" and "My sales support personnel are knowledgeable."
EqualLogic's weakest area was for the statement "My sales rep
understands my business" (5.33).
Kern Weissman, director of network systems at Velocity Express in New
York, undertook an extensive
evaluation project before purchasing a midrange array.
"We eventually narrowed it down to EMC, Hitachi
and StorageTek," says Weissman. "We fully realized
that all three would have worked."
Eventually, Velocity eliminated EMC because of
less-than-satisfactory performance and Hitachi because of its complex
software, and settled on a Sun
FlexLine array. "We didn't have any strong bonds with
any particular vendor of storage, so they weren't really able to
influence our decisions," says Weissman.
Similarly, Trevor Rickards, server and storage administrator at
Calgary, AB-based Compton Petroleum
Corp., did a careful analysis of alternatives when
his company was looking to replace its IBM DS4300.
"Price was part of the initial discussions," says
Rickards, "but as we got further in, realizing the differences and how
they each price, we very quickly discarded that because it looked like
it was going to be a
moot point for the amount of storage we were looking to buy." Although
the firm's experience with the
IBM array was positive, it opted for an EMC Clariion.
Hard-nosed bargaining is sometimes called for. "If
you have to pay list price for an [HP] EVA, I think
you're paying way too much," says David Salbego, Unix
and operations manager at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. "They're very willing to negotiate,
but does that mean I know if I'm leaving money on
the table or not?"
Rami Elyas, a member of the enterprise data storage
and recovery services group at Lilydale Inc. in Edmonton, AB, says they put their trust in their VAR. "We
worked closely with the VAR and IBM," says Elyas. "We
used the reseller because they know our business pretty
well and it was a nonbiased view'they didn't have much
to gain whether we bought IBM or Hitachi or EMC."
Software functionality differentiates storage arrays more
than the underlying hardware. Thus, our survey places
an emphasis on software features, including snapshots,
mirroring, remote replication and management tools.
Respondents are asked to evaluate a product based on
how well it meets their needs in these general areas,
rather than by simply comparing product feature lists.
EqualLogic scored well in this category with a 6.26
rating'its second highest category score (see "Prod-
uct features," p. 4 ). PS Series users particularly like
its snapshot functionality, giving it a solid 6.47 for the
statement "This product's snapshot features meet my
needs." It also received a 6.40 for "This product scales
to meet my needs." In fact, EqualLogic scored 6.0 or
better for all statements in this section. This category
generated the highest scores across the group, with
even the low score'Dell's 5.15'still quite respectable.
Compton Petroleum's choice of an EMC Clariion was
based largely on features. "The EMC had more flexibility for
replication and allowed us to do better DR
planning," notes the firm's Rickards. Daily operations
were also a key consideration. "Their management interface seems quite
intuitive," he says. "Their grouping of hardware monitoring is
excellent'in a lot of ways
much more detailed that what the IBM provided."
Sun's FlexLine received a 6.11 rating in the product feature category. FlexLine users responded to the
statement "This product's mirroring features meet my
needs" with a 6.63. This was the highest statement
score for any product; even though it was higher than
any score posted by EqualLogic in this category, FlexLine's overall category score was offset by four sub-6.0
ratings, the lowest of which was a 5.77 for "This product's management features meet my needs." These
scores are still very solid, but substantially lower than
FlexLine's 7.03 average last year.
"It's been extremely easy to expand," says Velocity
Express' Weissman of his firm's Sun FlexLine. "We
went from 2TB to 4TB." He also likes how he can reconfigure without disrupting production. "One of the
best things about it is how you can dynamically change
your settings without taking anything down," he adds.
Initial product quality
The initial product quality section brought out both
the highest and lowest category scores of any section.
Scores ranged from EqualLogic's 6.30 down to Dell's
4.67 (see "Initial product quality," p. 4 ). EqualLogic
had very consistent scores across the category, ranging from a low of 6.13 for "This product was installed
without defects" to a high of 6.40 for "This product
offers good value for the money." Scores for Sun's FlexLine were similarly consistent across the range of
statements. As with EqualLogic's PS Series, Sun FlexLine recorded its highest score for the statement "This
product offers good value for the money" (6.30).
Dell prides itself as a low price "value" leader in the
Windows server and PC markets, but this perception
apparently hasn't translated into the storage array market. In our
survey, Dell scored a 4.64 on our "value" statement, which was lower
than EMC's rating of 4.77 for
the same statement with identical hardware. The value perception might
be influenced by Dell's other
scores in this category, all of which were below 5.0 except for the
statement "This product installed without
defects" (5.00). In the survey, the overall perception of
value very closely matched the overall order of finish.
"It's astounding to me, but I have not had one single
disk failure yet," says Weismann, referring to Veloci-
ty Express' Sun FlexLine array after nearly two years
of use. That level of reliability might be a stretch for
most storage managers, but it underscores the faith we
place in the reliable operation of installed hardware.
