Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

World's Five Biggest SANs

CowboyNeal posted about 7 years ago | from the still-need-more-drivespace dept.

Data Storage 161

An anonymous reader writes "ByteandSwitch is searching the World's Biggest SANs, and has compiled a list of 5 candidate with networks supports 10+ Petabytes of active storage. Leading the list is JPMorgan Chase, which uses a mix of IBM and Sun equipment to deliver 14 Pbytes for 170k employees. Also on the list are the U.S. DoD, which uses 700 Fibre Channel switches, NASA, the San Diego Supercomputer Center (it's got 18 Pbytes of tape! storage), and Lawrence Livermore."

cancel ×

161 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

... That we know about (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20693431)

What about Google, Amazon, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc.?

Re:... That we know about (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20694331)

Google doesn't use conventional SAN architectures, so they probably wouldn't qualify for this list.

Re:... That we know about (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20694343)

And there wasn't even a single Japanese firm listed. You'd think they'd have the biggest SANs of all.

Re:... That we know about (4, Funny)

Chapter80 (926879) | about 7 years ago | (#20694817)

I was thinking San Diego, San Francisco, San Antonio, San Jose, Santa Claus.

Re:... That we know about (1)

curlynoodle (1004465) | about 7 years ago | (#20695373)

I expect that government and non-profit organizations are more likely to release such info. It make them appear high-tech and cool. Beats me as to why Chase would comment on their storage, maybe for shareholders.

As for Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Yahoo, etc, I expect its important to business not to share system architecture with the public. However, read http://labs.google.com/papers/disk_failures.html [google.com] to get an idea as to Google's storage systems.

Re:... That we know about (1)

homey of my owney (975234) | about 7 years ago | (#20695481)

The list seems arbitrary. The mother of them all is the Naval Oceanographic Office, which as I recall is a mix of IBM, EMC and Hitachi - isn't listed.

Re:... That we know about (2, Interesting)

GoodOmens (904827) | about 7 years ago | (#20695733)

I know it's not a PB but here at the Census we have one 150TB array thats used for one project and not 170K employees.

It is interesting when you get in storage of this size. I remember sitting in a meeting where we discussed a storage cabinet we were ordering. The RAW size of the cabinet was 150TB but formatted it would be 100TB ... 50TB is a lot of storage to "throw away" for redundancy / formatting! Considering at this price your paying about $10k+ a TB (With staff and infrastructure costs fractured in)!

Not so accurate (4, Informative)

cymru_slam (881440) | about 7 years ago | (#20693433)

I work for one of the organisations listed and I have to say that what they described sounds NOTHING like our infrastructure :-)

Details? (4, Funny)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 7 years ago | (#20693815)

Ah, go on tell us. We won't tell anybody

Re:Not so accurate (1)

bigmouth_strikes (224629) | about 7 years ago | (#20693925)

Not to imply that you don't know what you're talking about, but isn't part of the point of a SAN; to an end-user it practically looks and behaves as if it were a local device ? Of course, you might be in the know of the overall storage infrastructure, but then again... you might not.

So to save your reputation you'll have to spill your beans, so to speak.

Re:Not so accurate (0)

pcsmith811 (886216) | about 7 years ago | (#20694083)

Not to imply that you don't know what you're talking about, but isn't part of the point of a SAN; to an end-user it practically looks and behaves as if it were a local device ?
No, the point of a SAN is for performance, redundancy, and flexibility, growth and sharing. End users wouldn't even be seeing local devices because you shouldn't have end users plugged into a SAN. If you meant sysadmin's, then yes, it would essentially look like a local device. Anyway, like cymru_slam implied, this article is just FUD.

Re:Not so accurate (4, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | about 7 years ago | (#20694475)

"you shouldn't have end users plugged into a SAN."

Exactly why shouldn't you have end-users plugged into a SAN? I run a SAN, and I find that diskless workstations PXE booting off gigabit iSCSI storage are a huge improvement to having local disk. For more or less exactly those reasons; performance, redundancy, flexibility, growth and sharing. Not to mention data consolidation and savings in less wasted local storage.

