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Storage automation: the future of Serial ATA, tape, CIM, and IP connectivity. (Storage Networking).

The editors of CTR were curious about what the industry had to say about the impact of Serial ATA, tape, CIM, and IP connectivity on storage automation solutions. So we asked companies to cast an eye toward the foreseeable future. Read on to see what they envisioned.

Will Serial ATA impact disk-automation solutions for disk-to-disk (D2D) backup? When? How?

Mike Wentz, Senior Director of Customer Engineering, 3ware

Disk-to-disk (D2D) is basically backing up expensive disks to cheap disks. It's typically used as a tape replacement.

Serial ATA will help:

(1) Legitimize ATA as a storage target.

(2) Scale to much larger capacities than parallel ATA.

(3) Is capable of higher bandwidth (planned upgrades to 300MB/sec and 600MB/sec over the next few years).

Bottom line: SATA should accelerate D2D.

The major driving factor of D2D backup is the price per MB and the performance of ATA drives when utilizing 32KB block transfers, not necessarily the ATA vs. SATA interface. The major advantage of SATA in this environment will be just the ease of cabling and the extended distances of those cables.

All of the companies that are creating these type of solutions today, that are using ATA, are expected to transition to SATA by mid next year. The only thing that may slow that up is the expected $10 to $20 dollar cost delta between like capacity ATA drives. This delta is expected to decline quickly and disappear over the next 18 months. Some of the larger companies involved in this space (EMC, NetApp) are converting from another interface to ATA to provide the scaling capacity that they require. In these cases, the cost difference will be transparent because 12-port SATA products like 3ware's will allow them to eliminate the SCSI to ATA bridge chips that are currently being used.

The majority of these systems are basically NAS devices with lots of disk storage. When the next generation of SATA drive comes out in quantity at 320MB you will see extremely cost effective storage. If you look at the 3ware 12-port, it could now support 3.8TB of raw storage in a 2U enclosure. We have already seen two eight-port controllers supporting 16 drives in a 3U which will provide over 5TB in a single box. To just give an idea of the approximate price of 5TB in a system see below.

* 16 x 320MB drives = $4,800

* 2 x 8-port controller = $1,000

* 3U enclosure with 16 drive bays = $1,200

* Motherboard, CPU, Memory = $650

* Various cables and components = $500

* Disk-to-Disk backup Software = $2,500

* Total Approximate Price = $10,700

That is one powerful system for the price and these cost dynamics are what will continue to drive this space. Drive vendors that differentiate product lines for desktop and enterprise might see an advantage with higher reliability drives and higher performance drives, but by definition this is not a 24x7 application and some downtime is acceptable as long as data is not lost (RAID required). Most downtime is managed downtime. SATA will be a benefit in D2D because of the cabling ease of large numbers of drives, but cost will still be king.

Kevin Judd, Senior Product Manager, Procom Technology

Serial ATA will impact disk automation solutions for disk-to-disk (D2D) backup. Serial ATA drives have a number of advantages over standard ATA. They have higher transfer rates; 150MB/sec vs. 133MB/sec with higher speeds planned for development. This means that as the technology progresses, Serial ATA will get increasingly faster allowing the drives to perform similarly to high-end enterprise drives but at a significant cost savings. D2D solutions will become more viable and attractive, providing high performance at a low cost point. Serial ATA drives are also able to be daisy chained, which makes the number of devices per channel higher and allows for easier scalability. Serial ATA drives have hot-pluggable characteristics, allowing additional drives to be added into a system without powering down, which will alleviate extra costs associated with making ATA drives hot swappable for solutions.

Seagate has indicated that it will ship Serial ATA this fall and additional manufacturers are looking towards a December timeframe. Controller cards will be the true pacing factor. Until cheap controller cards are readily available, it is unlikely that there will be wide adaptation of the technology. Widespread adoption will not be seen until mid to late 2003 partly due to a significant inventory and install base of non-serial product. D2D solutions will be the early adopters of the technology due to the fact that they will not be faced with large legacy, or inventory issues and their products are well suited to take advantage of the benefits the technology brings.

Balint Fleischer, Chief Technologist, Network Storage Products Group, Sun Microsystems

ATA drive technology will be a large component in the HSM space providing cost-effective, high-performance, near-line storage. Companies will see this technology emerge mid to late next year. SATA will improve the attractiveness of this low cost technology.

In tape automation, which tape format is most likely to dominate in the next year? Why?

George Pannhausen, Senior Applications Engineer, EMTEC Multimedia,

Tape automation varies by system platform. In the mainframe environment, only a few vendors dominate tape automation. The two flagship offerings of 3590 and 984X remain the most logical choices. Both products are performing well and each product offers new enhancements every year that improve transfer speed and capacity.