In contrast to the initial product quality category,
which had the widest scoring spread, product reliability had the
narrowest. In fact, less than one point separated EqualLogic's top
finish (5.92) from EMC's 4.98
(see "Product reliability," p. 4 ). All other vendors finished above
5.00. EqualLogic recorded its highest ratings (6.20) in this category
for two statements: "This
product meets my service-level requirements" and
"This product requires very few unplanned patches."
In all of our prior surveys, products that did well
on the statement "Patches can be applied nondisruptively" also did well overall. This proved true once
again. EqualLogic's lowest score in this section was
for this statement (5.20), which might indicate a low
overall score. However, the good news for EqualLogic
was that the other vendors were rated even lower in
this area (below 5.0) with the exception of Sun FlexLine,
which had a 5.40. HP's EVA and EMC's Clariion recorded scores of 4.46 and 4.44, respectively.
Patches and firmware upgrades continue to be a thorn
in the side of midrange array administrators. "For the
money you're paying'you're well into six figures, if not
more'you shouldn't have to take these things down
or quiet all the hosts on the SAN just so that you can do
a firmware upgrade," says Salbego at Argonne National
Laboratories, which has two HP EVAs installed. "That's
an industry-wide issue, not just HP EVA."
In most of our surveys, we've been surprised to find
that product support hasn't been a big differentiator.
However, this year's midrange survey provided as
broad a spectrum of scores as the other categories.
EqualLogic was again the winner, posting a 5.96 (see
"Technical support," p. 4 ). Sun FlexLine finished
a close second with a 5.85. Sun's 6000 series had
its highest ranking in this category, placing two
spots behind its FlexLine sibling with a 5.31. This
scenario was exactly the same as last year's for that
Because many midrange array systems are sold
through resellers, we were interested in how
those partners were viewed by customers. In
many cases, the reseller provides initial (Level 1)
technical support. When we posed the statement
"My vendor's third-party partners are knowledgeable," EqualLogic recorded a score of 6.07.
Moreover, the company's partners can apparently resolve most problems themselves, as users
awarded the statement "Problems rarely require
escalation" with a score of 6.13.
Although EqualLogic had the best scores for partner knowledge, it was hardly a runaway. Both HP
and Sun FlexLine scored 6.00 on the knowledge
of their partners. "[Sun FlexLine's] onsite people
are just absolutely fantastic," says Velocity Express'
Weissman. "They go over and above." Even IBM,
which otherwise had lackluster results, recorded
a solid 5.75 in this area. "Whenever I have called
their support, they've been excellent," says Compton Petroleum's Rickards. "They've set up the exact
scenario that I've got in their lab and have always
been able to duplicate the problems."
Elyas at Lilydale Inc., which is also an IBM DS4300
user, says, "The support has been really good. We've
always been able to get the parts here within a day."
In our survey, the differentiator was the need to escalate problems. For this statement, Sun fell to a 5.53,
HP to 5.30 and IBM to 4.67.
Would you buy the same system again?
When we ask respondents to tell us if they'd make the
same purchase decision again, we rarely find a correlation between a
positive response and the order of
finish. Buying decisions are often influenced by many
factors beyond the technical attributes of a product.
However, this survey yielded a reasonably close correlation.
Ninety-three percent of EqualLogic's customers said they'd make the
same purchase decision
again (see "All things considered, would you buy this
product again?" p. ). Most of our other vendors had
positive responses that ranged between approximately 75% and 82%. Sun's
FlexLine and 6000 series both
received an 80% positive response rate, despite very
different placements in the overall standings. IBM
trailed the field significantly, with just 62.5% of its
midrange users indicating a willingness to repurchase.
This represents a 17.5 point drop for IBM from 2005.
In cases where respondents have two or more
midrange systems, we asked them to evaluate each
one. In these cases, we compare the scores to determine which system is preferred in a head-to-head
match-up. EqualLogic again came out on top, winning four out of seven such comparisons (57.1%).
FlexLine was preferred in 52.4% of cases (11 out of
21), while EMC Clariion was preferred 41.3% of the
time (26 out of 63). Dell Clariion was preferred just
22% of the time (six out of 27). These results don't relate to future buying intentions, but rather offer the
perfect vision of 20/20 hindsight.
Kudos to EqualLogic
Clearly, users of the EqualLogic PS Series feel they've
purchased something special. Time will tell if the company can continue to deliver in a top-flight manner …
but the top is always a good place to start.
in the survey
The following vendors and products
were included in the 2006 Diogenes
Labs-Storage magazine Quality
Award survey for midrange arrays:
- Apple Computer Inc.
- Xserve RAID*
- BlueArc Corp. Titan 2000 Series*
- Compellent Technologies
- Storage Center*
- Dell Inc. CX Series
- EMC Corp. Clariion CX series
- EqualLogic Inc. PS Series
- Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co.