I suspect the idea that SAN's are for servers is mostly spread by overcharging SAN vendors who dont want their profit margins eroded by inexpensive consumer devices. In fact, I'd say consumer storage is rapidly progressing beyond the server side and is these days the main driver behind storage expansion; I certainly know my home storage needs expands faster than the vast majority of the servers I admin (yes, there are the we-want-to-simulate-the-atoms-in-the-ocean exceptions, but most business application servers use less storage than you can get in an mp3 player).

Re:Not so accurate (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20694747)

Well, it sounds like your environment is PC based. The environment I work in is server based. An end user could leave his/her computer in a taxi and we can have them up and running and productive on a new PC within minutes with little chance of actually losing anything. I say little chance because although we make every attempt to force things to the network through our computer system policies and document management systems, sometimes they still manage to put things in "My Documents" but that is the exception, not the norm. It is more then just a single user though. With that system in place, our entire office in downtime Washington DC could be blown up and the bulk of the offices business operations can be up and running from another one of our offices in another city or our companies DR site in a short period. For our environment, it is much easier to manage a backend and provide adequate remote user tools (Citrix for example) then it is to attempt to manage storage on a thousand or so individual computers. Imagine trying to do disaster recovery or emergency planning for an office that had a bunch of individual personal storage devices and a local PC based file storage system.
Not everyone needs a SAN for storage but using a SAN is a very sound decision for those that need the capabilites it provides. A SAN is not just a buzz word although I do not doubt some people bought them without understanding what they were getting and why.

mod parent up (0)

danimrich (584138) | about 7 years ago | (#20695179)

mod the parent post up if you have mod points...please

Re:Not so accurate (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#20695873)

"but most business application servers use less storage than you can get in an mp3 player)."
Yes they do.
I am migrating the our support call, issue tracking, and RMA data base to a new server. We take a good number of calls a year and have almost six years of data on the server. The dump file is only 16 megabytes. Most business data is still text and text just doesn't eat up that much space.

For home use doesn't and workstations does NAS make more sense than SAN? I am on a small network so we only use NAS for shared drives.

Re:Not so accurate (3, Insightful)

Bandman (86149) | about 7 years ago | (#20694485)

I'm not sure it's FUD, since that means "Fear Uncertainty and Doubt"

It's more, inaccurate, or maybe a result of shallow researching, or at the very least simplified.

Re:Not so accurate (5, Funny)

DarthTaco (687646) | about 7 years ago | (#20695235)

How about SHallow and Inaccurate Tripe?

Re:Not so accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20694193)

Well, if you're Welsh, I imagine you're not working for the U.S. DoD, NASA, the San Diego Supercomputer Center or Lawrence Livermore. So, how's it working for JP Morgan Chase then?

Finally ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20693441)

... somewhere to store all my porn

Pronunciation is the key (4, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | about 7 years ago | (#20693499)

Finally somewhere to store all my porn

We're talking about Petabytes, not Pedobytes.

Re:Pronunciation is the key (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | about 7 years ago | (#20694559)

Does that mean he has lots of PedoFiles ;)

Re:Pronunciation is the key (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 7 years ago | (#20695313)

Not to mention PETAbytes [wikipedia.org] - "No animals were hurt during the production of this storage medium.

What about MIB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20693457)

How bing is the central medical database repository?

Re:What about MIB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20693831)

Its fine, and stop calling me bing.

Very U.S. Centric... (5, Insightful)

Noryungi (70322) | about 7 years ago | (#20693463)

Yes, I know, US web site and everything but, seriously, have you checked the data storage of CERN (birth place of the web) lately?

If I remember correctly, these guys will generate petabytes of data per day when that monster particle accelerator goes online in a few months...

Re:Very U.S. Centric... (5, Funny)

barry_the_bogan (976779) | about 7 years ago | (#20693557)

They're talking about the "world", as defined by the World Series Baseball people. Lame story.

