for Storage Area Networks?|
how to find SAN content more easily
I first published a directory of Fibre-channel adapters way back in 1994
- as one of the many buyers guides within the
When I moved all the storage stuff here to
StorageSearch.com in 1998 - SANs were one of the most popular subjects - and I
expanded our coverage to include many other topics which mushroomed around the
SAN space such as routers, switches, GBICs,
SSDs, training, security
Today in 2011 - with hundreds of companies in the SAN market the
old long lists which used to be on this page are no longer useful for helping
you find SAN content.
Instead I suggest you can use site search below
to find SAN related vendors, guides and articles - or click
on this link to get a prepulated search for SAN which you can extend by
adding your own terms.
|In recent years I've been using "FC" as
an abbreviation for "fibre-channel" - particularly when it comes to
adapters and drives. So using FC in your searches will also get you useful
results:- as for example in this link
Because I've written about the SAN market since the
technology started I've been consistent about the way I used terms in news
stories and vendor profiles.
iSCSI - which started as
much later ethernet related terms are not going to get scrambled with your SAN
search results - unless there's a good reason.
The exception is "IP
SAN" - which is a term I resisted using for many years - but has become
widely adopted by vendors as a (they think it's cool but I think it's
misleading) alternative to the perfectly good legacy terms which existed before.
the early 2000s I started a list of SAN software vendors. That became irrelevant
as a directory after a few years when it became clear that most serious
enterprise software vendors had to support storage networks of all types
otherwise they weren't doing anything useful in the market.
all the content here on the mouse site is transitioning to
storage - you'll still find hundreds of articles and thousands of news
stories about traditional FC storage products on this site by using the
|classic SAN articles from
SAN History's 1st Decade
Tuning SANs with Solid
|another $150 million for
Pure Storage |
"the fastest growing storage company in history"
August 29, 2013 - Pure
Storage today -announced
that it has closed an oversubscribed $150 million Series E funding round with
institutional investors which brings the company's total capital raise to $245
million. The company has shipped hundreds of units of its FlashArrays
(fast-enough rackmount SSDs) to a diverse global customer base and claims
it's one of the fastest growing storage companies in the industry's history.
Editor's comments:- in 2001 I started an annual series which
listed the fastest growing
storage companies - based on revenue growth. I ended the series in 2007/8
when the credit crunch kicked in. But you can still see many of the archived
In the last year of the series there were 3 storage
companies which reported over 300% year on year revenue growth. Today Pure
Storage is hinting that its year on year revenue growth is north of 400%.
VCs and SSDs
EMC's acquisition of ScaleIO hints at an SSD server
afterlife for legacy SANs
Editor:- July 16, 2013 - EMC recently
it has agreed to acquire another storage software company - called ScaleIO.
EMC indicated that
ScaleIO's software - which emulates the capabilities of virtual SAN style
storage within the physical implementation of pools of server attached DAS
- makes it easier for users to manage expanding data volumes and reduces the
need for performance planning. The new software will be applied to extend the
application functionality of EMC's
PCIe SSD product lines
and XtremIO rack based flash systems.
Editor's comments:- One
way to view this is it will give EMC similar capabilities to
Nutanix. Or another is
that the EMC/ScaleIO solution (if and when it's done) can be seen as a shot
back across the bows aimed at
software. (You came into our market space - so we're coming into yours.)
a step back however, and it doesn't have to be so personal.
systems have shapes and architectures which date back to a command and control
SAN style architecture
dating back to the 1990s.
If you were trying to solve the same data
processing and content management functions from a clean sheet start today -
you'd probably go for a more "democratic" Google style architecture -
in which most racks in the datacenter are similar - and their function is
defined and can be changed by software - rather than being hardwired by the
description of the box at the time it was invoiced.