The midrange/server platforms are much different. There are a variety of vendors that offer every tape technology available in an automated library. The problem with many of the technologies is the proprietary formats that are not compatible

One solution is LTO technology. LTO technology has emerged in the last two years and has proven to be a compatible product offered by most automated library vendors. LTO is based on a set of standards for both media and hardware that insures interchangeability, reliability, and a choice of vendors for customers. Automated libraries with only with only a few cartridges to libraries with thousands of cartridges are now available. The LTO migration path ensures customers that their choice of a LTO automated library will be a good investment for years. LTO automated libraries are completely scaleable to meet the needs of almost any application and most backup software products also support LTO technology. Automated LTO libraries are certainly the most logical choice for customers in the coming years.

John Woelbern, Director of OEM Marketing, Sony

For a tape format to be successful in general, it needs to adhere to some key driving factors, including affordability in terms of cost per gigabyte and space efficiency. From Sony's perspective, both its AIT (advanced intelligent tape) and S-AIT formats will thrive next year. Sony's AIT tape storage format covers a broad spectrum of small- to mid-size business needs when incorporated into automated libraries. AIT-1 and AIT-2 make a natural transition for DDS (digital data storage) users looking to upgrade, and AIT-3 is a fast, high-capacity format well suited for midrange and distributed companies.

Sony's S-AIT format, due out this fall, will bring 500GB native/ 1.3TB compressed capacity in a single cartridge to the enterprise market. Automated library solutions based on first-generation S-AIT drives will scale from 4TB in a 2U rack-mountable configuration to more than 500TB in a 1,000-cartridge freestanding library. And, with a second source selling drives and media, S-AIT will have a business advantage on top of a technological edge to prevail in the automated tape library market.

Rich Martino, Product Manager, TDK

The tape format that is likely to dominate in the next year is LTO. There are several reason for this.

1) LTO is an open format: Some formats are controlled by the patent holders and limit the number of manufacturers. LTO is an open format, which means that anyone can sign up to become a licensee. Of course, there are certain requirements that must be met before a license is granted.

2) Price erosion: Since there are over 10 brands offering LTO media this is leading to a price war as companies fight to gain market share. The price for the media has been eroding month to month.

3) Higher capacity than other formats: The Ultrium format is the preferred format when capacity rather than fast access is the key storage consideration. An Ultrium-format Generation 1 cartridge has a capacity of up to 200GB (2:1 compression) and up to 100GB native, while the Ultrium-format Generation 2 cartridge has an increased capacity of up to 400GB (2:1 compression) and up to 200GB native.

Do you foresee standardization under CIM in the next year? Why or why not?

Bob Rogers, Chief Storage Technologist, BMC Software

Companies are already asking about CIM compliance. However, realistically, I see the emergence of CIM in the second half of 2003 or later. The technology is still very immature. It is virtually untested in environments that simulate customer data centers. Furthermore, I suspect that CIM's use in storage management will introduce some fascinating scaling issues that simply do not exist for other disciplines in systems management. Despite my skepticism, I do believe that CIM is important and stands as the only reasonable opportunity to achieve interoperability. BMC invests heavily in CIM through DMTF, contributions to the Pegasus CIMOM, SNIA's Storage Management Initiative (SMI), Bluefin, and the upcoming T11.5 Management Committee.

Mark Lewis, Executive Vice President of New Ventures and CTO, EMC

Yes. Standards are good for the industry and good for customers. For example, CIM/Bluefin standards are the preferred approach to multi-vendor storage management, and EMC is 100% committed to implement them when they're finalized. This form of standardization will begin to emerge in a very meaningful way beginning in the middle of 2003. At that time you'll see both EMC software and EMC storage hardware (e.g. CLARiiON, Symmetrix, etc.) begin to fully support CIM/Bluefin.

Clod Barrera, Director of Storage Strategy, IBM

At IBM, we believe that CIM and Bluefin will happen sooner rather than later. The support for the specification and vigor in which many vendors are pursuing CIM and Bluefin compliant products is encouraging. IBM will demonstrate CIM clients at the upcoming Storage Networking World in Orlando. We have also announced our commitment to roll out CIM/WBEM-based products in calendar year 2003, along with similar commitments from Hitachi, Sun, and Veritas.

Karen Dutch, Vice President of Marketing, InterSAN

Yes, InterSAN believes that over the next 12 months customers will find a wide variety of CIM-compliant hardware and software management products available. The industry is responding to customer cries for improved manageability of multi-vendor storage networks to reduce storage TCO and to enable full exploitation of SAN benefits. Effective CIM implementations will accelerate management solutions that further reduce the complexity and cost of managing SANs and automate the management of storage services at the application level. Management providers will focus on information management capabilities that improve a storage administrator's performance rather than device data collection.