Let's hope CERN's data can be zipped... (4, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 years ago | (#20693691)

Let's hope CERN's data can be zipped...if not, they'll be in trouble pretty quickly.

Remember when you got your first copy of Napster and ADSL? That's how serious...!

Re:Very U.S. Centric... (3, Informative)

palpatin (94174) | about 7 years ago | (#20693697)

Well, don't know about the storage capacity, but the LHC will produce around 15 petabytes per year [web.cern.ch] , when they turn it on.

Re:Very U.S. Centric... (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | about 7 years ago | (#20693707)

If I remember correctly, these guys will generate petabytes of data per day
Rechecking your facts would be in order. Some 10 to 15 petabytes are expected to be saved per year according to sources I have seen, though only a small fraction of the raw sensor data will be permanently recorded.

Re:Very U.S. Centric... (2, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 7 years ago | (#20694077)

IIRC they need a massive cache where the "sampling algorithm" throws a heap of data away. A quick google gives the following precise measure - "The LHC will generate data at a rate equivalent to every person on Earth making twenty phone calls at the same time." - but as you say it only stores a fraction of that.

Now asuming the phone calls are made over POTS, the bitrate from the sensors should be...20 * 6*10^9 * 1220bps...

Re:Very U.S. Centric... (2, Informative)

torako (532270) | about 7 years ago | (#20694517)

Most of the caching is done using custom hardware that lives right in the detectors with latency in the order of s. The data output for permanent storage is (for the ATLAS detector, that's the one I know some stuff about) 200 MBytes / s, which is not gigantic. There are some PDF slides of a seminar talk on the triggering mechanism for ATLAS on my homepage in the Seminar section (in English even).

Still, the data aquisition and storage system is impressive. Most of the storage will be distributed over different sites, so I don't know if there will be a huge central storage system.

Re:Very U.S. Centric... (4, Informative)

perturbed1 (1086477) | about 7 years ago | (#20694925)

I'll talk about one of the experiments, ATLAS. Yes we "generate" petabytes of data per day. It's rather easy to calculate actually. One collision in the detector can be compressed down to about 2MB raw data-- after lots of zero-suppression and smart-storage of bits from a detector that has ~100 million channels worth of readout information.

There are ~30 million collisions a second -- as the LHC machine runs are 40Mhz but has a "gap" in its beam structure.

Multiplying: 2 * 10^6 * 30 * 10^6 = 6* 10^13 Bytes per second. So ATLAS "produces" 1 petabyte of information in about 13 seconds!! :)

But ATLAS is limited to being able to store about ~300 MB per second. This is the limit coming from how fast you can store things. Remember, there are 4 LHC experiments after all, and ATLAS gets its fair share of store capability.

Which means that about of 30 million collisions per second, ATLAS can only store 150 collisions per second.... which it turns out is just fine!! The *interesting* physics only happens **very** rarely -- due to the nature of *weak* interactions. At the LHC, we are no-longer interested in the atom falling apart, and spitting its guts (quarks and gluons out). We are interested in rare processes such as dark-matter candidates or Higgs, or top-top production (which will dominate the 150Hz btw) and interesting and rare things. In most of the 30 million collisions, the protons spit their guts out and much much *rare* things occur. The catch of the trigger of ATLAS (and any other LHC experiment for that matter) is to find those *interesting* 150 events out of 30 million every second -- and do this in real time, and without a glitch. ATLAS uses about ~2000 computers to do this real-time data reduction and processing... CMS uses more, I believe.

In the end, we get 300 MB/second worth of raw data and that's stored on tape at Tier 0 at CERN permanently -- and until the end of time as far as anyone is concerned. That data will never *ever* be removed. Actually the 5 Tier 1 sites will also have a full-copy of the data among themselves.

Which brings me to my point that CERN storage is technically not a SAN (Storage Area Network)... (My IT buddies are insisting on this one. ) I am told that CERN storage counts as a NAS (Network Attached Storage). But I am going to alert them to this thread and will let them elaborate on that one!