It's long been
known that SSD acceleration lets you speed up legacy architectures - but SSD
performance also gives you the freedom to emulate entire applications
environments on cheaper, and more
FIO's ION software in HP boxes enables Breakthrough Shared
Editor:- June 13, 2013 - The performance of
Accelerator software - which you can add to its PCIe SSD cards, any
standard server and some FC adapters to roll your own SAN
rackmount SSD -
is the point of a new
blog by the company
today which celebrates recent benchmarks for
2, 4 and 8
processor HP server configuartions (pdf).
IBM aims to be multi-billion dollar flash systems supplier
April 12, 2013 - 3 years ago I wrote a
blog about the
confusing nature of the "RamSan" brand of SSDs from Texas Memory Systems
given that all the recent models in the family were in fact
flash memory rather than
RAM based - and
furthermore some of the models didn't connect via an
FC SAN but used
it wasn't a surprise to see in yesterday's
by IBM (who
last year) that the RamSan designation has been dropped in favor of the more
accurate sounding "FlashSystem" in those models which migrated
intact to IBM's
enterprise flash product line.
So - for example in the category of
availability rackmount SSDs - the old RamSan-720 (SLC) and RamSan-820
(MLC) have become the new
FlashSystem 720 and 820. If you're not familiar with these fast HA SSDs -
the thinking behind their design came out in an
interview I has with
Holly Frost, CEO of TMS when they were launched in
I missed them - then it doesn't look to me as though TMS's PCIe SSD models
have been so fortunate. I couldn't see them in IBM's range of PCIe SSDs (High
IOPS Modular Adapters) which are based on products and technologies from
LSI. That no-show
may be due to the fact that - unlike TMS's rackmount systems which were
software agnostic - a lot more work is required to efficiently integrate server
based SSDs into a wide range of server products. But I anticipate that
architecture SSD controller technology will resurface in future IBM SSD
Much more significant was the news that IBM is investing
$1 billion in research and development to design, create and integrate
new flash solutions into its portfolio of servers, storage systems and
middleware. IBM also announced plans to open 12 centers of flash competency
around the globe. That demonstrates confidence in the
future scale of the
SSD market and a clear sense of
SSD's place in computer history.
QLogic launches FabricCache PCIe SSD
22, 2013 - QLogic
yesterday entered the
enterprise SSD market
(in the PCI SSD and
SSD ASAPs segments)
its first product - the
10000 Series adapter (pdf) - which provides transparent sharable and
clusterable caching for FC SANs.
The 2 card set (upto 400GB flash,
and 2x 8Gbps FC ports) can deliver upto 310,000 initiator IOPS and
supports upto 2,048 concurrent logins.
Imation acquires Nexsan
Editor:- January 2, 2013 -
it has acquired Nexsan
(which among other things is in the
SSD ASAPs market) for
making history at the US Presidential Debate
October 22, 2012 - supporting the US
Presidential Debate taking place today at Lynn University is a high
storage array from Tegile
"Having won the university's request for proposal
process earlier this year we are diligently working to assemble the technology
that will bring the debate to millions of people and households," said Rob Commins, VP of
marketing, Tegile Systems. "We are honored to be a part of American history
in this important way."
future SSD capacity ratios in the server, SAN and archive?
September 14, 2012 - Have you ever wondered... how much SSD storage should sit
inside servers compared to being located on the SAN?
exact ratio depends on the diverse spread of your data processing activities and
the type of business you're engaged in.
At the extreme boundary
cases the answer will be different if you're Google (say) compared to if you're
an international bank.
For most enterprises the ratio will be something in between.
if you're looking for an ideal magic number - I think an interesting debating
point is to look at what people already do in HPC (high performance computing)
In these situations users have already tried to optimize
performance and the inevitable constraint of cost - but the starting premise is
to place weight on performance.
The storage ratios which emerged
from a recently published
by Intersect360 Research were
- 36% of storage in compute servers
Now I have
to remind you that those numbers were for storage and not for SSDs. But in not
too many years from now when all enterprise storage will be solid state - the
SSDs will still follow application and performance heirarchies too - and I think
the split shown in that report is a reasonable analog to describe
enterprise SSDs in the
silos from the ultrafast through to the fast-enough.
