Accelerating SAN-ta’s storage this Christmas!

Bridgeworks is the perfect gift this season and Santa is delivering with accelerated speeds! Read the article on Data Centre Dynamics.

Accelerating SAN-ta's storage this Christmas! Bridgeworks
December 29, 2021


With Christmas just around the corner, Santa is reviewing his IT budget for the festive season and for the year ahead. Much has had to change over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, with many of his elves having to work from home. He’s also had to ramp up his e-commerce and logistics operations to ensure that he can remain in business.

Like many organizations, he has become increasingly dependent on cloud computing and notes that there is a significant shift in Storage Area Network (SAN) Fibre Channel. So, with the changing landscape and increased demand, new ways of working and for new technologies means that Santa – Father Christmas – is having to audit his data centers, his network infrastructure, his overall IT resources and he’s reviewing the latest IT trends to enable his decision-making.

Accelerating SAN-ta's storage this Christmas! Bridgeworks

– Thinkstock / Purestock

Santa is expecting Christmas to be as busy as ever. Due to Coronavirus restrictions in Lapland, some of his elves may not be able to man his data centers and e-commerce operations. He is therefore considering whether he needs to upgrade is SAN storage and networking infrastructure, or whether WAN Acceleration, SD-WANS or an SD-WAN-WAN Acceleration Overlay will enable him to meet demand this year, despite potential staff shortages.

With Coronavirus restrictions still in place – including Covid testing, leading to staff shortages or a work-from-home strategy, organizations such as Santa’s must take extra steps to ensure that their data centers, e-commerce and logistics operations remain efficient. One means of doing this is by employing more data center artificial intelligence operations.

Global Fibre Channel SAN

In August 2021, Orion Market Research Pvt Ltd wrote in a press release that the global Fibre Channel SAN storage area network market is expected to achieve a significant compound annual growth rate (CAGR). It doesn’t reveal what this CAGR is in its press release, but it explains:

“Fibre Channel SAN connects servers and storage arrays using fiber cables, suitable switches, and host hub adapters, and it is a high-speed serial interface that combines data storage and data networking technologies…Fibre Channel SAN interfaces are optimized for server-to-storage and server-to-server communications and provide high performance, reliability, low latency and flexibility.”

“The market has seen an increase in both structured and unstructured data as a result of rapid technological advancements. Both large and small organizations demand a versatile data storage management solution to safely store their massive volumes of data. Rising technical developments such as IoT,cloud adoption and many others are contributing substantially to the storage area network market’s greater growth.”

Gartner IT spending forecast

IT spending will exceed $4.5 trillion in 2022, an increase of 5.5 percent, says a Gartner forecast published in October 2021. “Enterprises will increasingly build new technologies and software, rather than buy and implement them, leading to overall slower spending levels in 2022 compared to 2021,” said John-David Lovelock, distinguished research vice president at Gartner.

“However, digital tech initiatives remain a top strategic business priority for companies, as they continue to reinvent the future of work, focusing spending on making their infrastructure bulletproof and accommodating increasingly complex hybrid work for employees going into 2022.”

Enterprise software tops Gartner’s list of the highest growth in spending for 2022, with growth predicted to reach 11.5 percent. The research and consultancy firm says this will be driven by infrastructure software spending, which will outpace application software spending. The company’s press release adds: “Global spending growth on devices peaked in 2021 (15.1 percent), as remote work, telehealth and remote learning took hold. However, Gartner expects 2022 will still show an uptick in enterprises that upgrade devices and/or invest in multiple devices will thrive in a hybrid work setting.”

Impact on IT budgets

Despite the reports of growth in IT sales – much of it due to the need for organizations to accelerate their digital transformation programmes and shift towards the cloud – the pandemic has created wider challenges which could, despite these positive forecasts, impact on IT budgets. This means that some organizations – perhaps even Santa’s own –look to do more with less. Over the past few years, he has been helped with the introduction of SD-WANs, which has simplified the deployment and maintenance of WAN.

Yet, there has been an increased need to invest in cyber-security to thwart the growing attacks by cyber-criminals on businesses, organizations and on individuals. Hackers have been getting more and more clever. So, Santa has to keep his guard up – particularly in the run up to Christmas, and even during and after it. Hackers don’t care about the festive spirit. They want to catch people off-guard.

Balancing pros and cons

Santa’s IT and network team is therefore trying to balance up the pros and cons of the different types of storage open to him. SAN is for speed. Cloud and hybrid cloud have some compelling cost-savings – whether this is for online storage, backup or archive. They are increasingly concerned about the cyber-attacks on Santa’s important data of all those children and their wishes for their Christmas presents. So, part of Santa’s IT audit review is a focus on cyber-security and data management.

Hackers have learnt from their mistakes. They now attack the backup files and programs first, before encrypting the data and spoiling Christmas. Ransomware is rife. Getting data offsite is key to being able to recover. The further away and air-gapped the data and the backups are the better. When Santa’s elf IT team tries to move data offsite via a Wide Area Network (WAN) to the cloud, or to a disaster recovery center, there is always a performance penalty created by latency. This is true of both IP data streams or SAN protocols such as ISCSI and Fibre Channel.

Should Santa upgrade?

The question is: With latency and packet loss affecting wide area networks, and potentially storage area networks (SANs), should Santa upgrade and invest in a new IT infrastructure, or should he consider WAN acceleration, or an overlay of WAN Acceleration and SD-WANs?

Well, nothing is safer when protecting that vital off-site last ditch copy than the use of tape. The more that tape can be totally isolated from all other connections, the better. A standalone tape library connected over the WAN at a distance is the perfect solution. However, how can Santa’s data be protected over the WAN? With WAN Acceleration over the WAN.

This leaves Santa asking: Where will SAN storage and networking trends go in 2022? The choice of SAN technology is changing rapidly – where once Fibre Channel ruled supreme in the data center, IP networks with iSCSI and iSER do – as well as other RDMA protocols running across 100Gb networks. These technologies are taking over, and so Fibre Channel may not be the way forward for Santa’s organization.

Ultimately, his aim is to ensure that every child gets their desired present on time – no matter what!

Wishing everyone an elfy, happy Christmas!

Read the entire article on Data Centre Dynamics.



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