Storage Networks

Recently a new infographic titled “What Happens in an Internet Minute? caught my attention, not because of the facts, but rather the questions it provoked. What is happening within my applications in the data center?

 

Today, flash technology and high-performance storage networks have changed the way we think about applications and their performance. The diagram below can easily be substituted with enterprise’s mixed mission-critical and non-critical applications.

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Avoid Outages and Re-syncs with Extension Trunking

by Scott Shimomura on ‎08-24-2015 07:00 AM (1,497 Views)

In storage environments, reliable and resilient networks — to the point of no frame loss and in-order frame delivery — is necessary for error-free operation, high performance, and operational ease. This improves availability, reduces operating expenses and, most of all reduces the risk of data loss. Brocade addresses today’s important trends and requirements with the Brocade Extension Switches with Brocade Extension Trunking.

 

Extension Trunking is an advanced feature of the Brocade Extension platforms for both Fibre Channel and IP extension, enabling bandwidth aggregation and lossless failover for increased resiliency over IP WANs. It provides load balancing and network resilience to increase WAN utilization and protect against WAN link failures. This video details the operation and advantages of this technology in extended storage applications.

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Few years back, enterprises were evaluating Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) to see whether VDI is a viable technology while reducing cost of operations. As proof-of-concept, they deployed VDI in a selected group to evaluate and understand the issues. During this time, VDI was still expensive, hard to manage and Enterprises did not see expected ROI.

 

Fast forward and VDI technologies have matured thanks to technologies that include: Virtual SAN, vRealize Operations and LogInsight, better networks and low-cost flash storage. These developments are pushing enterprises to deploy VDI across the organization’s infrastructure.

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Today’s organizations depend on fast, reliable access to data wherever and whenever needed, regardless of location. The ramifications and potential business impact of an unreliable disaster recovery and data protection infrastructure are greater than ever.

 

The Brocade 7840 Extension Switch provides a suite of features — from pre-deployment validation to advanced network failure recovery technologies — to ensure a continuously available storage extension infrastructure. One unique feature is Adaptive Rate Limiting which dynamically adjusts bandwidth sharing between minimum and maximum rate limits to optimize bandwidth utilization and maintain maximum WAN performance during disruptions.

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Sharing Isn’t Always a Good Thing

by Spencer Lail on ‎08-11-2015 05:00 AM (2,549 Views)

For many of us, preschool and kindergarten were all about learning how to share. But in the IT world, sharing isn’t always a good thing. You need to carefully identify when and where it makes sense to share if you want to operate as efficiently as possible.

 

Consider that just a few years ago IP storage was considered a departmental or “non-critical” storage solution—primarily for workloads that weren’t considered core elements to business success. The general lack of Tier 1 tools, performance, reliability, and scalability kept IP storage from being a truly “production-ready” solution for most organizations.

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How to Drive High-Throughput Over Distance

by Scott Shimomura on ‎08-10-2015 07:00 AM (3,121 Views)

The advanced performance and network optimization features of the Brocade 7840 Extension Switch enable replication and backup applications to send more data over metro and WAN links in less time, and optimize available WAN bandwidth. Supporting up to 250ms Round-Trip Time (RTT) latency, the Brocade Extension Switch enables cost-effective extension solutions over distances up to 37,500 kilometers (23,400 miles).

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Never Disrupt Your Replication Again with Firmware Updates

by Scott Shimomura ‎08-03-2015 07:00 AM - edited ‎08-03-2015 01:50 PM (2,213 Views)

Hot Code Load (HCL), also known as Non-Disruptive Firmware Upgrades, have been available for Fibre Channel platforms for a long time, but not for the extension platforms. With the recently announced Brocade 7840 Extension Switch, HCL is now available for extension switches. This feature is critical for replication in mission critical environments where companies cannot afford to take their infrastructure down while they upgrade. With the higher data rates everyone is dealing with, even a short window of disruption can cause you to fall behind and open yourself up for risk.

