Magazine article Strategic Finance

Cost-Effective Connectivity: A Storage Network Can Keep Your Business Up and Running in the Event of a Disaster without Depleting Your Finances. (Technology)

Magazine article Strategic Finance

Cost-Effective Connectivity: A Storage Network Can Keep Your Business Up and Running in the Event of a Disaster without Depleting Your Finances. (Technology)

Article excerpt

ENTERPRISE-WIDE APPLICATIONS such as e-business, enterprise resource planning (ERP), and customer relationship management (CRM) generate such a tremendous amount of data that organizations using them are faced with unprecedented storage bandwidth requirements. At the same time, costs of network downtime are escalating--up to $6 million an hour for a financial brokerage firm. These factors are forcing CEOs, CFOs, and IT executives to rethink and implement a network contingency plan for business continuance and disaster recovery in the event of a man-made or natural incident.

They are looking for cost-effective ways to protect their mission critical data and provide for 24 X 7 application availability by replicating their data centers offsite. A robust, redundant storage network with geographically dispersed data centers is considered vital for ensuring a company's ongoing operation.

A favorite solution is a storage area network (SAN), a dedicated network that addresses companies' special storage requirements. Executives are also seeking solutions that extend these networks between data centers and over greater distances while supporting information recovery The challenge is determining how to interconnect SANs--including those in remote sites--to a main site that enables backup and recovery under any circumstance and that eliminates performance and security issues due to these distance requirements. At the same time, enterprises are under increasing pressure to find solutions that effectively reduce their total cost of ownership. By deploying storage extension technology that leverages existing network investments and allows more efficient use of bandwidth, you can dramatically lower capital, operational, and bandwidth costs.

CHOOSING STORAGE EXTENSION TECHNOLOGIES

When considering SAN extension technology choices, you must first look at the technical and performance requirements of the applications. Business continuance applications, such as remote disk mirroring, remote tape/disk backup, and server geo-clustering, keep data safe and businesses running during events like earthquakes and power outages. But the strict requirements of these applications require a multi-site storage area network.

Here are the technical and performance requirements you'll need to consider when choosing an extension technology:

* A flexible architecture that can handle multiple data center protocols and scale with the growth of a storage network;

* High availability for maximum uptime;

* Security so that data is given its own isolated circuit across the network;

* High performance over great distances for geographical resiliency with no degradation in performance;

* Interoperable with leading storage systems and assurance of seamless deployment with top storage vendors;

* Extensive monitoring capabilities that allow the network operator to monitor the performance of applications.

USING SONET FOR LOW-COST STORAGE EXTENSION

SONET (Synchronous Optical NETwork) was developed for high-capacity optical telecommunications and is the primary backbone transmission technology for national and international voice and data carriers. The industry standard, it was designed to let different types of data formats be transmitted on one line and deliver the highest levels of data security, scalability, and cost effectiveness.

A Storage over SONET extension device broadens this capability by connecting disparate applications and equipment. It can meet the service requirements of even the most demanding business continuance applications, including disk mirroring, tape/disk backup, and server geo-clustering. Further, companies can meet their storage extension needs largely through assets they already own or lease. Compared to other technologies, a Storage over SONET extension device can reduce total cost of ownership by up to 70% by providing:

* Lowest initial capital costs--reduces capital costs by 60% by leveraging the existing infrastructure and reducing cost per byte to transport data;

* Reduced bandwidth costs by up to 90%--enables high visibility and control of network resources and SAN protocols to reduce bandwidth utilization. …

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