Re:Very U.S. Centric... (1)

JorDan Clock (664877) | about 7 years ago | (#20693735)

You would have been real upset before San Francisco was taken off the list.

Re:Very U.S. Centric... (1)

bockelboy (824282) | about 7 years ago | (#20694639)

The CMS detector will take data at 8GB/s at turn on (that's gigabytes, not gigabits). This will be filtered and a few percent will be saved.

CASTOR's (the CERN data store) current stats are here:

http://castor.web.cern.ch/castor/ [web.cern.ch]

About 8 PB of files. If i recall correctly, there's around 500TB of online disk space and 10-30PB of tape storage (some of it is getting phased out).

FNAL has a similar setup, except with a storage manager called dCache. There is no use of protocols like iSCSI or Fiber Channel over IP, but rather physics-specific ones (xrootd, rfio, dcap) and grid-specific ones (SRM and gridFTP).

Re:Very U.S. Centric... (4, Insightful)

bushki3 (1025263) | about 7 years ago | (#20695477)

from TFA

"We at Byte and Switch are on the trail of the world's biggest SAN, and this article reveals our initial findings."

and this

"Again, this list is meant to be a starting place for further endeavor. If you've got a big SAN story to tell, we'd love to hear it."

oh, and this too

"we present five of the world's biggest SANs:"

notice how everything in TFA clearly says this is not THE 5 BIGGEST SAN's in the world but the 5 largest they have found SO FAR.

I know -- I must be new here, but I'm getting there. I didn't read the whole article, just a few sentences from the first page.

The big surprise is (5, Funny)

Centurix (249778) | about 7 years ago | (#20693469)

that all the disks are formatted FAT32...

Re:The big surprise is (2, Funny)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | about 7 years ago | (#20693827)

2 TB should be enough for everybody!

Re:The big surprise is (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#20694929)

Unless you run Windows, then they only let you create partitions up to 32 GB.

Re:The big surprise is (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20695211)

Whoosh!

Re:The big surprise is (1)

drseuk (824707) | about 7 years ago | (#20695009)

Pah, 640k is more than enough for real hackers. P.S., At 14+ PB, the command line to unsplit the 2GB FAT splits is itself going to exceed 2GB. Anyone got a workround? (I'm running Vista SP0 I think).

14Pb for 170k employees... (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 years ago | (#20693517)

14Pb for 170k employees isn't so much - 83 gigabytes per person.

If you add up the total disk space in an average office you'll get more than that. If I add up all my external disks, etc. I've got more than a terabyte on my desktop.

(And yes it's true, data does grow to fit the available space)

Re:14Pb for 170k employees... (2, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 7 years ago | (#20693559)

When I generate ghost images for the PCs here at work, the average desktop user goes through about 4 gigs here, if that. 83 gigs per person is quite a bit.

I'm also curious about Google and the like. Do they not disclose their storage?

I didn't say the disks were full... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 years ago | (#20693673)

I didn't say the disks were full, just that the storage available per person in the average office is more than that.

Does the whole 14Pb go in a single room? That might be impressive.

Re:I didn't say the disks were full... (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 7 years ago | (#20693723)

For purposes of disaster recovery, I sure hope not.

Re:14Pb for 170k employees... (2, Informative)

StarfishOne (756076) | about 7 years ago | (#20693775)

"I'm also curious about Google and the like. Do they not disclose their storage?"


To a certain extend they have disclosed some numbers in a paper about their distributed storage system called "BigTable". The title of the paper is "Bigtable: A Distributed Storage System for Structured Data" and it can be found right here [google.com] .

Some numbers can be found on page 11:
Project and Table size in TB:

Crawl: 800
Crawl: 50
Google Analytics: 20
Google Analytics: 200 (Raw click table)
Google Base: 2
Google Earth: 0.5
Google Earth: 70
Orkut: 9
Personalized Search: 4

Total so far: 1,155.5 TB

It's a very interesting paper to read. One of the many papers [google.com] Google has put online:

Re:14Pb for 170k employees... (2, Funny)

somersault (912633) | about 7 years ago | (#20693975)

I hope they filter all those clicks before they dump them in the landfill. Can you imagine the mess 200 terabytes of raw clicks would make?

