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Evolution of storage media technology within the data centre

Big Data is increasing storage demands in a way that could only be imagined just a few short years ago. A typical data record has tripled if not quadrupled in size in just the last five years, however this data now has many forms including structured, semi-structured and non-structured. It is glaringly apparent that the size of databases is growing exponentially. Aside from a company's human resources, data has become the most valuable corporate asset both tangibly and intangibly. How to effectively store, access, protect and manage critical data is a new challenge facing IT departments.

The SANs operate behind the servers to provide a common path between servers and stor age devices. The media on which the data is stored is also changing. With the growth of SANs and the worldwide domination of Internet Protocol IPusing IP networks to transport storage traffic is in the forefront of technical development.

IP networks provide increasing levels of manageability, interoperability and cost-effectiveness. The convergence also provides increased capacities, flexibility, expandability and scalability. With a structured cabling system capable of 10GBASE-T, users are provided with an open and industry standards-based infrastructure that can support multiple converged applications.

The data itself is as important to a business's successful operation as its personnel and systems. The need to protect this strategic asset has far exceeded the capabilities of a tape backup. Tape access and capacities can simply not address the growing demands.

Growing data stores meant having to implement tape libraries. Even then, there are inherent issues with tape media that could only be addressed with either supplemental storage or replacement of the media altogether.

Downtime is one critical factor in today's businesses. These costs alone have pushed the stor age industry to provide redundancy and high-availability.

Further, Federal mandates for the medical and financial industry have created yet another mandate for security and high availability due to compliance requirements. Storage evolution of storage media technology within the data centre technology has developed in the following three main configurations: Direct Attached Storage DAS DAS is the traditional method of locally attaching storage devices to servers via a direct communication path between the server and storage devices.

  • Direct Attached Storage DAS DAS is the traditional method of locally attaching storage devices to servers via a direct communication path between the server and storage devices;
  • A predefined service chain, known more colloquially as a network container, can therefore be activated on the infrastructure as a known unit of consumption;
  • The SANs operate behind the servers to provide a common path between servers and stor age devices;
  • The third one, DAS, has no bearing to professional storage solutions;
  • Although enhancements to STP reduce the overhead of the rediscovery process and allow a Layer 2 network to reconverge much faster, the delay can still be too great for some networks;
  • Although a pair of switches acting as a vPC peer endpoint looks like a single logical entity to PortChannel-attached devices, the two devices that act as the logical PortChannel endpoint are still two separate devices.

As shown in Figure 1, the connectivity between the server and the storage devices are on a dedicated path separate from the network cabling. Access is provided via an intelligent controller. The storage can only be accessed through the directly attached server.

This method was developed primarily to address shortcomings in drive-bays on the host computer systems. When a server needed more drive space, a storage unit was attached. This method also allowed for one server to mirror another. The mirroring functionality may also be accomplished via directly attached server to server interfaces.

Data Center Storage Evolution

It provides file access to het erogeneous computer systems. Unlike other storage systems the storage is accessed directly via the network as shown in Figure 2.

An additional layer is added to address the shared storage files. A separate computer usually acts as the "filer" which is basically a traffic and security access controller for the storage which may be incorporated into the unit itself. The advantage to this method is that several servers can share storage on a separate unit. Unlike DAS, each server does not need its own dedicated storage which enables more efficient utilization of available storage capacity.

The servers can be dif ferent platforms as long as they all use the IP protocol. SANs provide block-level access to shared data storage. Block level access refers to the specific blocks of data on a storage device as opposed to file level access. One file will contain several blocks. SANs provide high availability and robust business continuity for critical data environments.

As shown in Figure 3 the term switched fabric refers to each storage unit being connected to each server via multiple SAN switches also called SAN directors which provide redundancy within the paths to the storage units. This provides additional paths for communications and eliminates one central switch as a single point of failure. Some of these include high speed, support of a switched fabric topology, widespread interoperability, and a large set of management tools.

In a storage network application, the switch is the key element. With the significant number of Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports shipped, leveraging IP and Ethernet for storage is a natural progression for some environments.

  • It connects the Fibre Channel network to the IP network via the networking cabling subsystem;
  • This link is often much smaller than the aggregate bandwidth of the vPCs connected to the endpoint pair;
  • Industry experts agree that cabling infrastructure should be planned to carry data for at least 10 years;
  • Nowadays storage solutions Now we are going to present the different professional or non-daily storage solutions;
  • As having smaller flash units results into something very complicated, technology has turned to portable discs, which are the evolution of hard drives, which make them portable, making storage capacity from 1 TB maximum from a flash unit to a easily 5 TB portable disc, in a pocket size disc;
  • PFC is an enhancement to the pause mechanism.