- 63% of storage at the site level (NAS or SAN)
But what about
bulk archive storage?
That will be SSD too -
it almost goes without
saying - but if you try to estimate how much SSD storage will be bulk
archive (performing similar roles to old style
tape libraries and
VTLs) compared to active
SSD storage - during the next decade - some curious factors creep in.
- in legacy storage systems - archive backups and storage are high multiples (in
capacity terms) of active working / online storage. You need copies of stuff for
legal and compliance
reasons, for backup,
disaster recovery etc.
And in the next 5 years or so that may continue to be the case - because it
takes a long time for enterprise architectures to change.
But as we
move towards the pure SSD driven economy - most enterprises will be creating
new data faster than they ever did before (1 month of new date could be more
than the whole year before) and at the same time the inefficiency of
architectures like RAID
will be replaced by the new efficiencies of
architectures - like XtremIO
and Skyera. I'm
tempted to say cloud
-like - but that would be inaccurate - because in raw implementation - there are
both very efficient and some inefficient clouds too.
I'm tempted to
think that the combined result of these 2 factors coming together will be to
shrink down the ratio of raw online to bulk archive storage to one - in best
of breed enterprises - (or maybe even less than one - because of
Are there any useful consequences of any of these
It can be usefule for sizing markets. One example came up on
the same day I was writing this article - related to the possible
cannibalization of 2.5"
PCIe SSDs (including 2.5" SCSIe SSDs) relative to
SAS. But there are many
Fusion-io does a few new things
Editor:- August 2,
2012 - the performance and strategic importance of
SSD software was
reinforced in 2 recent announcements by Fusion-io.
its new ION software
- which is a toolkit for bulding your own network compatible
SSD rack by
adding some Fusion-io SSD cards and their new software to any leading server.
The concept isn't entirely new - because oems have been doing this
with various different brands of
PCIe SSDs for years
and this is a well
established alternative market segment for PCIe SSDs. What is new - is
that it makes the whole thing much easier.
Fusion-io says this new
software product "delivers breakthrough performance over
iSCSI using standard
protocols." (1 million random IOPs (4kB), 6GB/s throughput and 60
microseconds latency in a 1U rack.)
Earlier this week FIO
it was collaborating on getting interoperability in server-side flash and
with NetApp. It's
easier now to write a list of major storage systems oems who aren't doing
something significant with FIO.
CWCDS offers 5TB version of SANbric SSD JBOD
June 19, 2012 - today Curtiss-Wright
Controls Defense Solutions announced a new version of its
FC compatible SSDs the
which supports just under 5TB and weighs about 5 lbs and is designed for
deployment in high speed rugged
data streaming apps such as on-board wide body aircraft, and helicopter
waiting for the true arrival of the PCIe FT SAN?
February 9, 2012 - What's a storage network?
I thought I knew the
answer to that question. Probably you do too. But the topology possibilities
enabled by a new generation of PCIe chips will change the way that servers and
solid state storage can interact - and open up a new fast lane for data. These
concepts are explored in a new article in
Who's who in SSD? - PLX.
And why do you need to know about PCIe chips? Remember there was a
time when no one
cared very much about SSD controllers too. ...click to read the article
highest density FC SAN SLC SSD racks with no SPOF
December 6, 2011 - Texas Memory Systems
imminent availability of the
- a 4 port (FC/IB) 1U
which provides 10TB of usable 2D (FPGA implemented)
RAID protected and hot
swappable - SLC
capacity with 100/25 microseconds R/W latency (with all protections in
place) delivering 400K IOPS (4KB), 5GB/s throughput - with no single point of
failure (at $20K/TB approx list).
The new SSD uses a
regular RAM cache
flash architecture which in the event of
loss has an ultra reliable battery array which holds up the SSD power for 30
seconds while automatically backing
up all data in flight and translation tables to nonvolatile flash storage. On
power up - the SSD is ready for full speed operation in less than a minute.
at HA tier 1 storage markets - the RamSan-720 consumes only 300-400 W - which
makes it practical for high end users to install nearly 1/2
petabyte of SSD
storage in a single cabinet - without having to worry about the secondary
risks which can arise from high temperature build-ups in such enclosures.
