Saturday, August 18, 2007

SAN/NAS Summit 2007

SNIA Focuses on Collaboration to Overcome IT Convergence

A few weeks ago, on June 14, I drove my Nissan Murano to the beautiful City of Philadelphia. I traveled there to accept an invitation by the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) and their partners to the 2007 SAN/NAS Summit 2007 and Networking Forum. The event took place at the Philadelphia Hilton. Indeed, I was very much interested due to my experience working in several Disaster Recovery Management (DRM) solutions, involving RMAN, Unix (Solaris, AiX), and various SAN vendor environments, such as Hitachi, which supports MAA architectures, IBM, and EMC. The event was also related to one of my recent IOUG RMAN presentation (Case Studies on RMAN Metrics), that became a controversial one for some, but a very good presentation for most attendees at the Mandalay Bay. This great and recent SNIA event encompassed a few areas of application that are quite relevant to my consulting career as a Database Architect/DBA and Software Developer. The event focused on IT Collaboration as the leit motif to success by stating that “Convergence is the problem, collaboration is the solution.” With this strategic vision, the conference approached the SAN/NAS environment as conceptually composed by Information Technology (IT), Records & Information Management (RIM), Information Security, and Legal aspects required to attain collaboration in front of convergence.

Technical Framework

On the technical framework, the conference involved several areas of focus, namely:

- Fibre Channel Technologies, involving both existing and new technologies.

-Storage Consolidation, which discussed best practices and deployment strategies, as well a detail study on iSCSI-based SAN configurations, and a discussion of pros of iSCSI such as IP-driven remote control to the block level and cons such as speed in comparison to fast Fibre Channels interconnects. It also discussed future capabilities useful in grid computing networking, including 10Gb Ethernet.

-The Disk and Tape Backup Mechanism discussed Backup and Recovery (BR), Disaster Recovery (DR), and Business Continuity (BC) utilizing a variety of approaches such as Disk-to-Disk (D2D), Disk-to-Tape (D2T), and Disk-to-Disk-to-Tape (D2D2T), in conjunction with the usage of Virtual Tape Libraries (VTL). A final discussion involved the importance of this summit towards consolidation practices, standards, and strategies into an Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) vision. This track also discussed some of the potential pitfalls in disclosing SAN-related information (or exposing them as targets), such as IP and fast-interconnect VIPs, since they become vulnerable to accepting intruding packets and subsequent collapse.

- The Storage Virtualization focus area involved a virtualization tutorial addressed to IT Managers, in particular, a SNIA’s Storage Virtualization Taxonomy perspective.

- Security and Encryption involved a strategy suggesting that there is “no magic crypto fairy dust”, and focused on both symmetric and asymmetric authentication paradigms, such as those driven by the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). It also discussed encryption capabilities and risks under SAN environments.

- The end-user requirements looked at establishing ILM/DLM and general SNIA standards and best practices to be coded in a series of RFC documents.

Business Framework

The strategic business goals involved, namely:

Reducing Risk

Fundamentally, risk can be expressed by a certain number of ways, namely:

-Loss of strategic opportunities due to the inability of recognized or leverage voluble information.

-Failure to comply with statutory or regulatory retention and destruction requirements.

-Inability to retrieve and productively use business critical information on a daily or historic basis.

Reducing Costs

-The cost of storage hardware and management applications software to meet these new demands is escalating significantly within enterprise IT operations, in spite of the fact that the cost of raw storage capacity continually decreases on a per GB basis.

-The cost to own and operate the required computing and storage infrastructure escalates even more rapidly.

-The above costs are enhanced with the cost of mitigating risk exposure, inefficiency, and lost of business opportunity already identified.

Vendor Streams

Vendor focuses included seminars and tutorials on the following topics, namely:

- iSCSI vs. Fibre Channel Myths and Reality
- NetApp/Decru Session
- Data De-Duplication: Increasing the Power of Disk-Based Backup
- Best Practices in Archival Storage
- HP Storage Essentials

The Accredited Technical Training

Involved two paid tracks on the following topics, namely:

1) Essential Storage, involving Storage Infrastructure and Backup and Recovery Seminars.

2) The Architect, including Storage Capacity Planning and Distance Replication.

Concluding Remarks

-Based on that perspective the conference suggested that Collaboration will require the establishment of a team lead by RIM and IT professionals, but of also risk and security professionals.

-The conference also implicitly responded to the vision that storage and application archiving is a major area of business opportunity for entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

-The value of attending this event is extraordinary for DBAs, Database Architects, SAN Administrators and IT Managers. If you have not been selected to attend, you can probably find further input at for the next summit in your area. Other sites of interest area:,, and

The event was sponsored by vendor partners, namely, HP, NetApp, Quantum, Equallogic, Plasmon, and ServerGraph; and media partners, namely, CRN, InfoStor, and Storage Networking News.

Final Notes

Upon completing the event, I left the Hilton with a sense of satisfaction and felt I had profited well from this occasion to acquire new technical knowledge. Once more, the sun was bright as I drove back home.

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