Storage Networking, Disaster Recovery Preparedness
By extending storage and data applications to geographically dispersed locations and backing up business information, enterprises gain improved storage capacity and network performance with high availability, flexibility, and security. To successfully extend data over distance and improve disaster recovery capabilities, enterprises need a storage extension device that supports a diverse set of protocols, such as Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel, FICON, and ESCON, enabling the consolidation of connectivity for multiple applications such as SAN, LAN, mainframe, and open systems over any SONET, DWDM, or fiber network.
In addition, enterprises must ensure the highest quality of service (QoS) for applications such as disk mirroring and tape backup running on both mainframe and open systems platforms between the data centers. This will help achieve optimal network performance. And finally, because improved performance monitoring of a network is essential for rapidly detecting and isolating errors, a business continuance network must also allow visibility and control from a single point when transmitting data from its multiple applications between data centers.
Enterprises continue to demand increased value and immediate ROI from services, along with more flexible offerings. Efficiently and cost-effectively building or extending multi-vendor, local, and remote networked storage solutions improves data availability for business continuity, reduces costs, and gains business efficiency. To meet current and future disaster recovery needs, enterprises must strive to:
- Leverage Existing Infrastructure – Whether an enterprise has already built a storage infrastructure and deployed capital-intensive networking, such as DWDM and channel extenders, or is extending its business continuance applications for the first time, it must leverage its existing infrastructure to keep costs low. However, an enterprise’s various data center protocols – Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel, ESCON and FICON – as well as NAS, SAN, LAN and mainframe applications, were not developed to be stretched over extended distances. Consequently, the infrastructure must provide native support for all leading storage protocols to make the most of existing resources, without incurring substantial, additional costs. This is made possible by some of the storage extension solutions on the market.
- Increase Bandwidth Utilization – Traffic and congestion can slow and even interrupt applications using data storage networks. A SAN must be able to dedicate bandwidth to efficiently transport data from a variety of protocols, such as FC, FICON, GbE and ESCON while leaving the remaining bandwidth for other links.
- Improved Network Performance – By maximizing network bandwidth and flexibly directing traffic streams, enterprises can optimize QoS to simplify their operational model, optimize network throughput and reduce latency.
- Reduced Cost of Ownership – In addition to ensuring the reliability of storage overdistance, an optimized and extended storage network also achieves significant first-time cost savings, lowers maintenance costs, and maximizes personnel resources through improved visibility and monitoring.
- Qualifications with Leading SAN Vendors – To minimize the additional costs and stress that frequently comes with upgrading technologies, enterprises should also utilize storage and networking technologies that have been qualified with leading SAN vendor solutions. This ensures that the new disaster recovery solution will be successful and hassle free.
SONET – Simple, Secure, Survivable Storage
SONET (Synchronous Optical Network or its international equivalent SDH) is an ubiquitous dedicated network service that enables high volumes of information to be transported between enterprise data centers over any distance. Not only is it a proven, highly available, high quality, scalable networking technology, but SONET is the most survivable, high bandwidth networking technology available today from every carrier and service provider. In fact, analysts estimate that more than 150,000 SONET rings are deployed in North America, interconnecting every major urban center. This means more than 85 percent of businesses in North America can immediately access SONET today.
Given today’s growing storage needs and impending regulatory issues, SONET is an outstanding technology for extending disaster recovery and storage solutions over greater distances. Storage over SONET equipment provides native support for Fibre Channel, ESCON, FICON and GbE, enabling enterprises to leverage existing network connections and SONET’s multiple performance optimization capabilities to transport data without adding extra layers to the network. As a result, information can be transported over great distances without limitations and Storage over SONET ensures each storage application is provided its own secure, deterministic data path throughout the network.
SONET leverages an existing infrastructure by enabling enterprises to multiplex mixed storage protocols through the enterprise’s existing network, whether it is SONET/SDH, DWDM or dark fiber, while connecting through one of many WAN interface options (DS3, OC-3, OC-12, or OC-48). To improve bandwidth utilization and optimize network performance and QoS, leading Storage over SONET extension devices also provide integrated data compression on all protocols and transports both storage and non-storage traffic, on a single network connection. This is the optimal solution.
Data compression significantly reduces the amount of data transported over the network and enables enterprises to utilize bandwidth more effectively by placing multiple applications on one connection. When combined with the ability to dynamically share MAN/WAN bandwidth between multiple technologies with low latency, data compression allows for up to 10 times more efficient use of WAN bandwidth and can reduce operational costs by as much as 60 percent.
Additionally, software tunable port capabilities that enable an enterprise to configure the port from FC to FICON, or ESCON to FICON, or any other combination, along with the ability to scale from one to eight ports allows a perfect fit to the diverse and changing needs of the enterprise.
And finally, SONET technologies also offer tremendous visibility and control from a single point when transmitting data from multiple applications and platforms between data centers, improving performance monitoring and enabling rapid detection and isolation of errors. As a result, these capabilities enable enterprises to minimize MAN/WAN networking costs, make SAN choices that align with their requirements and obtain the performance required to meet their application networking needs regardless of whether leveraging SONET, DWDM, or Dark Fiber.
This technology also enables enterprises to monitor, report, and provision network traffic to minimize performance issues and facilitate rapid fault isolation and provides a physical layer of isolation for data security.
As a result, enterprises can now achieve better than “five 9s” service availability and high network and storage management performance. In addition, SONET ensures that meaningful Service Level Agreements (SLAs) specific to enterprise storage networking requirements can be defined and enforced, so an enterprise can go back to the carrier with evidence that they did not meet their SLA, with data on parameters for application data throughput, network latency, and SAN equipment health monitoring.
SONET-ize Your Disaster Recovery Infrastructure
Given today’s environment of heightened risk, the emerging industry regulations and the ever-increasing reliance on 24x7 access to business critical applications and data, enterprises must implement reliable disaster recovery and business continuity plans to ensure its profitability and survival.
SONET empowers enterprises to meet their disaster recovery needs largely through assets they already own or lease, thus ensuring that business critical data and applications are transmitted efficiently and securely between geographically dispersed data centers.
In addition, by optimizing network bandwidth and flexibly supporting multiple concurrent applications and protocols, enterprises can dramatically reduce cost, improve network throughput, reduce latency, and maintain the highest QoS. Most importantly, SONET enables enterprises to ensure network and data storage, security, reliability, and availability while increasing IT productivity, lowering maintenance costs, and saving up to 80 percent of capital costs.
Elaine Bird is director of marketing at Akara Corporation (Ottawa, Ontario). Please feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.