- StorageWorks Enterprise
- Virtual Array (EVA) series
- Hitachi Data Systems Corp.
- Thunder 9500 V Series
- IBM Corp.
- FAStT, DS4000 or DS6000
- LeftHand Networks Inc. SAN/iQ*
- Network Appliance Inc.
- FAS200 or FAS900 Series
- Pillar Data Systems Axiom 500*
- Sun Microsystems Inc./
- StorageTek D-series, FlexLine
- FLA200 or FLA300
- Sun StorEdge 6920
- Xiotech Corp. Magnitude 3D*
*Didn't receive a sufficient number
of responses to be included in the
final survey results
About our survey
The Diogenes Labs-Storage
magazine Quality Awards are
designed to identify and recognize products that have proven
their quality and reliability in
actual use. The results are derived from a survey of qualified
Storage readers who assessed
products in five main categories: sales-force competence, product features, initial
product quality, product reliability and technical support.
Our methodology incorporates
statistically valid polling that
eliminates market share as a
factor. Our objective is to iden-
tify the most reliable product
on the market regardless of
vendor name, reputation or
size. Products are rated on a
1.0-8.0 scale, where 8.0 is the
most favorable score.
For this year's midrange
arrays survey, 354 respondents provided 474 valid system evaluations. This year's
response rate is about 10%
higher than last year's, but
carries the same +/- 5%
margin of error with a 95%
HOT TECHNOLOGIES FOR 2007
IF THE STORAGE INDUSTRY IS ANYTHING,
it's dynamic. But some things never change:
the need for more storage capacity and the
endless search for better, less tedious ways
to protect data.
Storage magazine's editors have reviewed
technology developments, product introductions and storage standards (see "Storage
standards to watch in 2007," p. 22) over this
past year to identify those we expect will become the hot storage technologies in 2007.
Some of these technologies, like iSCSI SANs
and virtualization, have appeared in these
pages for years. This coming year, however,
both appear poised to cross a major threshold.
Other selections, like hardware-based tape encryption, are based on new technologies that
attempt to address a single issue: stemming the
tide of identify theft and misappropriation of
corporate secrets resulting from lost data tapes.
Thin provisioning, long championed by a single
storage system vendor, 3PAR, has gained the attention of many more vendors and is showing up in more
products. We expect thin provisioning to become an
essential disk-array feature because it saves money by
avoiding the need to overbuy storage. Disk-drive tech-nology continues to defy predictions of how much
data can be packed onto a disk. The storage industry
will introduce 1TB disk drives in 2007 and even
greater capacity drives will follow soon after. Other
new technologies'data deduplication, continuous
data protection (CDP), data classification and
information lifecycle management (ILM)'look
promising, but need more time to mature and gain
acceptance (see "Not hot in 2007," p. 24).
Our picks for the hot storage technologies in 2007
follow. Specific vendor or product references are
representative examples of each category.
Midsized organizations were early adopters of iSCSI
because of its low cost and easy implementation. Previously, 1Gb/sec
was about as fast as IP networks ran,
but that didn't matter. "Performance wasn't a concern.
The big benefit was cost," says Steve Meckling, network services
administrator at Shiloh Industries Inc., a manufacturer of auto-
industry components in Valley City, OH.
iSCSI has been steadily gaining momentum. According to a recent report from
Framingham, MA-based research firm IDC,
the iSCSI protocol is expected to capture
more than 10% of storage systems revenue
and an even greater percentage of capacity by 2008. In the early days of storage networking, large enterprises viewed iSCSI
SANs as "training wheels" that would
someday grow into a Fibre Channel (FC)
SAN for industrial-strength performance.
FC has steadily progressed from 2Gb/sec
to 4Gb/sec. But IP/Ethernet recently
leapfrogged FC in the performance race
with 10Gb/sec Ethernet over copper. At
10Gb/sec, iSCSI offers a faster pipe than FC,
and will continue to hold that edge even
when FC gets to 8Gb/sec in a couple of years.
However, iSCSI was never just about
performance. "The elevator pitch for an
iSCSI SAN is that it saves money by using
Ethernet; but what users really like are
the features they get automatically with
iSCSI SANs'load balancing, snapshots
and more," says Stephen Foskett, director of strategy services at GlassHouse Technologies Inc., Fram-
ingham, MA. "iSCSI SAN is definitely happening."
For the enterprise, the issue now is coexistence.
"Places with FC SANs are installing iSCSI SANs, too.
They want alternatives. iSCSI won't replace FC;
rather, it lets large companies make storage decisions
based on business needs," says Mike Karp, senior analyst, Enterprise Management Associates, Boulder,
CO. "Almost every storage product vendor is sup-
porting iSCSI these days," he adds. Even enterprise
storage vendors like EMC Corp. and IBM Corp. have
In terms of cost, iSCSI SANs still have the edge over
FC. For example, Shiloh Industries currently operates
17TB of storage using four EqualLogic Inc. iSCSI
SANs, which cost approximately $40,000 each.