IP communication across a standard IP net work via Fibre Channel Tunneling or storage tunneling has the benefit of utilizing storage in locations that may exceed the directly attached limit of nearly 10 km when using fiber as the transport medium.

The incor poration of the IP standard into these storage systems offers performance benefits through speed, greater availability, fault tolerance and scalability.

  • Multitenant in this context is the ability to share a single physical and logical set of infrastructure across many stakeholders and customers;
  • The SANs operate behind the servers to provide a common path between servers and stor age devices;
  • First, we will look at Layer 2 physical and logical topology evolution;
  • The media on which the data is stored is also changing.

The IP based management protocols also provide network man agers with a new set of tools, warnings and triggers that were proprietary in previous generations of storage technology. Se curity and encryption solutions are also greatly enhanced. With 10G gaining popularity and the availability of new faster WAN links, these solutions can offer true storage on demand. It is an open, high-speed serial interface for interconnecting servers to storage devices discs, tape libraries or CD jukeboxes or servers to servers.

FC has large addressing capabilities. Similar to SCSI, each device receives a number on the channel. It is the dominant storage networking interface today. The Fibre Channel can be fully meshed providing excellent redundancy. FC can operate at the following speeds: The transmission distances vary with the speed and media.

With FCoE, the packets are processed with the lengths and distances afforded by an Ethernet Network and again, vary according to speed and media. According to the IEEE 802. Switched fabric, as the name implies, is the better solution as it allows for a mesh within the Fibre Channel. It may also be configured in what is known as fabric islands. Fabric islands connect geographically diverse Fibre Channel fabrics.

These fabrics may be anywhere within the range of the medium without IP. With IP, the fabric can reach greater distances as it is extended by routers and links outside of the fabric. They may also comprise different topologies cascaded, ring, mesh, or core-to-edgebut may require additional connectivity for shared data access, resource consolidation, data backup, remote mirroring, or disaster recovery.

Host bus adapters HBAs installed in server, adapters, bridges, routers, and gateways Storage devices: A SAN fabric switch contains a low to medium port count, while a director is a high port count switch generally above 64 ports. Fibre Channel switches can be networked together to build larger storage networks. The HBA is more complex than a traditional Ethernet card. It connects the Fibre Channel network to the IP network via the networking cabling subsystem.

It is a simple, high speed, low-cost, long distance storage solution. One prob lem with traditional SCSI attached devices was the distance limitation. It is more cost effective due to its use of existing equipment and infrastructure. Mixed Architectures Storage Evolution of storage media technology within the data centre Flexibility and low cost are the important driving factors for implementing an iSCSI approach, especially for long distance storage. A number of devices have been developed to address the large installed base of native FC storage solutions in place today.

In order to protect an organization's current investment in storage technology, SAN installations may evolve from a single specific storage network to a mix of Fibre Channel and iSCSI products. The integrated SAN and NAS network will be scaleable and costeffective, it will support multiple protocols and interfaces. This integration will enable customers to optimize their native Fibre Channel SANs by providing reliable connections over long distances using existing electronics by providing a convergence between Ethernet, Fibre Channel and iSCSI protocols.

Storage evolution and study

Since then, there have been multiple amendments mirroring changes within the industry. The standard covers the cabling system design, pathway, and spaces. A robust network cabling foundation is essential. To meet all above requirement, 10GbE copper and laser optimized multimode fiber are the first choices.

TIA recommends category 6A as a minimum copper cabling standard and now OM4 as the minimum fiber standard. The redundancy can be achieved by providing physically separated services, cross-connected areas and pathways, or by providing redundant electronic devices in fabric topologies. Conclusion Storage Area Networks are but one component of converged applications that traverse today's networks.

The benefits of these systems are not only numerous, but completely essential to a business. Providing the bandwidth necessary for all networked applications using a high performance structured cabling infrastructure will ensure their functionality for years to come.

Upgrading or replacing your infrastructure reactively is costly. Industry experts agree that cabling infrastructure should be planned to carry data for at least 10 years.

When fibre channel SANs complement Ethernet networks, dual paths for moving data are provided. Converging fibre channel over Ethernet decreases the number of connections required, but doubles the traffic over the used channels. Increasing bandwidth from gigabit to 10GbE provides more bandwidth for these applications. The Siemon Company is a global market leader specializing in high performance, high quality cabling systems. Siemon cabling systems are backed by an extended warranty covering product quality, performance headroom and applications assurance for up to 20 years.