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

By AJ Casamento posted 03-13-2015 10:00 AM


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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.

Every day, your trucks carry vital, mission-critical cargo from the depot to stores and consumers—and back and forth to the depot.

Your warehousing and logistics setup is a model of precision. You know where everything is, where it has to be next, and exactly what’s on each shipping manifest.

Your trucks roll night and day. You keep the business world humming.

But there’s a problem.

You share the highway with other traffic. Every single car, pickup, bus, and motorcycle is competing with your trucks for a piece of the road. And there are many more of them than there are of you.

You get in their way. They get in your way. Horns are blasted, fists are waved, and fingers are pointed.

Your trucks get snarled up in traffic. Goods are delivered late. Your customers aren’t happy. It’s not your fault, but what can you do?

Is this beginning to sound familiar?

You ask for more lanes to be added to the highway, and for a while it works. But a bigger highway to reach every destination is too expensive and impractical, and only some parts of the highway get the extra lanes.

And when six lanes shrink to five, then to four, you run into the same old problems of congestion and delays.

The real answer is to stop sharing the highway with others.

Think about it. If you had your own highway, you’d control all the traffic. Your trucks would never be late or miss a delivery.

You could run as many lanes as you liked, directly into your distribution hub.

And even though the highway is made from asphalt concrete—rather than the polished concrete in your warehouse—it’s clear the two surfaces work in a similar way. They’re made and used by the same people, after all.


See where I’m going with this?

Thankfully, right back to the real world of networks.

But I hope you can also see that there are parallels between the challenges faced by the trucking company and what you’re trying to achieve with your network—and the storage traffic that your business depends on.

Being able to dedicate an IP network just for storage traffic would give you the control you need over all storage traffic. After all, the switches and fabric connectivity share many similar properties with the Fibre Channel SAN fabrics you already know and trust.

If you could carry over those properties to your IP network, imagine what you could accomplish.

In fact, you don’t have to imagine too much. Brocade has already undertaken testing of use cases around the impact of shared networks for storage and application traffic.

For more information on the use cases Brocade tested, read the white paper The Benefits of a Dedicated IP Network for Storage