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Servers Strain Under 4-Gig FC

When Andy Tran, CTO at Pacific Title Art and Studio upgraded his 4-Gbit/s, 400-Tbyte SAN last year, he included more than switches and disk arrays. (See Pacific Title & Art Studio.) He also replaced his servers.

"I wanted to be ahead of the game," he says. "I didn't want to take the chance that the servers couldn't keep up." So on top of a multimillion-dollar installation, he shelled out for new SGI machines equipped with Itanium and Intel dual-core processors.

As a Hollywood post-production studio where Sly Stallone is a frequent visitor, PacTitle has a big budget to accommodate sizeable upgrades. But smaller firms may find costs surrounding a move to 4 Gbit/s an unpleasant surprise.

So common is the need to upgrade infrastructure around 4-Gbit/s FC that suppliers have special lingo for it. "Vendors talk about the difference between four-gig point products and end-to-end four-gig solutions," notes Charles King, principal at consultancy Pund-IT Research. The solutions, of course, include things like servers.

As Tim Arland, principal consultant for storage solutions, Forsythe Solutions Group Inc., points out in the latest Byte and Switch "Ask the Expert" feature, many server backplanes can't keep up with a 4-Gbit/s FC HBA. (See How Do I Move to 4 Gbit/s?)

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