Hardware-based tape encryption
The reasons to encrypt data became obvious this year:
a succession of incidents in which backup tapes disappeared; federal
directives mandating government
agencies encrypt stored data; and 34 states currently requiring
companies to inform anyone whose identity might have been compromised
by lost data.
There are a number of ways to encrypt stored data'
at the host, through a network-based appliance, within the storage device or tape library'but the tape
device promises the fastest performance with the
least impact. We may be going out on a limb with this
prediction, but we expect hardware-based tape encryption to become the preferred choice of the largest
enterprises with mainframe-based data centers.
These data centers back up sensitive data for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of customers. They
need reliable performance and transparent opera-
tions. "These are the companies that manage data on
tape for the long term," says Robert Amatruda, IDC's
research director, tape and removable storage.
For the rest of the IT world, hardware-based tape
encryption will appear in the next generation of LTO
devices, LTO-4, probably beginning sometime in
2007. The LTO-4 products will probably involve little or no price premium over today's nonencrypting
LTO drives, notes Robert Abraham, president and
senior analyst, Freeman Reports, Ojai, CA.
For big data centers, IBM and Sun Microsystems
Inc./StorageTek introduced encryption built into
their tape drives. IBM introduced data encryption
on System Storage TS1120 tape drives. These drives
encrypt data at tape speed, avoiding the need for hostbased encryption
that eats host CPU cycles. Sun offers the StorageTek Crypto-Ready
T10000 tape drive,
which supports a variety of operating systems, including z/OS, Solaris
The enterprise products don't come cheap. The Sun
product costs $37,000, plus a $5,000 charge to turn on
the encryption feature. The IBM product is $35,000.
Encryption appliances like those from Decru Inc. (now
owned by Network Appliance Inc.), NeoScale Systems
Inc. and Vormetric Inc., as well as upcoming LTO-4
drives will be less expensive than tape-encryption
drives from IBM and Sun; however, IBM's and Sun's
products appeal to enterprises that run large mainframe data centers.
"These data centers want an end-to-end storage solution," says
Amatruda. "They want
native tape drives and don't want the uncertainty of
dealing with little companies."
While the enterprise products aren't for every
organization, once LTO-4-based tape encryption becomes available,
expect tape-drive encryption to become more of a commodity with
High-capacity disk drives
Various experts periodically predict that magnetic
disk is approaching its capacity limit, as the magnetic dots can't get smaller or be packed closer togeth-
er. Yet engineers always find a new way to stuff more
data onto a disk.
"Think of it as the relentless march of Moore's Law,"
says Peter Steege, enterprise disk segment marketing
manager at Seagate Technology LLC. This year, perpendicular disk-recording technology, which stacks
data vertically on the disk, is enabling Moore's Law.
Using perpendicular technology, Seagate expects
to introduce a 1TB disk drive in 2007 with larger
disks to follow. A 2TB disk drive within a few years
is quite likely. Current enterprise-class SATA drives
boast a 1.03 million hour mean time between failures (MTBF). The 1TB drives will have a 1.2 million
hour MTBF. Other vendors, primarily Maxtor Corp.
(acquired by Seagate) and Western Digital Corp., are
expected to follow with similar capacity disks.
The 1TB enterprise-class SATA disk drives are coming along just as data centers are feeling the squeeze
to store more data while conserving rack space, floor
space and energy. "The array vendors are asking for
bigger capacity drives," says Steege. A 750GB drive
requires no more power than a 500GB drive. A 1TB
drive will deliver 50% more capacity per watt than
existing drives using the same enclosure.
Although extremely large drives present challenges
in terms of RAID rebuilding time, storage managers
are welcoming them. "We're definitely interested in
the 1TB disks," says Seth Mitchell, infrastructure
team manager at Slumberland Inc., which has a chain
of more than 100 mattress stores in the Midwest.
Today, Slumberland uses 500GB FC disks. The larger drives will save the store money because its array
vendor, Compellent Technologies, charges by the
spindle. Expect to see the drives deployed in high volume, low-performance situations such as archiving,
data retention, compliance and backup to disk.
Two years ago, we picked virtualization as one of the
hot technologies for 2005. Well, as the old saying
goes, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."
(See "Report card on our 2006 predictions," this
page.) In 2007, we expect virtualization to embed
itself throughout the infrastructure. "When virtualization is used right, it will be everywhere," says
GlassHouse Technologies' Foskett.
Virtualization shows up in practically every part
of networked storage and is a central component to
any unified storage strategy. Any automated heterogeneous storage management strategy will require
a virtualization layer to mask the complexities and
intricacies of the underlying storage devices. We
don't think 2007 will see the issue of where to put
virtualization resolved, but we do believe that there
won't be any question about its value.