Rick Walsworth, Director of Product Marketing, Maranti Networks

As part of the Storage Management Initiative (SMI) within SNIA, Maranti Networks absolutely supports CIM/WBEM-based standards and we certainly anticipate this occurring within the next 12 months. This is a critical aspect of multi-vendor storage networking growth, especially with the user emphasis behind interoperability and management amongst the different elements that make up storage infrastructure. By providing a common framework to identify, classify, monitor, and control physical and logical storage resources with elements for security and locking, the SMI specification will accelerate deployment of SAN technology within corporate data centers environments. With the enhanced capabilities that the SMI spec will provide combined with SNIA's commitment to providing a complete set of test specifications along with a comprehensive test suite, multi-vendor management and interoperability should be greatly simplified with the availability of CIM compliant devices in 2003.

Steve East, Vice President of Storage Integration, Hitachi Data Systems

Hitachi Data Systems is optimistic that CIM standardization and the rollout of CIM-based products will progress significantly in 2003. There is a lot of momentum in the way of CIM, WBEM and SMI specifications for SAN-based storage management. The industry will begin seeing a lot more partner collaboration in order to speed the process. However, standards are evolutionary and, as a result, products will continue to be a mixture of standard and proprietary for some time.

Steve Guido, Product Manager, Sun Network Storage

Yes, Sun Microsystems anticipates support from the majority of the industry for CIM over the next year. Why? Once customers start experiencing the choice that CIM represents, customers will start demanding these simplified, heterogeneous storage management capabilities from their storage vendors. This increase in demand will help drive vendor adoption. CIM represents the best opportunity to address these requirements. Most of the major industry players have already announced their public commitment to CIM. We also anticipate a strong demonstration of progress in this area during October's Storage Networking World conference in Orlando.

How will the adoption of IP connectivity (iSCSI, IFCP, FCIP) impact automation solutions?

Bob Rogers, Chief Storage Technologist, BMC Software

I cannot imagine a significant effect on automation solutions because of IP storage. However, BMC is well positioned to take advantage of all of these technologies with its focus on both Storage Resource and Network Management. BMC's automation solutions are instrumented to be capable of serving all of these potential environments.

Doug Ingraham, Senior Manager, Cisco Systems

To answer this question in proper context, one fundamental assumption about automation must be established: The primary benefit of automating anything (storage networking processes in this case) is that users can take on more tasks in less time with less people. Given this assumption, IP storage connectivity will greatly benefit automation solutions because it will allow these solutions to be applied on a larger scale, i.e. to the many devices attached to IP networks. This access to more users and devices should accelerate the adoption of automation solutions overall. In turn, the benefits of using automation solutions should become even more evident as users will be able to manage larger, multi-protocol storage networks without additional staff.

The combination of iSCSI and tape automation provides a useful example. iSCSI is the proposed IETF standard for transporting SCSI data over TCP/IP networks. Because it takes advantage of the ubiquity of Ethernet/IP technologies, iSCSI brings the benefits of storage consolidation to a whole new class of servers- entry to mid-range servers that are attached to the network via Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, and now even Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. These relatively lower-performance servers (running applications such as Microsoft Exchange, low-end database systems, etc.) have not typically been migrated to Fibre Channel SANs because they do not meet the financial justification to outfit them with the required Fibre Channel host bust adapters and software. Consequently, most IT departments have chosen to keep these servers in a direct attached storage (DAS) environment. As the number of these servers grew, however, processes such as backup (which all had to be done locally on a server-to-server basis) became increasin gly time consuming and cost ineffective. In fact, the cost required to manage these DAS servers often constituted the largest IT expenditure in a typical enterprise, far exceeding actual acquisition costs or capital expenditures.

With iSCSI, these servers now can be consolidated into a storage network of its own, meaning that IT managers can now perform storage-related techniques such as centralized backup over IP. In the case of tape automation, being able to consolidate tape backup of hundreds of Microsoft NT, Win2K servers that are spread out over the enterprises today would result in monumental cost and operational efficiencies. An effective backup strategy reduces cost, improves data protection, and provides companies a measure of disaster recovery. It is perhaps one of the most compelling reasons technologists sought to develop storage networking techniques such as iSCSI. It will also, in theory, be one of the key drivers for IT managers to adopt more automation solutions for their storage networks.

Peter Wang, CTO and Founder, Intransa

Adoption of IP connectivitiy unleashes myriads of standards, tools, and knowledge from the IP community to accelerate storage automation solutions--from the basic automated address as-signment and management with DHCP and DNS, to device discovery and service location via SLP, to security authentication such as RADIUS. The appropriate integration of well-known and broadly deployed IP technologies allows the deployment of distributed storage resources across the IP network to be managed logically together as a single entity from a central location. Storage automation enabled by the various IP technologies extends from automated device discovery and configuration into virtual pools at the lowest level to the intelligent, policy-driven, ad-aptive resource allocation and fail-over at the highest level. While the same can be achieved by FC SANs, we believe that the broad 4 and readily available IP-based, distributed information technologies will accelerate the availability of high-qualify, cost-effective, storage automation solutions to beyond the traditional high-end data center.
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Publication:Computer Technology Review
Article Type:Industry Overview
Date:Oct 1, 2002
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