With latency and packet loss impacting on Wide Area Network (WAN) performance, it’s not a bad idea for companies to keep an open mind to uncover new solutions, and to carry out frequent audits to review of IT budgets and enterprise strategies. David Trossell, Bridgeworks CEO and CTO speaks to Digitalisation World.
Much has had to change over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, with many employees having to work from home. Many firms have had to ramp up their e-commerce and logistics operations to ensure that they can remain in business.
Many organisations have become increasingly dependent on cloud computing and subsequently there is now a significant shift in Storage Area Network (SAN) Fibre Channel. So, with the changing landscape and increased demand for new ways of working and for new technologies even data centres are having to be audited. Companies are also auditing their network infrastructure, their overall
IT resources, and they are reviewing the latest IT trends to enable better decision-making to improve operational effectiveness and efficiencies, while also augmenting service delivery. While Covid restrictions in the UK have mostly been dropped, some data centres may still need to be managed remotely, and the same strategy applies to e-commerce operations. This is creating the need to ask questions about whether there is a need to upgrade their SAN storage and networking infrastructure. This includes considering whether WAN Acceleration, SD-WANS or an SD-WAN-WAN Acceleration Overlay will enable them to meet demand this year despite the potential staff shortages.
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). However, it doesn’t reveal what this CAGR is in its press release. However, it explains:
“Fibre channel SAN connects servers and storage arrays using Fibre 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 optimised 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, and cloud adoption many others are substantially contributing 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% 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%. 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 reached a peak in 2021 (15.1%) as remote work, telehealth and remote learning took hold, but Gartner expects 2022 will still show an uptick in enterprises that upgrade devices and/or invest in multiple devices to thrive in a hybrid work setting.”
Impact on IT budgets
Despite the reports of growth in the IT sales – much due to the need for organisations 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 organisations 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, organisatons and on individuals. Hackers have been getting more and more clever. Organisations therefore have to keep their guard up. Hackers don’t care about the festive spirit of a new year, or of any other time of the year. They want to catch people off-guard.
Balancing pros and cons
Organisations’ IT and network teams are therefore trying to balance up the pros and cons of the different types of storage open to them. SAN is
for speed. Cloud and hybrid cloud have some compelling costs-savings – whether this is for online storage, backup or archive. They are increasingly concerned about the cyber-attacks on their most sensitive data, such as that involving the personal client data, financial and transactional data. Part of their 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 organisations’ ability to operate. Ransomware is rife. Getting data offsite is therefore key to being able to recover.
The further away and air-gapped the data and the backups are the better. When IT teams try to move data offsite via a Wide Area Network (WAN) to the cloud, or to a disaster recovery centre, 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 organisations upgrade?
The question is: With latency and packet loss affecting Wide Area Networks, and potentially Storage Area Networks (SANs), should organisations upgrade and invest in new IT infrastructure, or should they 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 data be protected over the WAN? With WAN Acceleration over the WAN.
Despite the reports of growth in IT sales – much due to the need for organisations 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 organisations look to do more with less
This leaves organisations 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 centre, 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 every organisation. To answer his questions, organisations are often found looking for a good partner to help them to accelerate and protect data and help to ensure that they have the right infrastructure and SAN storage in place. Ultimately, their aim is to ensure business and service continuity with a boost from WAN Acceleration solutions such as PORTrockIT, which use artificial intelligence, machine learning and data parallelization to mitigate the effects of packet loss and latency.