An area for operations growth - Storage Area Nets in MANS

Gordon Cook cook at
Fri May 16 21:24:45 UTC 2003

Roxane Googin  is usually ahead of the competition in spotting trends 
in data net use.  here is what has has to say about enterprise use of 

COOK Report:  Where are the metro area networks going?

Googin:  Probably the killer application for the MAN is grid 
computing and storage area networks.  A lot of people think the 
driver for broadband access to the home is going to be multi-media. 
People, when they think about next generation networks, think home 
use.  But this is never where the money has been.  And no phone 
company is ever going to build the infrastructure.

Although these new real time applica tions will clearly send more 
data over the network, the real killer application is going to be 
remote storage and synchronous storage.  Synchronous storage means 
that you have two large servers doing the exact same thing at the 
exact same time in two different locations.

COOK Report:  Like a decentralized disk array?

Googin:  Yes.  The backbone has to be incredibly fast because you 
cannot complete a transaction until you have acknowledgments from 
both disk drives.  This will happen.  Probably this year.  What they 
are already doing is taking fiber channel and putting that on a 
Cienna Core Director optical switch port.  Half of the ports being 
sold on the Core Director now are fiber channel.  They aren't even 
Ethernet.  And this is used for storage area nets (SANs).  These are 
corporate MANs and will have nothing to do with sales to service 
providers.  They are bypass business services where the storage 
arrays may not be more than a kilometer or two apart.  These SANs are 
backing up continuously terabytes of data.  We are talking huge 
applications that will use every bit of access to every bit of 
capacity they can get.

COOK Report:  Is 9/11 a motivation for this?

Googin:  Partly. Not only that but the whole paradigm of the real 
time organization will drive it.  It used to be that your server had 
its own storage.  It was a "stove pipe" connected to the CPU.  Now as 
soon as you decouple that "stove pipe," you can put it anywhere. 
What they are finding is that if they have two of them that are 
mirrored in real time and place remotely that they do not have to do 
as much management of resources.

COOK Report:  Then forget the disaster back up and recovery 
operations?  Those are the next to be marked for extinction?

Googin:  Oh yes.  It is so elegant.  The new architecture cannot be 
supported on direct attached storage.  It must move off the server 
and it is doing so.  If you have to go through a server to get to the 
storage, it simply doesn't work.  Storage can't become just a utility 
until you move it off the server.  The MAN will be backing up 
terabytes of data regularly and in real time. Disaster recovery, in 
real time, comes for "free".

For more detail please see

Fiber & Wireless as First Mile Technology - Fiber Business Models & 
The COOK Report on Internet, 431 Greenway Ave, Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
609 882-2572 (PSTN) 703 738-6031 (Vonage) cook at  Subscription
info & prices at    Fiber 
& Wireless as
First Mile Technology - Fiber Business Models & Architecture, July- 
September 2003,
130 pages available at

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