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Winning Data Center Teams and the Importance of High Performance Storage Connectivity

By Anon Anon posted 07-17-2014 01:44 PM


By Jim Rapoza, Senior Research Analyst & Editorial Director, Aberdeen Group


This is a Brocade sponsored guest post by Aberdeen Senior Research Analyst and Editorial Director, Jim Rapoza.  Jim is a guest blogger.


As I sit watching the World Cup games… GOOAALLLL! I Believe That We Will Win! I Believe That We Will Win! I Believe That We Will Win!  Sorry about that interruption. Anyways, as I sit and watch the World Cup games, I think a lot about the value of teams and the seamless connectivity (or let’s say networking) that turns these teams into winners.

As a soccer fan, one of the things that drives me nuts around World Cup time is hearing general media, or sports media that doesn’t typically cover soccer, refer to the World Cup as the best and highest level of soccer that one can see. Sorry, but while there’s an impressive array of individual talent out there, there are not many great “teams” in the World Cup.

That’s because these are essentially All-Star teams that don’t really play together all that much. If one of the great European league clubs, such as Barcelona, Manchester City or Real Madrid, were to play in the World Cup, they would dominate. How? Because they play as a team. Watching them, it’s almost as if the players are one single fabric. Passes are so crisp and tight, it’s like the players are connected by wires.


For these great teams, connectivity is key. And the same is true of the highest performing, high demand data centers that run the largest enterprises and the Internet itself. No matter how fast the individual servers, how impressive the underlying software or how large the storage infrastructure, without a fast and reliable backbone to keep them connected, they are just a loosely joined collection of nice parts.


Look at the major service providers making it possible for their many customers to store all of their data and content, protect it from disaster, and access it at a moment’s notice. How are they able to offer software, infrastructure and platforms as a service that run at high-speeds, are never down, and that allow customers to backup and retrieve stored data quickly? With the wrong back-end infrastructure, this service provider’s data center would crumble under the many demands for thousands of terabytes of data. But with the right data center, powered by a storage network connected by high-speed and reliable fibre channel, the customers of this service provider get the super fast and seamless capabilities they need to run their business.

Or what about the major financial services firm, that relies on split second and super fast transactions to quickly respond to key data demands and customer requests. At a firm like this, you will see things like fibre connectivity between offices, high-speed servers and cutting edge networking technologies. And in the storage infrastructure of this financial services company, you’ll also find fibre channel, providing a secure, fast and reliable infrastructure to ensure high availability and fast access to data.


And Aberdeen’s research shows that leading and large businesses also rely on fibre channel to keep their data centers connected and performing as a winning team. Organizations identified as leaders in storage performance and reliability are 50% more likely than those identified as laggards (the bottom 30% in performance) to utilize fibre channel in the most critical tiers of their storage infrastructure. And large enterprises are nearly three times more likely than SMB companies to leverage fibre channel in the most critical tiers of their storage infrastructure.


In soccer, it’s the well connected team that is most likely to win and succeed even when the pressure is highest and the need is critical. The same is true in those data centers that require the highest performance, reliability and availability from their storage infrastructure. And to keep their winning infrastructures connected, winning data centers still rely on trusted technologies like fibre channel.


And look for future blog posts as I continue to investigate how businesses are using Fibre Channel today and what the future of storage networks and data centers holds.


Jim Rapoza is the Aberdeen Group’s Senior Research Analyst and Editorial Director.  For over twenty years he has been using, testing, and writing about the newest technologies in software, enterprise hardware and the Internet.