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Flirting With Storage Services

2:15 PM -- When you're talking storage services, Ethernet is always part of the discussion. After all, Ethernet seems ideal for transmitting corporate backup traffic over distances that Fibre Channel SANs can't manage without a lot of costly fuss.

But it's tough to get a real take on just how popular these services really are. In a recently published report from Heavy Reading, "2006 Survey of Ethernet Service Providers," senior analyst Stan Hubbard reports that among 50 Ethernet service providers surveyed, 24.3 percent offer storage extension among their applications, but 38.8 percent have no plans to add offerings in the future. Further, 44.2 percent of respondents believe there is "little or no" demand for Ethernet-based storage extension services at any data rate.

At least one service provider begs to differ. According to Keao Caindec, chief marketing officer at recently resurrected Yipes Enterprise Services Inc., the market for Ethernet services is growing at about 40 percent annually. (See Yipes Scares Up $17.5M.) In his view, growth in storage services may be less than that figure, but not by much. "I don't have a clear line of sight to storage growth, but in my estimate it's more than 30 percent," he maintains.

The reason, he says, is that a large number of Yipes' 800-odd customers, more than 70 percent of which are medium to large enterprises, are moving to centralized architectures, in which multiple regional sites feed into a central data center for better control of management and security. IP SANs are a logical fit for these new networks.

What's more, Caindec maintains that Ethernet metro services offer ideal performance for latency-sensitive data. "Our SLA calls for less than 5 milliseconds latency in the metro network, and less than 250 microseconds of jitter," he asserts. "Our actual performance is much better.... It's good for SANs."

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