Do you have the need for speed?

Whenever a disk/host interface doubles in speed, the question is: Who needs it? Such is the case with 6Gbps SAS and 8Gbps Fibre Channel.

When switch and HBA vendors moved to 8Gbps Fibre Channel, for example, I spoke to end users that bought the gear and asked them if they had really maxed out on 4Gbps Fibre Channel. The answer was consistently ‘no.' They told me they had plenty of bandwidth headroom with 4Gbps Fibre Channel, but they needed to add switches and HBAs and, at least through the channel, the price premium for 8Gbps performance was minimal, making the migration a no-brainer.

That will probably be the case with storage arrays with 8Gbps Fibre Channel host interfaces, as well as with 6Gbps SAS disk arrays.

However, one application may in fact demand the high speed of 6Gbps SAS drives and/or 8Gbps Fibre Channel arrays: Server consolidation and the rapid move to virtual servers and large numbers of virtual machines (VMs). In those scenarios, there really is a need for speed.

For a rundown of recent product announcements in this space, see the Special Report on p. 14.

In this issue…

Christine Taylor
Using disk in backup/recovery infrastructures is de rigeur today, but there are a number of technology options. If you're confused about the various alternatives, check out "Options for disk-based backup and recovery, p. 20, by the Evaluator Group's Russ Fellows. He sorts out the pros and cons of disk-based backup, VTLs, point-in-time copies (snapshots and mirrors), and remote mirroring/replication, as well as tape-based backup.

If you've experienced the pain of disaster recovery testing (and based on various surveys, it's clear that a lot of you don't even attempt DR testing), go to p. 23 for Taneja Group analyst Christine Taylor's views on what the research firm calls disaster recovery management, or DRM. There aren't many vendors in this space, but DRM tools can take a lot of the pain out of the onerous task of DR testing and change management.

Speaking of DR, a representative from the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) takes a look at "The role of deduplication in disaster recovery" on p. 26; specifically, the combination of replication and data deduplication.

Mark your calendars

The Storage Networking World (SNW) conference and exhibit is coming up October 12—15 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge resort in Phoenix. In additional to the traditional exhibits, presentations and panel discussions, end users may be particularly interested in the "Best Practices in Storage" awards program.

And we're told by the show organizers that some of the sessions and tutorials have been designed specifically for channel professionals, including VARs, systems/storage integrators, OEMs and system builders.

Check it out at www.snwusa.com.

Dave Simpson

This article was originally published on September 01, 2009