8 posts • joined 9 Jan 2012
Off topic - misuse of the acronym SAN
Off topic - but I am now officially blaming the media for the misuse of the term SAN - this means you El Reg!
I am exhausted with this battle in the lexicon of IT - and clearly I have lost it.
Why have destroyed the meaning of the acronym SAN? What does SAN stand for?
A server with disks attached to it is not a SAN, its a server with disks that can be shared out - such a nas/iscsi/FC/FCOE shared storage device or array. It is not a network.
Somehow we have turned what was previously called a Storage Array into a Network. I am not entirely sure how this happened. I think it was some lazy marketing person from Dell who wanted to say SAN a lot because they had no idea what they were talking about.
Now we have turn this acronym into a catch-all for anything storage related that isn't DAS (direct attached storage), an acronym that's name has not been changed.
Please, PLEASE, PLEASE for the love of the universe, will you journalists at the Reg stop using the word SAN in this way!
Call Networked Attached Storage a NAS!
Call a Storage Array a Storage Array!
If you want to refer to an entire set of Network/Fibre Switches and Storage devices attached to it a SAN, that would be G@#$#@$d Darn FU#@$#@ING acceptable.
I guess my comment wasn't clear enough.
I understand that cloud storage is a good tool for some companies to look at. If I had an SMB shop, cloud backups would be a superb solution for offsite storage and DR purposes.
The cloud industry (and its salespeople) have been trying to sell the notion of cloud to anyone for everything. My point is this is often not the case.
We had a cloud backup company trying to convince us (a nontechnical director at my company who just sees cloud = job promotion and relevance) to look at their product. This company has their own datacenter with storage to hold the backups, and customers connect to this from the internet to store and retrieve their backup data.
My point: Let's say the northeast region of the US was down due to a power grid problem. This has happened, and is likely to happen again.
If all of their customers affected by this outage started restoring their data to their DR site in Nebraska or wherever, would they have enough bandwidth to accommodate it without all of their customers complaining that the restores are too slow? The people I spoke with never thought about that, or didn't want to discuss it. I think that's a pretty substantial issue, and a good reason not to use their service.
Our company has contacts with customers that pay us based on availability. I think anyone else in this situation needs to look long and hard at cloud solutions before jumping into one - especially if they already have the systems in place that meet their needs.
Re: Bring on the Storinator!
The Storinator looks very cool. Still need to buy a bunch of disks for it and have some level of 24 x 7 hardware support.
What virtual SAN (I hate how the world has changed the meaning of the acronym SAN) software would you suggest placing on something like this?
One would assume you would need to buy a few of these storinators with redundant storage on both so there is no downtime, and the virtual SAN (sideshow bob grimacing and moaning) would need to take care of that redundancy.
Re: Options are good, but cloud storage ...
We have looked into object storage as well, since we have a large number of files stuck in file shares on filers that are pretty unwieldy - tens of millions of files per volume on several volumes for one app alone.
Vendor lock is always the biggest concern with object storage. EMC's offerings with their RAIN products are notorious. Customers move all of there data to the object storage (and its not cheap), and then realize how awful EMC and want to move it to another product. And how do you do that? There is a company in the Boston area that specializes in migrating people from one object storage appliance to something else. They make a killing because its so frickin' complicated.
Switching to an old guard nas vendor with dedupe and compression has saved us tremendous amounts of space (75% in most cases), and while its no fun to backup, its possible, and if we decide we want to switch to another NAS vendor, we can with tools like Richcopy and some downtime, and not have to rewrite the application because there is a new API.
Re: ODMs will enter the fray, too!
Mainframes still run the majority of financial business in the world. They really didn't go anywhere, they just aren't the only option anymore. They aren't cool, but they are still used pretty widely. There is a real shortage of programmers for them.
Options are good, but cloud storage has a lot of issues the never seem to come up in these pieces
I agree. Little storage vendors are making it harder for the big ones to make as much money as they used to. For someone like me that works and purchases gear from these vendors, we are spending less on traditional storage than we used to. Excellent stuff.
The cloud is another issue...
There is a similar but less comprehensive and not-as-well reasoned piece on techcrunch today that speaks of cloud destroying the old storage guard, but what people keep seem to missing about cloud storage is how you get to it.
We had a director tell us to look into getting rid of our expensive mainstream backup solution (they hate paying for anything, which I understand) and use this new fangled cloud based backup some sales person called him about, and I obliged.
They sound like they know what they are doing. They support lots of products (but not Oracle, so already its a no). Then we asked about their bandwidth, and they claim to have OODLES of bandwidth. Then we asked the question if they had enough bandwidth to satisfy the demand of say 20% of their customers at once. Let's say the US northeastern seaboard power grid is down, and now we are all scrambling to restore our data at the same time. They didn't have a good answer for that one.
Then we calculated our costs required to upgrade our internet pipes to accommodate this - and the whole thing didn't make any sense, even if they did support oracle. Even with an incredible fast internet connection -it would never come close to a local 10Gb connection - let's not even get into latency over the internet compared to a local network.
And the rah-rah cloud storage piece is written by a VP of a cloud storage company. I guess its really paid editorial advertising, but they never mention that on their site.
My point is that there are all these other costs around cloud storage beyond the $/GB a month, but people just seem to accept that they aren't a big deal until they have to pay for them.
No, but I bet they would at least apologize for taking 10 days to replace a disk at a production data center (with very expensive production support costs).
But I can only imagine what Oracle has done to destroy Sun/STK. STK support was pretty fantastic. When Oracle purchased them they started calling immediately about renewing our support contract in a very threatening manner, and we got so turned off we just skipped it an looking to buying a quantum library. BTW, I have only had excellent support experiences with Quantum. I am sure they will get snatched up by EMC or Oracle and be ruined as well...
But how long can it last
I am still baffled by the continued success of EMC. I don't think their products have any clear advantage over their competitors and their tech support is the worst in the business of the major storage firms (I have used them all, and I have yet to have a satisfactory, let alone good support experience with EMC).
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