Optimizing Infrastructure Support For Storage Area Networks

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1 Optimizing Infrastructure Support For Storage Area Networks December 2008

2 Optimizing infrastructure support for Storage Area Networks Mission critical IT systems increasingly rely on the ability to handle large amounts of data provided by an online Storage Area Network (SAN). Business needs drive efficiency and require most, if not all forms of data to be stored in a secure, digital format and be able to be accessed within requirements set forth by the organization and regulatory bodies. The increased need of digital storage for business applications follows an exponential growth curve. Any exponential growth factor requires careful consideration and planning. Successful IT infrastructure therefore must include aspects that cater to and support SAN requirements today and plan for next generation technologies in the future. In addition to exponential growth in capacity other trends such as the exponential decrease in magnetic spot size for data storage are combining to increase efficiency of data storage devices. The capacity, speed, and feature sets of SAN equipment are very dynamic. Density and speed coupled with improvements in data handling, security and traceability all combine to produce an environment which can drive short hardware life cycles and a constant growth or churn for SAN hardware. The speed data moves over the network is an important element in network design. Strategies to provide for data mirroring and fault tolerance along with the need to feed the rapidly evolving servers will drive adoption of new high speed network technologies. Efficiency of access layer networks will come into focus and strategies such as Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) may be a factor for some network designs. Certainly, higher speeds will be required to meet the latency requirements of both FC and IP based networks. Time to Transmit 1 Tera-Byte of Data 10 Gbps 15 Minutes 1 Gbps 2 Hours 30 Minutes 100 Mbps 1 Day 45 Mbps 2 Day 1.5 Mbps 2 Months How long does it take to move stored data from point to point on a modern network? Even as network speed increases the rapid increase in storage volume creates an ever increased need to improve network performance in order to provide for mirroring and other backup strategies to operate within acceptable time frames. Given these factors, the design of SAN networks should focus on and encompass the following attributes: 1. Accommodate the rapidly evolving hardware changes, additions and connectivity requirements at both the core and access layers of the network. 2. Address the potential for higher speed data technologies by design. 3. Incorporate features to extend the life of infrastructure components to enhance return on the capital investment in these resources. 4. Provide for solutions that can minimize operational costs for this network resource. Flexible designs are available using structured cabling concepts for both copper and fiber based networks. Forward thinking design architectures can provide the connectivity for higher speed networks while at the same time offer flexible design options to reduce capital cost and increase the life of a Layer 1 network platform. It is now possible to design physical networks that are capable of supporting the existing network technologies and also enable network growth, offering a smooth upgrade path to the future. CommScope provides unique network designs that are specifically tailored to each of these design objectives. The following section will highlight these designs and the benefits they provide for SAN design. 1

3 Copper Technology The advent of IEEE 10GBASE-T standards and ISO and TIA standards define a copper network platform that can bring the benefits of structured cabling and low cost electronics together for a truly effective access layer network strategy. 10G is being coupled with IP based SAN devices to deliver storage traffic over a common infrastructure found in today s data centers, as is the case with Internet Small Computer Interface (iscsi). 10GBASE-T is not limited to short distances as is CX4 or Twinax/SFP+ cabling technology and leverages traditional UTP distance limitations. CommScope provides a variety of 10G copper cabling systems that lead the industry in functionality, density and reliability. These systems have been designed and deployed in many large networks around the world. It is widely believed that the mainstream adoption of Lan On Motherboard (LOM) 10GBASE-T will most likely occur in 2012, however PHY vendors have recently announced capabilities of 10GBaseT LOM chips that support Data Center Enthernet (DCE), FCoE, and I/O consolidation. Intel announced in April that Dell will offer the Intel 10 Gigabit AT Server Adapter with the PowerEdge product line. This will lead to wide scale adoption of this technology and will see the average cost of this interface decline to perhaps less than $500 US. After only 18 months on the market, 10GBASE-T are currently priced at approximately $1,000 US per port and are available for servers in a 2- port NIC as well as a variety of network switches. The introduction of next-generation silicon in 2010 promises to reduce power consumption and increase density while lowering cost. In short, the future for this technology is promising for the access layer. Fiber Technology SANs have traditionally been fiber dependent, however the dynamic nature of these networks coupled with the rapid increase of network speed has been a challenge for many customers to keep up with. CommScope has fiber systems which are uniquely suited to support flexible and dependable SAN deployments. These systems combine leading edge bandwidth support, critical for future next generation network technology, and industry leading flexibility ideally suited to a dynamic SAN network. Network speed with FC networks has rapidly progressed. Many customers are now expecting to deploy 8G FC technology in the near future and 16G FC is on the horizon. The IEEE 802.3ba Task Force is well on the way to developing the next advancements in Ethernet technology with 40 and 100 Gig implementations for both multimode and single-mode fiber networks. SAN technology uses mirrored fabrics to provide bandwidth, fault tolerance, and redundant connectivity paths to both storage and SAN hosts and these drivers will continue to be present in future SAN deployments. Basic multimode fiber technology is evolving in support of these high-speed requirements. CommScope's LazrSPEED 550 greatly exceeds the OM3 industry standard bandwidth performance requirements. The benefit of this high-bandwidth fiber is in its ability to improve the transmission capability of high-speed optical signals. These improvements allow for longer distance support with more design flexibility while using lower-cost transceiver technology. 2

