Storage Networking 101

Storage networking traditionally has been based on fibre channel, an out-of-band solution that isolates storage traffic to the storage environment. The benefit is that there is no contention for network resources. You don’t have to worry about some clown bringing down your network by streaming the “Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy over his lunch break since the network is isolated and dedicated only to storage.

Further, this isolation make the storage network generally more secure than Ethernet, and fibre-connected devices generally are more reliable since all the connections are fully redundant. Any component along the fibre channel path can fail and the system will still remain running.

The big dogs in the fibre networking world are Brocade, Cisco Systems and QLogic.

The impetus for accessing storage via Ethernet is a fairly recent phenomenon. Support for iSCSI Storage, say on a LeftHand SAN (storage area network), supported by VMware for a few years. Accessing NAS (network-attached storage) via NFS (network file system) or CIFS (Common Internet File System) has had traction for a bit longer, but it has only been during the past few years that people seriously considered using these protocols for mission-critical systems. When it comes to Ethernet networking, the name to know is Cisco. has only been

One major drawback with using…


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