The high density and low power consumption of this SSD made it
feasible to stuff over 400TB of usable SSD capacity into a single cabinet
without fear of over
finally SAN-bound - Fusion-io inside Kaminario's K2
September 13, 2011 - Kaminario
it has integrated Fusion-io's
PCIe SSDs as a new
option in its
FC SAN compatible SSD
product line (which was until now
RAM SSD only) to
provide flash and
Using the new options the K2 can provide from 3 to 30TB of
non-stop, protected and self healing, blade server based flash storage in 4U
to 12U of rack space with R/W latency of 260 / 150 microseconds at a list price
of $30K / TB. ...click to
read comments and analysis
SANRAD launches front loadable PCIe SSD accelerators
August 31, 2011 - SANRAD
today introduced front loadable PCIe flash SSD accelerators as options in
V-Switch storage appliances
enabling upto 4TB of flash, together with
2x10GE networking and
2x8Gb FC, all in a single
1U rackmount appliance (or 10TB in 2U).
The unique front-panel installation allows for quick, easy maintenance
and upgradeability in the data center. It enables a "pay as you grow"
approach, allowing customers to add or replace PCIe flash modules without
opening the appliance, similar to the way
HDDs are added to a
SAN Shared File Systems with SSDs
Editor:- July 11,
Shared File Systems with SSDs is the subject of a new blog from Texas Memory Systems.
says in the article - "There is a new option that I have seen
getting deployed more and more often: using high capacity SSDs and a
SAN shared file system. A
SAN shared filesystem provides the locking to allow multiple servers to directly
access the block storage concurrently."
The "new option" above is narrative license - because I know that
TMS has been doing this for years - but this type of configuration is more
common now - because of
declining SSD costs.
I like this article for its conceptual purity (sticks to the theme and
doesn't waffle on about SANs or SSDs) - and it has a nice picture too. ...read
Oracle acquires Pillar
Editor:- June 29, 2011 -
announced it has
entered into an agreement to acquire Pillar Data Systems -
which was already majority owned by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.
comments:- I guess I'd say - So what? This simply ends a fiction which no
one seriously believed in. Pillar was hampered by its ownership which meant
that it could be yanked in any direction at a moment's notice. Pulling the
storage skunkworks inside the Oracle corporate fold will work better for
customers and as a business - even if it may upset some internal stakeholders.
EMC will enter PCIe SSD market
Editor:- May 9, 2011
- EMC today
new strategies related to the
other things EMC said it has created a flash business unit and will enter the
PCIe SSD market later
this year. The company indicated that its run rate of shipping flash storage
array capacity in 2011 is approximately 3x the level it had achieved in
Dataram doubles memory in XcelaSAN
Editor:- April 6,
2011 - Dataram
has doubled the RAM cache available in its
(2U rackmount fibre-channel SAN
SSD accelerator) to
256GB (the system price is approx $75,000).
XcelaSAN delivers up to
30x transparent R/W acceleration to attached
disk storage arrays with a
high-availability architecture (internal performance is
450,000 IOPS). Unlike vanilla SSD accelerators, XcelaSAN dynamically
caches high I/O activity application data when it is needed, to support multiple
applications many times larger than the cache itself.
new capacity upgrade, the XcelaSAN storage optimization appliance allows
customers to dramatically accelerate more applications with a cost-effective,
easy to install storage appliance," said
Caulkins, Chief Technologist, Dataram. "The added cache capacity
allows customers to add cache tiering to a wider range of applications in
addition to their mission critical applications, resulting in improved
performance across their entire business."
