SAN extension options multiply

By Ann Silverthorn

The number of SANs is proliferating both at central data centers and at remote sites, and the need to extend SANs over long distances is becoming more critical for business continuity, disaster recovery, and compliance applications. As such, it was no surprise that a number of SAN extension vendors were active at the recent Storage Networking World (SNW) show.

Focusing mainly on the disaster-recovery aspect of SAN extension, Paul Savill, vice president of data services at WilTel Communications, outlined at SNW the various SAN connection options. Listed in order of technology fit from remote-site backup to very-high-bandwidth, very-low-tolerance data-center mirroring are IP, Ethernet/MPLS, SONET, and DWDM/optical waves, according to Savill.

Billing itself as a provider of storage extension solutions over any network, PacketLight Networks, headquartered in Israel, has already penetrated the markets in South Africa, Italy, and Spain. The company was testing the US waters at SNW and has been working with carriers such as SBC, Verizon, and WilTel. Yaki Luzon, PacketLight's CEO, says the company's solutions can be used to connect two SANs or to connect a SAN to remote storage.

ADVA Optical Networking, based in Munich, Germany, with operations in the US, was also present at SNW. ADVA's storage solutions use DWDM and are specifically designed for enterprises that multiplex and transport high-speed data, storage, voice, and video applications in a metropolitan area. Its Fiber Service Platform (FSP) line of optical networking products offers storage connectivity for mission-critical applications, such as disk mirroring and disaster recovery.

ADVA's main vertical markets are the financial and medical industries. One of the company's recent customer wins was the New York-Presbyterian hospital system, where ADVA connected storage from six major campus locations and multiple spur sites over 32 square miles. The company is also venturing into the higher-education market. At SNW, Todd Bundy, director of business development and alliances, said that ADVA had joined the Internet2 consortium, which is being led by 206 universities that are working with industry and government to develop and deploy advanced network applications and technologies.

Also at SNW, Ontario-based Nortel Networks showcased optical MAN/WAN extension demos carrying traffic through its SONET (Optical Metro 3500) and WDM (Optical Metro 5100) platforms. Included in the demos were equipment from storage vendors such as Brocade, CNT, EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, and McData. Nortel's Optical Metro product line provides storage extension over CWDM/DWDM or SONET. Nortel officials say that CWDM/DWDM is more appropriate for high-bandwidth extension in a MAN, while SONET is suitable when predictable network performance is needed and lower bandwidth extension is acceptable in either MANs or WANs.

This article was originally published on April 27, 2005