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Many organizations have converged various disparate networks over time into a common IP/Ethernet network. The business reasons for consolidation are certainly there as this approach should reduce capital costs and fewer networks to manage should reduce complexity, management and operational costs. And if you need to segment the network, it can be done with VLANs, virtual routing and forwarding instances or overlays on the single shared IP/Ethernet network, right?

 

The benefits do sound compelling, but in practice most organizations seldom take this approach for various business and technical reasons. This also is the case with IP storage networks.

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Unexpected consequences. They’re everywhere in life. All the time, all over the world, someone is making a plan to solve a problem. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for most of us to envision the full impact or range of tradeoffs associated with that plan.

 

For example, think about a family moving to a bigger house. With a home twice the size of their old one, they now have more room for the kids, additional space to grow, and a solution to key problems (like not having enough bathrooms). But did the parents properly plan for all the costs this new home entails? Are they ready for double the cost of heating and cooling bills? Have they braced for the higher taxes and additional maintenance work?

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Move over Godzilla. There is a new sheriff in town.

 

EMC unleashed “The Beast” this week at EMC World, which is their new aptly named software upgrade for XtremIO 3.X all-flash storage that more than doubles supported all-flash capacity to 40TB, with the ability to cluster eight of these monsters together with consistent and predictable sub-millisecond performance.

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EMC World 2015: More About IP Extension

by mdetrick ‎05-06-2015 08:00 AM - edited ‎05-06-2015 11:55 AM (4,598 Views)

IPEX is based on 5 pillars. These tenants are distinctly different, crucial to many environments, and made up the design criteria for Brocade Extension Engineering. To review, they are:

 

  • High Performance (covered in part 2 of 3 in this series)
  • Operational Excellence
  • Superior Availability
  • Strong Security
  • Easy Deployment 

Today, we will discuss the remaining four pillars.

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Saturday’s Fight of the Century in Las Vegas elevated Floyd Mayweather to global prominence as the world’s best welterweight boxer. 48-0; one shy of Rocky Marciano’s undefeated career record. Mayweather turned in a vintage performance as he outboxed Manny Pacquiao in a brilliant display to win a unanimous decision in one of the biggest fights in boxing history.

 

Like Saturday’s epic event, EMC made history today on the global Las Vegas stage at EMC World by bringing its heavyweight, high-end storage systems to the EMC VSPEX family, further strengthening its position as the undisputed, world champion of reference architectures sold exclusively through channel partners. Brocade is proud to be in the same corner as EMC for this new VSPEX solution, as the storage networking foundation, connecting EMC VMAX3 100K storage with high-performance servers.

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EMC World 2015: It’s all about Performance!

by mdetrick on ‎05-05-2015 08:00 AM (2,213 Views)

Welcome back to the second installment on Brocade 7840 IPEX. Today’s blog is all about improving performance of IP storage applications between data centers, a cornerstone of IPEX. There is A LOT to this pillar, so, I’ve devoted today’s entire blog to just to this subject. Here is a list of pertinent Brocade technologies implemented in IPEX that enhance native IP storage performance:

 

  • Purpose built hardware and software
  • Intolerant IP storage applications
  • WAN Optimized TCP
  • TCP Acceleration
  • End-to-End Flow Control
  • Data batching
  • Jumbo Frames
  • Adaptive Rate Limiting (ARL)
  • QoS (Enforcement and Marking)
  • Compression
  • Scalability
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EMC World 2015: Take Control with IP Extension

by mdetrick on ‎05-04-2015 07:30 AM (4,366 Views)

Good morning EMC World 2015! Here we are again in Las Vegas pursuing the latest technological advancements for our storage and cloud environments.