File virtualization will be especially hot in 2007.
With NAS growing rapidly in the data center, Robert
Stevenson, managing director, storage practice at
New York City-based TheInfoPro Inc., says in 2007
storage managers will focus on improving their file
content with file virtualization products such as
Acopia Networks Inc.'s Adaptive Resource Switch
(ARX) and EMC's Rainfinity.
The best way to understand thin provisioning is to
think about airline overbooking. By analyzing passenger behavior, airlines know that a certain number
of passengers won't show up at departure. So they sell
more seats than they have available.
"[Thin provisioning] is no different than overbooking," says Greg
Schulz, founder and senior analyst, The StorageIO Group, Stillwater,
MN. "You tell
each host that it has more storage available to it than
it actually has, knowing that it's unlikely to need all
that storage anytime soon."
The key to thin provisioning is to track usage closely and install more physical capacity before you need
it. "A lot of vendors are offering thin provisioning
today. The difference is how well they track and predict capacity usage," says Schulz.
3PAR pioneered thin provisioning, but other vendors, such as Compellent, LeftHand Networks Inc.
and Network Appliance have jumped in, says Mark
Bowker, analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group, Milford,
MA. Pillar Data Systems Inc. will add thin provisioning to its Axiom array early next year and Bowker
expects more companies to do the same.
Thin provisioning differs from storage on demand.
With storage on demand, the extra capacity is physically resident in the array, but not accessible until
you purchase the key and provision it. In thin provisioning, there's no extra physical capacity. When you
need more physical disk, you just plug it into the array when it arrives. As far as the hosts are concerned,
the capacity, fully provisioned, has always been there.
Poised to take off in 2007
Those are the five technologies we feel will be "hot"
in 2007. Large enterprises with mainframe data centers will find
tape-based hardware encryption an enticing solution to securing
corporate data. Small and
midsized organizations have gravitated to iSCSI SANs
and more will follow. Now large organizations can
add iSCSI SANs to their infrastructure to give them
options when aligning storage with business needs.
Almost every organization can take advantage of
large-capacity disk drives for backup, compliance or
archiving. Thin provisioning provides what amounts
to just-in-time storage acquisition, which saves money. Finally, even
though we've listed virtualization as
a hot technology before, trust us: This is the year virtualization,
especially file virtualization, really becomes hot.
Top Wireless Providerms Real World Experience With
Deploying Advanced.Features On iSCSI.
AIRCLIC® BUILDS TIERED STORAGE ENVIRONMENT
WITH EQUALLOGIC® SAS AND SATA ARRAYS
AirClic, Inc., headquartered in Newtown,
Pennsylvania, develops software and provides mobile information services to more
than 500 customers worldwide. The company was founded in 1999, and today its
50 employees are primarily focused on
developing mobile handset solutions that
provide a simple, cost-effective means for
a mobile workforce to capture and
exchange information using wireless
devices. Captured customer data flows
back through AirClic's hosted Oracle® based middleware application from which
customers can access data through a
simple network request. With AirClic
archiving their data for up to 30 days and
making it available to them, customers
avoid having to manage infrastructure that
directly integrates to the handsets.
PERFORMANCE AND SCALABILITY
FOR RAPID GROWTH
Customer data in AirClic's Oracle database must be available 24 x 7, requiring a
dependable, high performance storage
infrastructure. It was clear to Vice
President of Technology Andy Monroe that
AirClic's direct attached storage was not a
viable long-term solution in terms of
performance or scalability for the rapidly
growing business. His original perception
was that only a Fibre Channel SAN would
support the performance requirements of
his highly transactional database,
but being in a wireless business where
everyone understood TCP/IP, he decided
to take a look at iSCSI solutions after
evaluating mid-range arrays from EMC
Corporation, Network Appliance, Inc.,
According to Monroe, selecting EqualLogic
was an easy decision. He particularly
remembers the sales representative saying that he would have an array up and
running in 20 minutes ' Monroe assumed
it was just a sales gimmick, but was
thrilled to discover it was true. Another
vendor had taken six hours to get an array
up and running, and even then Monroe's
staff spent a great deal of time setting up
a volume. "I have a very intelligent staff,"
he says, "and the fact that it wasn't obvious how to create a volume and get it to
the server just boggled our minds."
EqualLogic's ease of administration is a
big benefit. It allows Monroe to use existing knowledge assets and not have to hir
or train staff on Fibre Channel. The architecture of the EqualLogic PS Series
arrays enables him to scale easily without
downtime. The other vendors could not
offer this, and for an organization that is
growing rapidly and requires "five nines"
availability of customer data, non-disruptive scalability is key.
Monroe originally purchased two PS100E arrays to
provide a networked storage environment only for the
Oracle database supporting the mission-critical
middleware. Oracle is run with two servers, a primary
and standby that can be used for load balancing and
failover. To ensure safe and easily recoverable data,
Monroe then connected two other sets of
primary/standby Oracle servers to the EqualLogic
array for data mart and reporting applications.
