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Brief History of Storage Technology San, Business Plan Example

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Business Plan

Brief history of storage technology

Computer storage technology has come a long way in the last 20 years. 15 years ago we were all amazed by Floppy disks that held just 2 mb of storage. The disks became smaller and we used software in order to compress the data. The big change came with the arrival of Compact Disks (CD’s) and the concept of optical storage. This set the trend for a considerable time until the advent of USB technology and the use of flash memory and pen drives or memory sticks. These small sticks could handle storage capacities of up to 5o gigabytes of data.  The technology revolution had exponentially increased the amount of data we could store on a tiny footprint of a pen drive.

Raid technology

The concept of RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) technology was first conceived by a team of scientists working at Berkley College, University of California in 1987. The team conducted experiments on two disks that appeared and performed with the same functionality as a single disk. Continuation of the approach saw the ability to use several disks each performing as a single component in what we term an array.  The advancement in technology enabled the construction of fault tolerant disk storage and as such generated a higher degree of output than the single drive. At this time such data storage methods were considered both complex and an extremely specialised way of developing data storage.  Today they now form an integral part of the assemblage of client server architecture. In the earlier days the reliability of these systems was viewed as extremely poor.

It was the advent of Enterprise Resource systems that created the driving force behind the development of RAID technology.  Expanding technology businesses required increased capacity of storage over widely distributed networks. RAID storage met this challenge by increasing the availability of data. By integrating the drives into a single array it created an efficient and effective means of handling and processing data.

In the Illustration to the right we observe a configuration for RAID 5 “RAID Level 5 is the ultimate one. It includes both error correction and performance in the setup, so it is good for corporate or mission critical use. Good general performance, and quite cheap to implement” (Shinjiru Technology , 2010).

San technology

A Storage Area Network (SAN) is a form of storage device like that of disk arrays, tape libraries, optical disks etc. The SAN usually has a network of storage devices that are not normally accessed by regular network devices. SANS have also been referred to as a form of Local Area Network or LAN’s.  It is similar to that of Network Attached Storage (NAS) but has the distinction of employing low level network protocols. Within the overall enterprise storage network it is possible for hundreds of devices to be controlled and manipulated by a single intelligent server.  This approach dramatically reduces the cost of storage. The servers often communicate with one another by means of fibre channel networks i.e. iSCSI and F/C over IP.  “The SAN determines where data is stored.  If a hard drive fails for some reason, the other hard drives in the storage network essentially rebuild the data through a series of algorithms so no information is lost.” (University of Miami, 2010).

The example to the right illustrates a typical SAN configuration in a Microsoft environment

Benefits of san technology:

  • Improved disk utilization
  • Sound disaster recovery (DR) solution for multiple systems
  • Robust solution with sound data protection
  • Ability to take large back-ups of data

Disadvantages of san technology

  • Cost – An array of servers is expensive to build
  • Return on investment is often greater than 12 months
  • You only need a DR solution for a single application

Network attached storage (nas)

Network attached storage (NAS) represents a hard disk storage system; similar to that of the RAID system described earlier. NAS has its own LAN IP address as opposed to being attached to a Departments existing computer network. As they have their own IP addresses it serves the advantage of immediate access as opposed to being addressed through an intermediary. Within the architecture of NAS the storage is separate to the server applications and as such files can be served much faster as they are not competing for the same scarce resources.  The layout also facilitates improved back-up and storage of data as it can be centralised.  “Some of the big advantages of NAS include its expandability. It’s easy to add extra storage. NAS also brings an extra level of fault tolerance to the network as you can include mirror RAID features.” (Poweroid, 2010).

Advantages of nas technology

  • Consolidation of storage platforms
  • Ease of managing network failures
  • Ease to restore lost data over a network

Disadvantages of nas technology

  • Consolidation of file systems under which NAS operates
  • Can prove difficult to recover lost data; as such may require specialised data recovery.

 iSCSI

iSCSI is one of the two recognized approaches in order to transmit data over IP networks. This translates fibre channels control codes and places these into IP packets for subsequent transmission between that of distant fibre channel SANS. This technology can be deployed over existing ether networks.

Fibre channel

“The intention of the Fibre Channel (FC) is to develop practical, inexpensive, yet expendable means of quickly transferring data between workstations, mainframes, supercomputers, desktop computers, storage devices, displays and other peripherals.” (Meggyesi, 1994)

“Fibre Channel can help with design of large-scale, storage-intensive systems. It can also provide a solution that allows rapid storage and retrieval of information, while simplifying the interconnection of different components in the system. Figure 1 shows the Fibre Channel topography” (Altera, 2010).

Recommended system

10 Gigabit backbone with high availability

1 Gigabit to the desktop

Storage of Virtual machines ( servers and desktop)

20 Servers  :  50 desktop

Cisco Small Business NSS 326 12TB 6-Bay Smart Storage NAS Server  £2,764.89

Cost is per server.  Desktop configurations additional. Total Cost Estimate : $120-150,000

Expandable to meet additional needs ( price is for base configuration)

Cisco NSS 300 Series Smart Storage: Overview

“Centralize and manage all your storage needs with a single, affordable, high-speed solution. Cisco Smart Storage does more than simply store data: built-in and add-on applications extend this solution’s usage beyond storage to give you more for your money” (Cisco, 2010)

Cisco Enterprise solutions can customize enterprise solutions to specific need.  Most of the systems are expandable from base entry requirements.

Works Cited

Altera. (2010). Fibre Channel. Retrieved 11 9, 2010, from Altera: http://www.altera.com/technology/high_speed/protocols/fibre_channel/pro-fibre_channel.html

Cisco. (2010). Enterprise Network Systems. Retrieved 11 9, 2010, from Cisco: http://www.cisco.com/

Meggyesi, Z. (1994, 8 15). Fibre Channel Overview. Retrieved 11 9, 2010, from Research Institute for Particle & Nuclear Physics: http://www94.web.cern.ch/HSI/fcs/spec/overview.htm

Poweroid. (2010). Network Attached Storage (NAS) Explained. Retrieved 11 9, 2010, from Poweroid: http://www.bestpricecomputers.co.uk/reviews/advice/network-attached-storage.htm

Shinjiru Technology . (2010, 7 22). Raid Technology explained. Retrieved 11 9, 2010, from Shinjiru Technology : http://blog.shinjiru.com.my/english/2010/07/22/raid-technology-explained/

University of Miami. (2010). Storage Area Network (SAN) Technology. Retrieved 11 9, 2010, from Miller School of Medicine University of Miami: http://it.med.miami.edu/x443.xml

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