Re:14Pb for 170k employees... (1)

asserted (818761) | about 7 years ago | (#20694321)

> I'm also curious about Google and the like. Do they not disclose their storage?

there's much more than that, but GFS is no SAN at all. google can do better than that, and does.
GFS is all about cheap storage, lots of it. and yes, 14 P is basically nothing, in google terms.
what article really is about is "who wasted more money on over-priced enterprisey SAN crap".

Re:14Pb for 170k employees... (-1, Flamebait)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | about 7 years ago | (#20693655)

14Pb for 170k employees isn't so much - 83 gigabytes per person. If you add up the total disk space in an average office you'll get more than that.
Except that you miscalculated by a factor of a thousand.

Re:14Pb for 170k employees... (4, Informative)

fellip_nectar (777092) | about 7 years ago | (#20694417)

No he didn't. [google.co.uk]

Re:14Pb for 170k employees... (1)

RogerWilco (99615) | about 7 years ago | (#20694637)

No he did not.

Re:14Pb for 170k employees... (1)

me_mi_mo (1021169) | about 7 years ago | (#20694827)

Mod parent down.

Grandparent is correct.

Re:14Pb for 170k employees... (0)

Poromenos1 (830658) | about 7 years ago | (#20694889)

No, you miscalculated by a factor of SUCK!

(Hah :/)

Re:14Pb for 170k employees... (1)

PremiumCarrion (861236) | about 7 years ago | (#20694899)

My calculations suggest grandparent is only out by a factor of ~1.07

My assumptions are as follows:
Pb == 10^15 bytes
170k people == 170 000 people

Therefore 14 000 000 000 000 000 / 170 000 = 82 352 941 176 (rounded)

i.e under 83GB per user

Re:14Pb for 170k employees... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20695083)

Why do people have so much difficulty with this:

b = bit
B = byte

so

Pb = 10^15 bits
PB = 10^15 bytes

Re:14Pb for 170k employees... (3, Funny)

commlinx (1068272) | about 7 years ago | (#20693849)

14Pb for 170k employees isn't so much - 83 gigabytes per person. If you add up the total disk space in an average office you'll get more than that. If I add up all my external disks, etc. I've got more than a terabyte on my desktop.

You'd find a lot of the 83GB on a typical office PC is crap you're not going to put in a SAN, my boot drive without data has 50GB used and other than the pain in the arse of re-installing I couldn't give a toss if I lost all that "data". Yes I've got a TB of storage too but subtract p0rn, DVDs and other contents that would get me sacked if I worked in a corporate environment, subtract the large amount of reference material (that would be shared between users in a corporate environment) and all my original work for the past 10 years amounts to well under 10GB.

The data use has little use to do with the number of employees - it amounts to how much data you are getting from external sources whether they be a large number of customers or data acquisition (such as digital photographs). If you're talking text for example a fast typist is probably hitting something like 10 characters per second, a whopping 280K per working day, 70MB per working year, 3.5GB over their life.

Re:14Pb for 170k employees... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20695643)

So I have been in the embedded development trade for ~25 years (and it has been great fun!). I know that I have far less than 10GB that I currently care about.

The entire SVN repository where I work, of which my part is just a small piece, is only 15GB. And that includes version info and branches.

I know for a fact that the entire source/documentation repository from my first thirteen years no longer exists, even though oddly enough, a couple thousand units of one device that I developed during that time are still out in the world doing their job. It is old tech though (wow, twenty years old this year) and it is amazing that it has been useful for this long. So I know for certain, that the full sum of my current work endeavor, the part I personally care about, is much less than 10GB.

On the other hand, I have 9GB of family photos that are pretty important, and backed up in two places.