Realizing that simple management and scalability
could change his entire operational infrastructure,
Monroe decided to virtualize as many servers as
possible using VMware and EqualLogic, ultimately
consolidating 25 standalone servers for applications
ranging from pre-production testing, e-mail and corporate accounting onto 5 servers running VMware.
Says Monroe, "We would never have done that without the EqualLogic SAN ' that's what really motivated
our server consolidation."
MULTIPLE EQUALLOGIC TIERS MATCH ARRAYS
WITH SERVICE LEVELS
Monroe was able to build a tiered storage environment by purchasing two additional EqualLogic arrays,
this time selecting the new high-performance
PS3800XVs. Because the hosted middleware data is
turned over very quickly with large amounts of random
I/O, AirClic needs very fast, high-performance storage
rather than lots of space. The 15K RPM SAS disk
drives in the arrays deliver that, outperforming Fibre
Channel arrays from larger vendors in apples-to-apples testing Monroe set up. To ensure support the
performance levels needed for his Oracle databases.
He conducted benchmark tests with Oracle's Orion
Calibration utility using small random I/O workloads to
simulate transactions. On an EqualLogic PS3800
and an EMC® CX-500i, both with the same number of
disks running at the same speed ' 15K RPM, Monroe
says, "We were seeing about 4,000 IOPS on the
EMC unit and about 4,200 IOs per second (IOPS) on
the EqualLogic unit."
"Tiered storage is a really big win for us ' we just plug
it in, and anything we need will migrate there automatically. We can scale independently according to our
needs." Other non-transactional data including
Exchange, engineering designs, other Oracle databases, and VMware servers reside in another storage
tier, using the PS100E arrays with 7200 RPM SATA
disk drives. "Anything of value we now put on the
SAN, including source code, documentation, everything," says Monroe.
Databases are protected with Oracle DataGuard
asynchronous replication to an off-site location.
Snapshots using EqualLogic's built-in capabilities are
completed for extra protection in addition to standard
backup to tape. Says Monroe, "We hadn't thought
about using snapshots before, but now I'm pretty
much addicted to it. We take a snapshot before
doing any kind of maintenance ' the other night a
server upgrade failed, so we restored to a snapshot
and were back up and running in a matter of minutes."
Monroe says the EqualLogic SAN's impact on AirClic
has been dramatic. The system is simple, fast to set
up, and easy to scale and manage. Monroe and his
staff no longer worry about the impact of the company's success on storage infrastructure ' knowing they
can scale easily without disruption is a tremendous
relief. Says Monroe, "Storage is something we don't
have to think about any more ' so we can focus more
on our customers and less on infrastructure. It's taken
a big load off of our operations."
SIMPLIFYING NETWORKED STORAGE
EqualLogic PS Series solutions deliver the benefits of
storage consolidation in an intelligent, enterprise-class storage system that is easy to install, manage
and grow. Let us show you what simplifying networked storage can mean for your business, visit our
web site at www.equallogic.com.
iSCSI is not only here to stay, it's likely to take
a leading role in many storage shops.
We've watched iSCSI grow from a standard into a real
technology that has spawned specific products, to the
point where there are a large number of vendors providing iSCSI products. More importantly, we're seeing user
adoption of iSCSI growing rapidly.
The vast majority of iSCSI customers still have Fibre
Channel (FC) in their SANs. However, iSCSI has gained a
substantial foothold without necessarily displacing FC,
and the iSCSI juggernaut appears to be unstoppable.
There's a great deal of value in networking storage, but
the majority of IT shops still use DAS to some extent. FC
has failed to reach the ubiquity of other computer networking technologies largely because of its cost and com-
plexity. The Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) believes that
IP-based networking, with iSCSI as a fundamental technology, has the potential to raise the
level of adoption to reach the masses.
We're just on the threshold of iSCSI becoming a prevalent and widely adopt-
ed technology, but there are signs the
technology could surpass FC in the
iSCSI has momentum
FC isn't about to go away, but over
time it could be relegated to just highend applications. The continued existence of FICON (and even ESCON)
is evidence that technologies remain
useful despite the introduction of attractive alternatives. With so much invested in current FC infrastructures
and the internal politics of who "owns
the network" with iSCSI such a strong
factor, the continued use of FC is assured for a long time to come. The
technology is making strong inroads
with companies of all sizes and among
ESG performed in-depth research
focusing on iSCSI adoption, surveying
511 companies of all sizes and across
all industries. Here's a summary of our
- iSCSI ADOPTION IS IN THE "EARLY
MAINSTREAM" STAGE. Of the 511 com panies and organizations that were
surveyed, 17% have iSCSI deployed in a production environment and another 20% plan to deploy an iSCSI SAN.