 

This year EMC and Brocade are proud to present something entirely new: IPEX (IPEX = IP Extension) on the Brocade 7840 (EMC Connectrix MP-7840B). You say, Hummm… Why do I need extension for IP? I’m sure you’re thinking, can’t I just handoff my IP storage flows to the network? Of course, I hope the Network Admins meet their SLAs (Service Level Agreements) so I can meet mine! Who out there wants to have SLA responsibility that in turn relies on the network SLA, of which you have no control? Yep, that’s what I thought… No One!

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Redefine Networking for IP Storage

by Scott Shimomura ‎04-29-2015 10:00 PM - edited ‎05-26-2015 09:32 AM (9,000 Views)

Traditional Ethernet networks were never designed to address the needs of IP storage.

 

When was the last time you thought about the network connecting your IP storage? Was it when you had to wait for a few weeks to get ports provisioned for new storage? Was it when the network was taken down for routine maintenance and you had to plan for an outage? Or when you had a network outage and waited for hours for it to come back up in order to recover the storage?

 

Unlike your Fibre Channel SAN, you probably don’t own or manage the network for your IP storage. If you are like many of the customers we have met with over the last year, you are looking for better ways to manage growth, mitigate risk, and reduce costs. It’s clear that shared networks simply cannot handle the growth of business-critical workloads on IP storage.

 

Traditional Ethernet networks were never designed to address the needs of IP storage.

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Don’t Get Caught with Data Security Gaps

by Jim Rapoza on ‎04-27-2015 12:01 AM (3,785 Views)

When important people need protection, how does it usually work? For example, a president, prime minister or other world leader? Typically, if there’s any kind of expected threat, it’s full protection round the clock, everywhere and with no margin for error.

 

Now imagine that, instead of this kind of protection, a world leader under threat had multiple locations that were very secure but, when they moved between locations, instead of armored cars and lots of bodyguards, they had to run alone through the streets to get to their destination?

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(Dateline: A major enterprise data center, in the year 2020) Running an enterprise storage network sure is a lot different than it used to be. Back in the old days (circa 2015) we were mainly concerned with our traditional data center, keeping the big iron storage up and running and ensuring our networks were fast enough to handle regular backup and restore requests.

 

Now those days look like the stone-age. Software defined? Forget about it. The storage infrastructures of 2020 are way beyond that, pulling in massive amounts of data in real-time, making it constantly accessible to a variety of analytics tools and applications, and doing so across locations and geographies on fast and flexible networks and virtual storage infrastructures.

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Businesses have come to recognize that the combination of big data technologies, new data sources and evolving analytic approaches present an opportunity to drive competitive advantage and accelerate innovation. But many are struggling with where to start to begin taking advantage of the business value that these new technologies promise.

 

Today’s launch of EMC’s Federation Business Data Lake (FBDL) changes that. With the FBDL, IT can quickly and easily clear the path for more timely and informed business decisions. The solution provides a fully engineered, enterprise-grade data lake tuned to the strategic priorities of a business that can help to quickly realize the value of big data analytics.

 

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If you ask someone in a given field of endeavor "What is critical to success?" they'll most likely focus on one or two key elements. For instance, in Hollywood, someone might point to the director and the stars as critical. A football fan might mention the head coach and the quarterback. In the IT world, a discussion of enterprise applications will likely turn to critical systems such as ERP and CRM.

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Your Own IP Storage Network? It's Time to Drive Change

by AJ Casamento on ‎03-13-2015 10:00 AM (98,234 Views)

I know, I know. There's a world of difference between managing a storage network and running a fleet of 18-wheelers.

 

Or is there?

Bear with me, and imagine for a moment that you’re the boss of a freight shipping company.

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To Prevent Data Gridlock, You Need a Smarter Highway

by Jim Rapoza on ‎03-11-2015 12:54 PM (48,574 Views)

Have you ever noticed how, just when you need to be somewhere fast, a traffic jam suddenly appears?