I also have 46GB of music, though I still own all the source CDs for that collection. It would be a bummer to have to re-rip it all, so it is backed up as well. (offsite storage for both).

Re:14Pb for 170k employees... (2, Insightful)

WindowsIsForArseWipe (990338) | about 7 years ago | (#20693919)

1Gb of natilie portman and hot grits should be enough for anyone

Bad way of putting it. (0, Redundant)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 7 years ago | (#20694297)

14Pb for 170k employees isn't so much - 83 gigabytes per person.
Sorry, this is completely naive. It's a misunderstanding of what an average is.

Each employee is NOT getting 83Gb of space on the SAN. They might get a few Gb for email. That space is used to store accounts, general business stuff, personal information, credit reports, market information, simulations etc primarily for data mining. Then of course it's replicated to several locations.
 

At Last! (5, Funny)

Zymergy (803632) | about 7 years ago | (#20693529)

Someone can install a FULL install of Windows Vista!

Re:At Last! (1)

kraemate (1065878) | about 7 years ago | (#20695513)

Pfft. I am going to need this to install all the packages in the 12 cds of Debian Sarge.

Shouldn't this be written somewhere? (4, Informative)

rm999 (775449) | about 7 years ago | (#20693545)

SAN = Storage area network

Re:Shouldn't this be written somewhere? (4, Funny)

OverlordQ (264228) | about 7 years ago | (#20693569)

This is slashdot, if you dont know what SAN stands for, please turn in your geek card and report to Digg.

Re:Shouldn't this be written somewhere? (1)

Smurfeur (915009) | about 7 years ago | (#20694999)

I thought that SAN = "Call of Cthulhu"'s sanity.

Does it count as geeky ?

Re:Shouldn't this be written somewhere? (1)

joe_kull (238178) | about 7 years ago | (#20695189)

Sanity, right?

Re:Shouldn't this be written somewhere? (2, Informative)

Eideewt (603267) | about 7 years ago | (#20693575)

Why thank you. I was trying to figure out what a Storage Attached Network might be.

...and why does the article say "Pbytes", "Tbytes" (2, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 years ago | (#20693549)

...and why does the article say "Pbytes", "Tbytes", etc.

The abbreviated units are "PB" and "TB".

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petabyte [wikipedia.org]

Re:...and why does the article say "Pbytes", "Tbyt (4, Insightful)

imsabbel (611519) | about 7 years ago | (#20694773)

Because EVERY SINGLE FUCKING story with "TB" and "GB" causes arguments in the way of "this has to be "...bits", the number is too large for bytes" or vice versa even here.
To avoid missunderstandings, 4 additionals bytes (B) dont seem that much of a price.

That's nothing... (3, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 7 years ago | (#20693551)

"ByteandSwitch is searching the World's Biggest SANs, and has compiled a list of 5 candidate with networks supports 10+ Petabytes of active storage.
What? That's nothing. I've got 100 petabytes just for my pr0n collection!

Re:That's nothing... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20693679)

yeah I've had a look. How you managed to find so much midget pr0n is beyond me...

Re:That's nothing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20695505)

and its all of me you sick freak.

Re:That's nothing... (1)

Lxy (80823) | about 7 years ago | (#20695793)

Wow... that's a lot of petafiles *rimshot*

Rubish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20693639)

Utter crap. CERN, for instance, is building 15 PB worth of tape storage. The currently have 10PB. And there are organizations on the EB range...

Sooo... (2, Funny)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 7 years ago | (#20693677)

My home entertainment server at 3.3TB RAID6 isn't even in the running then?

Bugger.

Re:Sooo... (1)

farkus888 (1103903) | about 7 years ago | (#20693729)

haha, I remember it was only a few short years ago I was hot shit because my personal file server had 500 gig of storage in it. most storage in a single computer of anyone I knew. I had a gig of ram and one of the fancy p4 processors with twice the cache of all the wussy ones. man was I cool. of course now I am older and don't have nearly the discretionary computer money I used to, and I am still running that exact same hardware having wet dreams about joining the 64bit real dual core revolution.

