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Guide to low-cost storage

This guide helps you start to realize the technical and budgetary benefits of low-cost storage options like SATA, iSCSI and SAS.

Storage managers are just starting to realize the technical and budgetary benefits of low-cost storage. Serial ATA (SATA), serial-attached SCSI (SAS), iSCSI and dropping HBA and FC prices are just some of the technologies lowering the costs of running any size storage operation. This guide to low-cost storage explains those technologies, offers pricing hints and advice on where and when to deploy these low-cost options.

Table of Contents

  Low-cost disk
  Low-cost networking
   Determining costs

Low-cost disk

Who's winning the SATA/ATA race?
Chris Poelker offers this quick thought on if ATA or SATA will have more of an impact on the storage market.

SCSI/FC disks vs. IDE/ATA disks
Are you comparing SCSI or Fibre Channel disk to IDE or ATA? SAN expert Chris Poelker lets you know what the disk differences are and what the important metrics are on spec sheets.

How SATA drives hook up to a SAN
Many arrays can house a variety of different drives. SAN expert Chris Poelker explains how SATA and SAN bridge and connect.

Christopher Poelker discusses a past expert response about the differences of SCSI and IDE drives. Chris clears up some points raised by one reader in this comparison between SCSI and IDE drives.

SATA storage systems and the risk factor
SATA isn't all gravy. There are some potential pitfalls and snafus you need to watch out for when impletmenting these less expensive disks.

SATA to SCSI comparison
How does SATA differ in its functionality with SCSI? Find out in this expert response from Randy Kerns.

The scoop on SATA and SCSI technologies
Here Randy Kerns addresses the differences between SATA and SCSI by discussing each technology, implementation and costs.

Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) gains momentum
In this tip, Alan Earls lists future product plans for serial-attached SCSI and explains why momentum is building for SAS.

Where SAS will play out
A reader believes serial-attached SCSI is the real deal for robust but cost effective storage solutions. Does Expert Randy Kerns agree? Find out here.

Usage guide to SATA and other low-cost disk drives
Like IDE, Serial ATA (SATA) disk drives have been hailed as an inexpensive and effective way to cure some of your backup problems. This guide highlights the best tips and expert advice to help you decide if your next backup purchase should include one of these low-cost disk solutions.

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Low-cost networking

iSCSI is getting better all the time
How does the performance of iSCSI compare to that of Fibre Channel? SAN expert Christopher Poelker explains iSCSI is gaining popularity for tasks like backing up remote offices, wide area clustering and building an inexpensive SAN.

Guide to implementing iSCSI
ISCSI is being hailed as a cheap alternative to Fibre Channel and an effective way to use existing infrastructure to keep storage costs down. Are you thinking about implementing iSCSI? Learn the basics from the pros.

Is low-cost Fibre Channel finally here?
A lot can happen in a couple of years. Two years ago, storage salespeople's unofficial modus operandi was to ignore storage area network (SAN) buyers that didn't have at least $250,000 to spend. Now, a new Fibre Channel (FC) switch from QLogic, the SANbox 5200, has a street price of under $500/port.

Can cheap Fibre Channel HBAs stave off iSCSI?
If you can hold off your HBA purchases, you'll be well served. Analysts say the price of FC HBAs should be slashed in half in the next 12-18 months. Another factor -- the emergence of iSCSI will put more pressure on the HBA. What is the future of HBAs especially when the big boys of storage deliver native iSCSI storage? Find out here.

ISCSI testing and crossover cabling

Get a TOE hold on iSCSI
ISCSI networking companies are now offering HBAs with built-in TCP Offload Engines (TOE) to take the load off the system. Get the lowdown on these new cards and learn about some of the caveats associated with them.

Securing SAN's with iSCSI
Question marks surround the level of security to be offered by iSCSI arrays. But, according to Peter Hayden, correctly configured, iSCSI-based arrays may offer the highest level of security available in SAN technologies. Read why here.

Which switches to consider for iSCSI SANs
According to Chris Poelker the need for switches will decrease as more iSCSI solutions hit the market. Which switch is best for an iSCSI SAN? In this Q&A, Chris Poelker answers questions about switches, gateways and networks.

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Determining costs

Determining the costs of a SAN
What is the cost of a SAN system in the range of 2 to 20 TB? Chris Poelker spells it out.

How to set up a poor man's SAN
Been searching under the servers for loose change? Find any spare singles under the data center cables? We'll if your company is scrounging for bucks -- but can benefit from all a SAN has to offer -- here is some advice on how to design a SAN without breaking the bank.

More on a poor man's SAN

Help finding low-cost snapshot products
There are lots of snapshot options out there. Here, are a few hints on finding good, low-cost snapshot products.

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This was last published in March 2004

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