Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Lori MacVittie, Dana Gardner, Michael Bushong, Elizabeth White, Greg Ness

Related Topics: SDN Journal, Java, SOA & WOA, Linux, Virtualization, Security

SDN Journal: Blog Post

Converging Your Storage Network Without Fear

The days of completely separate storage network technologies are quickly fading

The days of completely separate storage network technologies are quickly fading. It feels like it’s only a few years ago that Fiber Channel was the way to create large scale storage networks. Big honking storage devices on a separate network, connected to Fiber Channel switches, connected with Fiber Channel adapters into servers. With 10GbE becoming cost effective and matching or outperforming 2, 4 or even 8Gbit Fiber Channel, Fiber Channel over Ethernet was invented, mostly as a mechanism to allow Ethernet based attachments to existing Fiber Channel installations. It’s a bit clumsy, but it works.

A variety of Ethernet and IP based storage mechanisms have gained significant popularity in the past few years. Storage has become denser and cheaper, and advances in file system technology have made it much more convenient to distribute storage and access it as if it was one large system. Most of the customers we find have a mixture of server co-located storage (typically 4-10 TB per system) to mid size storage arrays in the 10s to 100s of TB that are distributed across the network. Whether it’s NAS, iSCSI, ATA over Ethernet or any other Ethernet or IP based storage technology, it is clear that networked storage is where we are going. Don’t get me wrong, FC and FCoE will be around for a long time to come. Billions of dollars have been invested and those dollars will be protected. But even the bellwether FC storage companies provide ethernet and IP based access to their arrays these days.

Interestingly enough though, while many have made or are making the transition to, dare I call it, traditional network technologies for storage transport, many still create separate, parallel ethernet networks for storage. Servers have multiple NICs, with some of them dedicated to the storage network. The reasons for this separation are fairly straightforward. Storage used to be dedicated, it still is, but now on cheap 10GbE. The people that manage the storage still have the same full control, its still a storage network. All of the management, provisioning and tuning tools apply, all that really happened is a change of the medium. But above all, any time I have had a “why don’t you converge your storage and data network” discussion with a customer, it has almost always comes to a fear of running storage traffic and regular data traffic on the same network. It’s a fear of interference, congestion, perhaps a fear of the unknown “what happens to my storage performance when I run the two on the same network?”

The folks at Network Heresy have spent a few articles on the age old network problem of mice and elephant flows. Combining storage and regular data on the same network will amplify this problem. Storage functions like replication and archiving are extremely likely to be elephant flows and can have quite the impact on the rest of the flows. Perhaps that fear is rational?

There are certainly ways to try and engineer your way through this, but they are awfully complicated. I can create a different class of service for storage traffic, queue it differently, give it different drop preferences and use all the other tricks to try and ease the potential for interference. But still, the data traverses the same links and all we have done is made one more important than the other. Which may be perfectly valid for replication and archiving, but not at all for real time access to storage for regular applications.

So what if you could separate your storage and regular data traffic while on the same, single ethernet? What if you could isolate traffic to and from storage to use specific links, while all other traffic would use other links. Give lowest hop count paths to applications and storage that require the lowest latency, give paths with more latency but more available bandwidth to those replication and archiving flows that are not particularly latency sensitive. You can create a single ethernet network, and still separate your storage traffic and regular data traffic. I have seen solutions that propose a virtualized L2 network to separate the two types, but  that only provides logical separation, they still flow across the exact same links, with the potential of interference.

A controller that manages topologies and paths based on end to end visibility and allows you to articulate in fairly abstract terms what you want separated, gives you this option. Having that same controller integrate with the storage management so that this can be fully or partially automated, even better. Think about it, a single storage and data network where you control how converged or diverged the various data streams are is very powerful. We have demonstrated this in the past and there are real solutions based on these capabilities.

We are collectively making the step into network based storage. We should also make the step to run this effectively with maximum performance and minimal interference on a single network. It really can be pretty simple…

[Today's fun fact: Sony was the last major company to stop producing 3.5 inch floppy disks in 2011. In 2009 they still sold 12 million of them. Oh I miss my Commodore VIC-20 with its tape drive.]

The post Converging your storage network without fear appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Marten Terpstra

Marten Terpstra is a Product Management Director at Plexxi Inc. Marten has extensive knowledge of the architecture, design, deployment and management of enterprise and carrier networks.

@CloudExpo Stories
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, p...
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
Verizon Enterprise Solutions is simplifying the cloud-purchasing experience for its clients, with the launch of Verizon Cloud Marketplace, a key foundational component of the company's robust ecosystem of enterprise-class technologies. The online storefront will initially feature pre-built cloud-based services from AppDynamics, Hitachi Data Systems, Juniper Networks, PfSense and Tervela. Available globally to enterprises using Verizon Cloud, Verizon Cloud Marketplace provides a one-stop shop fo...
Leysin American School is an exclusive, private boarding school located in Leysin, Switzerland. Leysin selected an OpenStack-powered, private cloud as a service to manage multiple applications and provide development environments for students across the institution. Seeking to meet rigid data sovereignty and data integrity requirements while offering flexible, on-demand cloud resources to users, Leysin identified OpenStack as the clear choice to round out the school's cloud strategy. Additional...
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com...
We are all here because we are sold on the transformative promise of The Cloud. But what good is all of this ephemeral, on-demand infrastructure if your usage doesn't actually improve the agility and speed of your business? How must Operations adapt in order to avoid stifling your Cloud initiative? In his session at DevOps Summit, Damon Edwards, co-founder and managing partner of the DTO Solutions, will highlight the successful organizational, process, and tooling patterns of high-performing c...
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from ha...
Software-driven innovation is becoming a primary approach to how businesses create and deliver new value to customers. A survey of 400 business and IT executives by the IBM Institute for Business Value showed businesses that are more effective at software delivery are also more profitable than their peers nearly 70 percent of the time (1). DevOps provides a way for businesses to remain competitive, applying lean and agile principles to software development to speed the delivery of software that ...
Docker offers a new, lightweight approach to application portability. Applications are shipped using a common container format and managed with a high-level API. Their processes run within isolated namespaces that abstract the operating environment independently of the distribution, versions, network setup, and other details of this environment. This "containerization" has often been nicknamed "the new virtualization." But containers are more than lightweight virtual machines. Beyond their small...
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's

An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Ar...
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the ...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Our premise is Docker is not enough. That's not a bad thing - we actually love Docker. At ActiveState all our products are based on open source technology and Docker is an up-and-coming piece of open source technology," explained Bart Copeland, President & CEO of ActiveState Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...