House of the rising SAN
Dell and Seagate Technology work together to help lower the cost of enterprise storage
The storage area network (SAN) is gaining popularity throughout the business world. Facing an exponential growth of information, enterprises are centralizing storage operations not only to increase speed and data availability, but also to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO). According to Forrester Research, 38 percent of North American firms have invested in a SAN, while 42 percent will consider or pilot a SAN this year.1
Dell and Seagate Technology are key enablers of storage consolidation, offering companies leading-edge SAN products and services.
Less is more
A SAN allows enterprises to move beyond the constraints of server-attached storage. Traditional storage architectures provide only limited space for disc drives, forcing IT departments to buy more servers as their storage needs grow. Networked storage, on the other hand, separates data management from servers, which enables companies to consolidate equipment and reduce maintenance, facilities, and software licensing costs.
Segregating storage and servers also allows IT departments to speed up operations, such as data backup, because these tasks do not compete for the same system resources. In addition, a SAN can leverage an array of high-speed network protocols including Fibre Channel, an interface that can move data at a rate up to 2 billion bits per second (2 Gbps). This improved performance is especially important today because heightened network use minimizes backup windows.
A SAN also simplifies the management of business continuity processes, strengthening a company's resiliency in the event of disasters. Companies can use a SAN to mirror critical information at distributed locations, which helps ensure quick recovery without any downtime.
Dell and Seagate lead the way
Seagate has been at the cutting edge of storage technology for more than 20 years. It manufactured the first 7,200, 10,000, and 15,000 rpm disc drives, as well as the first drive with a Fibre Channel interface. During the last two years, Seagate has introduced the world's highest capacity drive and set a world record for areal density by demonstrating a drive that holds 100 gigabits of data per square inch.
Dell has always been an early adopter of Seagate technology, and today offers the company's disc drives in many of its enterprise SAN solutions. One such drive, the Cheetah® X15-36LP, has received rave reviews from industry watchers. StorageReview.com, for example, called it "the fastest drive one can buy for any and all applications." The drive features a 3.6-millisecond seek time and an 8 MB buffer to make data retrieval over a SAN even faster and more efficient. The Cheetah X15-36LP comes in standard Fibre Channel and Ultra320 (320 Mbps) SCSI versions.
Dell Professional Services provides enterprise customers with the technical knowledge and support they need to integrate Seagate-based SAN solutions into their existing environments. Together, SAN products and services from Dell and Seagate give companies the flexibility they need to consolidate equipment, improve availability, and reduce TCO.
Making the connection
A substantial benefit of a SAN is simplified storage administration. For example, using remote management, a person can administer storage operations or an entire enterprise from a single console, lowering staffing costs and increasing productivity.
Today, many companies realize the cost benefits of centralized management not only for storage, but also for company-wide IT systems. Imagine how much money a business could save if a handful of IT workers used a single user interface to manage fault detection, data backup, configuration changes, performance monitoring, and other essential IT activities.
The key, however, is standards-based technology. Without management based on open standards, enterprises are forced to administer computing systems with a complex and costly array of incompatible tools. That is why Dell created the Intelligent IT approach, which embraces partnership.
The Intelligent IT approach brings together leading systems management software companies under a single umbrella of interoperable standards. Seagate Software, a subsidiary of Seagate Technology and maker of Seagate Desktop Management Suite and Manage Exec, follows that approach.
Thanks to the Intelligent IT approach, SAN solutions from Dell and Seagate easily integrate with leading, enterprise-class management frameworks from companies such as Computer Associates and Hewlett-Packard. The commitment of Dell and Seagate to open standards helps customers consolidate storage, trim operating costs, and generate higher profits.