Editor's comments:- when Dataram launched the XcelaSAN in
September 2009 -
they published precious little performance data and they didn't offer a simple
high availability option. Now with benefit of customer experience and a
reworking of the design Dataram has a lot more info which describes the product
including a useful (and overdue)
page. Another factor which has changed in the meantime is that more than 20
other manufacturers now offer
SSD Accelerated Pools of storage) with their own flavors of interface, form
factor etc making this a confusing market for potential buyers.
simple pitch for the Dataram ASAP is:- it works with your existing FC SAN
storage arrays and installs in about an hour. Because it does the hot spot
tuning automatically it suits medium sized enterprises who may only need to buy
a single system. These users are not so attractive to high end SSD oems who
for business reasons prefer focusing their technical and sales talent on
customers with high multiple repeat business potential.
thing for me in seeing today's news about doubling the memory in the XcelaSAN is
that Dataram has for decades been the first memory maker to offer
memory capacity for leading servers. Now the company is doing the same thing
NetApp acquires Engenio
Editor:- March 9, 2011 -
announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the Engenio external
storage systems business of LSI for $480 million.
The close is anticipated to occur in approximately 60 days subject to
customary closing conditions.
Engenio will enable NetApp to address
emerging and fast-growing market segments such as
full-motion video capture and digital video surveillance, as well as high
performance computing applications, such as genomics sequencing and scientific
research. NetApp has the channel reach and customer relationships today that
require high performance and big bandwidth capabilities that will be well served
by Engenio's storage platform. NetApp says these segments are expected to
collectively represent a $5
billion incremental market opportunity by 2014.
comments:- LSI has been trying to sell off Engenio since 2004. NetApp will
love them more. For a brief time this past week - searches for Engenio exceeded
that for "SSD". In the previous decade over
500 leading storage
companies were acquired, changed name or went bust.
Xiotech enters FC ASAP market
Editor:- January 31,
2011 - Xiotech
is the latest company to join the crowding
SSD ASAP market with
of its Hybrid ISE - a
3U FC rack with
14TB of capacity and 60,000
performance which internally uses a mixture of
2.5" SSDs and
to many other ASAP vendors - Xiotech claims its systems has "fully
automated set-and-forget simplicity". The company says that using ROI
calculations from weighted I/O counts, automated tiering begins within 1 minute
of I/O and continues to manage the performance requirements of applications in
Editor's comments:- in its
Jan 2011 blog - Xiotech
disclosed that a customer survey it had done about SSD usage revealed "only
9% in-use or currently evaluating the use of SSD. Another 8% responded
that SSDs were in 2011 plans. Of those who've adopted/currently testing SSDs,
over half were using SSDs as part of a storage array. Less that 25% were
deploying memory cards added to servers."
Those figures indicate the
which still remains for the SSD market.
Inside Texas Memory Systems' 8GB/s FC SSD
January 26, 2011 -Texas
Memory Systems today announced the availability of 8Gbps fibre-channel
interfaces for its
RamSan-630 - fast 10TB
3U rackmount SLC
Each unit can be configured with upto 10 independent 8Gb FC
ports for a total data transfer rate of 8 GBytes / sec. Ports can be mixed -
with the previously available (and 25% faster)
comments:- I interviewed Jamon Bowen,
Director of Sales Engineering for TMS - and learned a lot about the internal
design and architecture of this SSD which the company hasn't revealed
before. Click here
to read - key performance enablers inside the RamSan-630.
the future of enterprise data storage
January 23, 2011 -
future of data storage is the lofty sounding but aptly chosen title of a
new article published online today in Broadcast Engineering -
written by Zsolt
Kerekes editor of StorageSearch.com
It's a completely new article which synthesizes and
integrates concepts from several futuristic articles which have already
appeared here on the mouse site and wraps them into a cohesive whole. Anyone
who reads it will get a clear idea of where the incremental changes they read
about in storage news pages (like this one) are likely to end up. ...read
A new way of looking at the Enterprise SSD market
October 4, 2010 - StorageSearch.com
recently published a new article -
Legacy versus New
Dynasty - A new way of looking at the Enterprise SSD market
proposes a new classification method for "enterprise SSDs" which
will help you get through the jungle of new SSD web content - and see all
new products in a new light.