4 10 Gigabit Fiber Channel, 850 nm 4-Lane Parallel (10GFC 120-MX-SN4P-I) LazrSPEED 550 # MPO Connections* 2 MPOs 3 MPOs 4 MPOs 5 MPOs 6 MPOs Distance ft (m) 1380 (420) 1250 (380) 1050 (320) 790 (240) 520 (160) LazrSPEED 300 # MPO Connections* 2 MPOs 3 MPOs 4 MPOs 5 MPOs 6 MPOs Distance ft (m) 980 (300) 980 (300) 890 (270) 740 (225) 490 (150) LazrSPEED 150 # MPO Connections* 2 MPOs 3 MPOs 4 MPOs 5 MPOs 6 MPOs Distance ft (m) 660 (200) 660 (200) 660 (200) 520 (160) 390 (120) This table shows the benefit of increasing the basic bandwidth of multimode glass. LazrSPEED 300 is equivalent to the current industry standard known as OM3. As the table shows LazrSPEED 550 provides for greater combinations of increased distance or increased patching points. The industry is now moving to adopt the specifications of our LazrSPEED 550 glass into a new OM4 standard for multimode glass. Higher speeds such as 40G and 100G are being developed. The current proposals use a parallel optics approach wherein several strands of glass are combined to work as one link. Eight fibers, for example, can combine to provide for a 40G multimode link using four 10G fibers in each direction. InstaPATCH Plus Building Blocks Modules HD Shelves Shelves and Panels MPO Adaptors Rugged Fanouts Jumpers Trunk Cables InstaPATCH is a system built around multi fiber connectors. These connectors are factory terminated and plug together to quickly and easily build out a network. In order to appreciate the benefits of this system we will compare the function and design of this system against the original design objectives discussed previously. 3

5 Flexibility of design can be measured against the physical design options and support for current and future network technologies. CommScope s unique designs take the basic concept of plug and play and optimize the concept for SAN support. For example consider a design for 8G FC. It is possible to allow for various cabling system topologies by combining the loss performance of the individual modules with the transmission requirements for this application, as shown in the following charts. Low-Loss Module Application Comparison Here the supportable distance for various numbers of modules that can be included in a channel is shown. The added design flexibility provided by the InstaPATCH Low Loss solution is clearly shown compared to competitive offerings. The chart on the left shows the topology limits when designing channels with zero reserved power margin. If a small amount of margin is reserved, the topology limits are reduced, as shown on the right. Here the InstaPATCH Low Loss solution continues to support over 125 meters with up to six modules while the competitors solution cannot support any distance with six modules. 4

6 Design Flexibility Support for next generation networks has been previously discussed in terms of the basic multimode glass technology. To summarize, when LazrSPEED 550 (OM4) glass is included in the InstaPATCH design the basic design flexibility is increased. Another advantage of the InstaPATCH solution is inherent in its trunk cable design. InstaPATCH trunks are terminated with MPO array connectors that support parallel fiber transmission. As we have discussed 40G and 100G multimode applications utilize parallel paths or fibers. This concept has been deployed for several years. Multi source agreements (MSA s) exist for this concept already (SNAP-12 is an example of these MSA s). In place of the LC connections used on transceivers today, the MPO connector used in the InstaPATCH system will be used. CommScope designed the InstaPATCH system so it is a simple matter to replace LC modules with MPO panels that support connectivity to 40G or 100G links. The diagram below illustrates a demonstration of this capability. Here JDS Uniphase (JDSU) provided a demonstration of a 100G link utilizing LazerSPEED 300 fiber. This technology is intended to lead to a commercially viable integrated package design providing a robust physical layer to support next generation networks. 5

7 CommScope offers the solutions which deployed today will support the generations of hardware to come. The ability to extend the life of IT infrastructure is an obvious route to reducing the life cycle cost for IT systems. Reusing infrastructure rather than replacing the infrastructure not only saves time and money but it reduces the impact on the environment. Operating costs can also be reduced by automating the overall process of implementing and managing change in the network. SAN networks are dynamic by nature. Automation can be used to plan, track and monitor the SAN infrastructure. CommScope offers the ipatch, an Intelligent Infrastructure System which adds the ability to track SAN connectivity automatically. Moves and changes can be automated and tracked. SAN connectivity can be monitored and integrated into an overall connectivity plan for fiber and copper networks CommScope, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit our Web site at or contact your local CommScope representative or BusinessPartner for more information. All trademarks identified by or are registered trademarks or trademarks, respectively, of CommScope. This document is for planning purposes only and is not intended to modify or supplement any specifications or warranties relating to SYSTIMAX products or services. 01/09 Storage Area Networks play a vital part in the success of modern business. Selecting and implementing a complementary network infrastructure can significantly enhance the ability to enhance and evolve SAN capabilities. CommScope products offer an optimal blend of leading edge technology and proven reliability to be ideally suited to SAN network requirements. References Intel s Press Release April 30th, 2008 Intel s New 10GBASE-T Server Adapter to Accelerate 10G Ethernet Deployment.

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