For the past year or two, the main impediments to implementing storage area networks (SANs), according to users, have been high cost of entry, lack of interoperability, and lack of SAN management tools. Now that prices are dropping due to intense competition, and interoperability problems are fading, the focus is squarely on storage management.
One promising development is so-called SAN appliances (aka storage domain managers) and storage virtualization techniques. Veritas, for example, plans to ship virtualization software next month, and Compaq has also demonstrated impressive virtualization capabilities. And smaller vendors, such as Gadzoox and TrueSAN, are building SAN appliances based on DataCore's SANsymphony software. (For more information on SAN appliances and storage virtualization, see this month's cover stories.)
A number of feature articles in this issue also tackle storage management technologies and solutions. For example, in the last of a three-part series on SAN-based data sharing, Marc Farley explains how installable file systems can be used for data sharing ("Three models for SAN-based data sharing").
And Chris Stakutis explains why shared file systems can be advantageous in heterogeneous SAN environments ("Benefits of SAN-based file system sharing"). Stakutis focuses on specific applications, such as databases, backup, and data mining/warehousing, while outlining various approaches to shared file systems.
Although they're not SAN-specific, two more feature articles explore storage management issues. "Disaster recovery planning strategies" explains the advantages of electronic vaulting, and "Hierarchical storage management: the basics" provides a beginner's guide to the potential benefits of HSM software.
Labs Review: Mammoth-2
Although vendors such as EMC are predicting the demise of tape technologies, market studies indicate a healthy market for tape libraries. However, a big battle is expected this year between various mid-range tape formats, including SuperDLT, LTO, AIT-2, and Mammoth-2. Our Labs Review this month benchmarks Exabyte's Mammoth-2 against other tape technologies, with impressive results.
Dave Simpson, Editor-in-Chief