Early adopters and planned adopters represent 37% of
the companies we surveyed. Based on these statistics, ESG
believes iSCSI is well within the "early mainstream" of
- THERE'S SIGNIFICANT ACTIVITY ACROSS ALL MARKET SEGMENTS,
BUT ADOPTION IS HIGHEST IN COMPANIES WITH BETWEEN 1,000 AND
4,999 EMPLOYEES. Twenty-two percent of small enterprise
organizations (those defined as having 1,000 to 4,999 employees) surveyed have deployed an iSCSI SAN, followed by
19% of large enterprise (20,000 or more employees) firms,
17% of midmarket (100 to 999 employees) companies,
12% of enterprise (5,000 to 19,999 employees) firms and
11% of small organizations (fewer than 100 employees).
- LOWER COSTS AND EASE OF MANAGEMENT ARE KEY REASONS
WHY EARLY AND PLANNED ADOPTERS ARE EMBRACING iSCSI.
Lower capital and operational costs are the primary reasons
respondents have implemented'or plan to implement'
an iSCSI SAN. The ease-of-use aspects of iSCSI also rank
very highly. Respondents feel iSCSI will provide lower
operating costs, ease of deployment and management, and
will allow them to leverage their current IT skills, which
equates to iSCSI being easier to manage over its life cycle vs. Fibre Channel.
- EARLY ADOPTERS ARE SATISFIED OR VERY SATISFIED WITH
THEIR iSCSI SANS. iSCSI early adopters rated every aspect
of their iSCSI SANs positively, including network performance, operational costs, capital costs, app performance,
reliability for mission-critical apps, interoperability, ease
of installation and ease of management.
- iSCSI PERFORMANCE IS STILL MISUNDERSTOOD. Many of
those who plan to implement iSCSI storage have concerns
about performance, but still intend to go forward with
iSCSI SANs. Some nonadopters would reconsider deploying an iSCSI SAN if they had documentation prov-
ing iSCSI performance was sufficient for their needs.
- EARLY ADOPTERS VALIDATE THAT PERFORMANCE ISN'T AN
ISSUE. Our quantitative research and qualitative interviews
consistently confirm that iSCSI performance isn't an issue.
Eighty-seven percent of early adopters were very satisfied
or satisfied with iSCSI network performance, while 82%
were very satisfied or satisfied with iSCSI application performance. Early adopters ranked network performance
and application performance as the two highest attributes
in overall customer satisfaction, hopefully helping to dispel the concerns of planned adopters and nonadopters.
- CURRENT iSCSI SANS ARE USED MAINLY FOR TIER-1 AND
TIER-2 APPLICATION PRIMARY STORAGE.
Fifty-eight percent of early adopters use iSCSI for their Tier-2
application primary storage, with 50% using iSCSI for their Tier-1 app
primary storage, an indication that users are confident in the
capabilities of their iSCSI SANs. Planned adopters are also principally
interested in using iSCSI for Tier-2 application primary storage, but a
significant percentage (36%) are planning to use iSCSI for Tier-1
primary application data. Early adopters and planned adopters currently
use or expect to use iSCSI for a number of other apps, including
secondary storage, digital archiving and disaster recovery.
- iSCSI DEPLOYMENTS ARE ADDITIVE TODAY, BUT THE DATA
INDICATES THAT iSCSI WILL REPLACE FC SANS OVER THE NEXT
THREE YEARS. While the majority of early adopters have implemented iSCSI for separate SAN buildouts, this will
change over the next three years. The majority of early
iSCSI adopters who also have an FC SAN infrastructure
plan on replacing FC SAN deployments over the next
three years significantly or to some degree. This is a strong
and clear indication that early adopters of iSCSI are gaining confidence in the technology and that it's proven its
value over FC.
- FILE-BASED CONTENT IS THE NO. 1 APPLICATION TYPE FOR
CURRENT AND PLANNED iSCSI SANS.
Some 74% of early adopters are using their iSCSI storage for file-based
content, followed by database (45%), email (44%) and collaboration
(37%) applications. Planned adopters attached the same level of
priority to these application types.
- 10 GIGABIT ETHERNET WILL INFLUENCE iSCSI ADOPTION.
Several data points from ESG's research indicate a relationship between
the deployment of 10Gb Ethernet and increased adoption of iSCSI. First,
ESG discovered a direct relationship between usage of and interest in
iSCSI and usage of and interest in 10Gb Ethernet. Second, ESG found
that 26% of iSCSI planned adopters say they wouldn't purchase an iSCSI
storage system without support for 10Gb Ethernet, and that more than
half of these planned adopters would prefer 10Gb Ethernet support.
Finally, 25% of iSCSI nonadopters say that deployment of 10Gb Ethernet
in their organization would cause them to reconsider iSCSI.
