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12th Annual Well-Connected Awards: Storage and Servers

Well Connected Awards 2006

What a year for the storage market. Hurricane Katrina tragically spurred demand for disaster recovery, while several large data thefts put tape encryption on the front page. Large companies went virtual to manage explosive data growth, which was partially fueled by the increase in replication. Meanwhile, though iSCSI remained an industry favorite, we found the most promise in intelligent Fibre Channel switches.


Products in the intelligent switch category, such as Cisco Systems' MDS 9506 Multilayer Director, allow applications to run directly on the switch, rather than be tied to your storage arrays. Some of these products support iSCSI, and more generally their functionality is limited only by the number of applications--such as virtualization, replication and acceleration--that they run. No iSCSI or array vendor can adequately implement what these products do in mixed-vendor environments. Intelligent switches eliminate the need for agents for virtualization, as well as the dependence on your array vendor to support replication to a different brand of array. In some cases, these products can even increase your storage applications' performance. Although it has taken years of hype, intelligent Fibre Channel switches are finally here.

Raft of Replication

The amount of data we must manage and the ways we have to protect it are driving us to try anything that will reduce our man-hour investment. With smaller budgets, fewer staff members and more data, it sometimes feels as if we're being asked to fight a war with limited ammunition. Enter the raft of replication, CDP (continuous data protection), and virtualization tools that promise to help.

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