 

 

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Making sure that there are an adequate number of buffer credits on a link, particularily an ISL link, is difficult when one is doing it by hand. The attachment provided here uses Microsoft Excel to provide a fairly robust, in-the-ballpark capability to determine the number of buffer credits necessary on a link of any speed, any average frame size, any distance and which also includes the user's capability to compress and/or encrypt the data in-flight.

 

 

This is an updated spreadsheet with just a minor change to how buffer credits get calculated.

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Redefining the IP Storage Experience with the new EMC Connectrix VDX-6740B Switch

by Jason.Nolet ‎02-12-2015 05:01 AM - edited ‎02-12-2015 03:27 PM (5,032 Views)

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Introduced today, the new EMC Connectrix VDX-6740B addresses the need for a better Ethernet storage switching solution for today’s New IP applications such as cloud, mobile, social and big data. Together with Brocade VCS Fabric technology, the VDX-6740B simplifies network design and operations for a more automated and efficient network, offering the flexibility needed to easily scale networks and support a cloud-ready infrastructure.

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Redefining Solutions: VDI with EMC and Brocade

by Scott Shimomura on ‎12-03-2014 05:00 AM (3,269 Views)

XtremIO and Brocade. png.png

 

EMC is redefining what it means to deliver solutions for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Dictionary.com defines a solution as “the act of solving a problem, question, etc.” More often, it’s an overused marketing term in IT that implies a holistic approach to solving a fundamental business or IT problem. In reality, a solution is a thinly veiled term for a product. Just Google “VDI solutions” and you will find an initial page of “solutions” that point to VDI platforms, flash storage, and a laundry list of other products.

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Fibre Channel Keeps Major Cloud Provider Up and Running

by Jim Rapoza on ‎11-18-2014 06:42 AM (2,098 Views)

Fibre Channel remains a key component of cutting edge data centers and will continue to be a major driver in future designs, and this is certainly true at Rackspace. A major provider of open cloud systems and storage, Rackspace needs their data centers to be able to handle lots of data, at high levels of performance, with no downtime. And while new technologies have tried to push Fibre Channel out, at Rackspace it is a key technology for their storage team.

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Strengthen DR Through Intelligent Design

by mdetrick on ‎11-05-2014 08:00 AM (3,704 Views)

The Brocade 7840 is the most technologically advanced extension product ever to be developed.  Brocade continues innovation in extension with the introduction of the Brocade 7840 Extension Switch. Cisco remains status quo with their 9250i, barely competitive against the Brocade 7800.

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The Network Matters for Disaster Recovery

by Scott Shimomura on ‎10-13-2014 05:00 AM (5,002 Views)

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Today, we announced the next wave of game-changing Gen 5 Fibre Channel innovations that extend our solutions between data centers to address increasingly strict service level requirements and recovery objectives for disaster recovery. The new Brocade 7840 Extension Switch, combined with new Fabric Vision technology capabilities, delivers industry-leading performance, near-zero downtime, and unmatched simplicity for replication and backup between data centers.

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Large scale disasters, like hurricanes, can shut down many businesses over a wide area, and recent events have taught some hard lessons about disaster recovery. But have enterprises put together the right processes and plans to maintain business continuity and recover from disasters, both natural and man-made?

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In the data center, technologies fibre channel faces many misconceptions. It’s a legacy system not suited for modern technologies such as the cloud. Ethernet-based options have more flexibility and work better in the new data centers. As the world moves away from block storage, there’s less need for fibre channel. And so on.  But these beliefs about fibre channel don’t stand up when one looks at how data centers are being built now and in the near future.

 

 

 

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Fibre Channel: Not Dead Yet. Feeling Quite Well Actually

by Jim Rapoza on ‎07-31-2014 04:00 AM (3,608 Views)

Talk to large businesses about their storage infrastructure and you’ll see Fibre Channel playing a key role. Aberdeen research shows that 52% of organizations use Fibre Channel and 34% use Fibre Channel in their top tier, highest performance required infrastructure. Not only that, Fibre Channel  is the number one choice for these critical infrastructures.

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