- NONADOPTERS FIND EXISTING NETWORKED STORAGE SOLUTIONS MEET THEIR CURRENT REQUIREMENTS BUT WOULD
RECONSIDER DEPLOYING iSCSI AT SOME POINT. The main reason why most nonadopters don't currently plan to imple-
ment an iSCSI SAN is their belief that their existing SAN
and NAS solutions meet their current requirements. These
users are also clearly interested in maximizing the investment their organizations have made in existing SAN/NAS
resources. This apparent concern over investment protection is reflected in the fact that many of these nonadopters
say they would reconsider iSCSI once their current networked storage assets reach end of life or full depreciation.
Just the tip of the iceberg
This ESG research study finds iSCSI to be a viable alternative to FC that users are implementing in increasingly
larger numbers. It's being used in a number of ways, including mission-critical applications within companies
and organizations of all sizes and across different industries. iSCSI will continue to advance and flourish with
accelerating adoption in the years ahead.
Why iSCSI ?
IP-based SANs deliver the performance of
Fibre Channel, but at a fraction of the cost.
iSCSI-based SANs deliver performance of Fibre Channel, but at a fraction of the cost.
Although the price of storage hardware
has been decreasing, the voracious
demand for data and the accompanying
increase in administrative costs threaten
to swamp all other factors in reducing the
total cost of ownership. The compound
annual growth rate for storage is 68%,
while administrative costs run seven times
the cost of hardware. Mid-range
businesses are stuck with inefficient
direct-attached storage (DAS) or forced
to invest resources in complex and often
proprietary technologies. There is also no
guarantee that hardware will work together, and storage management remains
cumbersome, at best. What is needed is
a standard for networked storage that
brings the benefits of consolidated
storage to a broad range of businesses.
Developed by the Internet Engineering
Task Force (IETF) as a response to the
need for interoperability in networked
storage, iSCSI lets businesses leverage
existing skills and network infrastructure
to create IP-based SANs that deliver the
performance of Fibre Channel, but at a
fraction of the cost.
HOW IT WORKS
iSCSI is built on two of the most
commonly understood protocols: SCSI
and Ethernet, the dominant standards for
storage and networking. Utilizing an
ordinary IP network, iSCSI transports
block-level data between an iSCSI initiator on a server and an iSCSI target on a
storage device. The iSCSI protocol
encapsulates SCSI commands and
assembles the data in packets for the
TCP/IP layer. Packets are sent over the
network using a point-to-point connection. Upon arrival, the protocol translates
data back to SCSI. Security is provided
through iSCSI authentication and virtual
private networks (VPNs), as needed.
When an iSCSI initiator connects to an
iSCSI target, the storage is seen by the
operating system as a local SCSI device
that can be formatted as usual. The
process is transparent to applications, file
systems, and operating systems. By
consolidating storage with an iSCSI SAN,
different platforms can share the same
storage, greatly improving utilization and
efficiency. Multi-protocol switches enable
co-existence between iSCSI and Fibre
To access iSCSI storage, all a server needs is an
iSCSI initiator connected to a network. An initiator
can be an iSCSI driver with a standard network card
or a card with a TCP offload engine (TOE) to reduce
CPU utilization. Also available are HBAs that offload
both TCP and iSCSI. On the target side, storage
devices similarly implement the iSCSI protocol stack.
With the advent of Gigabit Ethernet, iSCSI can deliver performance comparable to a Fibre Channel SAN.
Recent advances in 10GB Ethernet make iSCSI
superior to any other storage solution.
BENEFITS OF iSCSI
- Simplified deployment and management:
appliances can be set up with minimal effort,
typically in 20 minutes or less.
- Enables cost-effective, scalable, secure,
and highly-available SANs.
- Leverages existing management skills and
- Delivers performance comparable to Fibre Channel.
- Provides interoperability using industry standards.
- Implemented by the top system, storage, and
With iSCSI, businesses can get a handle on storage
administration expenses without retrofitting their existing network infrastructure or investing in hardware
that quickly becomes obsolete. Enabling low cost,
interoperable, and high performance SANs, iSCSI is
about to revolutionize the world of networked storage.
To view other Coffee Break Bulletins or to learn more
about EqualLogic, visit us at www.equallogic.com.
Register to attend a live on-line product demonstration with EqualLogic.
View EqualLogic's available white papers
To learn more watch EqualLogic's educational webcasts
EqualLogic, Inc. , is the leading provider of enterprise-class midrange storage area network
(SAN) solutions that provide enterprises of all sizes the best return on investment in the storage
industry. The company's PS Series family of ers an af ordable, easy-to-manage alternative to
traditional storage systems and gives customers a range of choices in performance, capacity,
and cost. EqualLogic's dynamic virtual storage technology delivers simple set up, automated
management, reliable data protection, on-demand scalability, and multiple tiers of storage in
a single SAN. EqualLogic PS Series SANs integrate seamlessly with a host of industry-leading
storage solutions from its broad family of technology partners.