Re:Sooo... (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 7 years ago | (#20694707)

I am running way behind! My home video server only has 1920GB of storage via 8x320GB drives in a Raid-5... but I know what you mean. In college, I put four 1.6GB drives in my box, and did a Linux Stripe to 6.4GB, and that was hot shit back then. We stored lots of CDs in that new-fangled MP3 format on there.

Re:Sooo... (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 7 years ago | (#20693829)

You mean your porn server?

Re:Sooo... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 7 years ago | (#20695675)

'Ave you been peekin' through my window?

Just SANs... so what? (5, Interesting)

Duncan3 (10537) | about 7 years ago | (#20693709)

Kinda like saying the worlds fastestest runner that likes swiss cheese best. This isn't a list of fastest, largest, most used, etc. Just just some PR spin for SANs. Nothing wrong with that, but still.

Large Hadron Collider (CERN) will need 15 PB/yr (1)

infolib (618234) | about 7 years ago | (#20693801)

At least according to this article [techtarget.com] .

It's planned to go running next spring, but it's already at 3.5 PB. (The old LEP collider working in the same tunnel produced quite a bit of data too).

They forgot about ... (2, Interesting)

chris_sawtell (10326) | about 7 years ago | (#20693819)

Google [google.com] , the WayBack Machine [google.com] , to say nothing of the 1.5 million machine bot-net [informationweek.com] we've been hearing about recently.

Re:They forgot about ... (1)

swordgeek (112599) | about 7 years ago | (#20694473)

You apparently don't have the slightest clue what a SAN is.

security, resilience, risk, etc (1)

kefa (640985) | about 7 years ago | (#20694031)

From my experience most FTSE 100 companies in the UK have multi-petabytes of storage so I'm assuming that the article is referring to a single consolidated SAN and not disparate SAN islands. Although it is interesting to examine the limits of scalability for such an environment on theorectical grounds, a more interesting question would be to understand the reasons why organisations would want to consolidate such vast quantities of data within a single SAN system.

Surely there are other important considerations such as security, resilience (yes most SANs are dual fabric - but do you not need more if you are putting an entire organisational egg in one basket?) and risk which must be balanced againsts the need to have consolidated access to the entire organisation's storage through a single interconnected SAN?

Re:security, resilience, risk, etc (1)

statemachine (840641) | about 7 years ago | (#20694103)

Zoning, Virtual SANs (VSANs), and Inter-VSAN Routing (IVR) solve that problem. And why would you need more than a dual fabric setup? Do you like buying expensive HBAs for your servers? Just what kind of hostile environment are you deploying into?

Do tell. I'm curious.

Re:security, resilience, risk, etc (1)

kefa (640985) | about 7 years ago | (#20694123)

These are all logical methods of isolation and do not enable you to escape the the impact of physical infrastructure changes. Suppose you need to replace your SAN infrastructure to upgrade - do you really want your entire infrastructure to be dependent on a single fabric while you are carrying out your changes? Likewise I would never want to be dependent on only two copies of your data. If you are working on one copy do you really only want to be protected by a single remaining copy. I wouldn't necessarily advocate a SAN system that uses more than 2 fabrics but when your entire organisation sits on a single SAN surely this poses a significant physical risk.

Re:security, resilience, risk, etc (2, Informative)

statemachine (840641) | about 7 years ago | (#20694237)

And to that I ask: How paranoid are you, and how much money do you have?

You also talk about copies of data as if a disk went bad, you'd lose the data. These storage arrays have multiple redundancies (RAIDs of VDisks which are RAIDs themselves) as well as having live replication capability to remote sites -- at which point you likely have a copy (or copies) of an entire datacenter in a different geographic location that is running as a hot spare.

Within a datacenter, you would not have more than dual fabrics. Your fabrics' switches will also be redundantly connected within themselves. And if you're killing an entire fabric with an upgrade, you're doing it wrong.

You'll also have service contracts with lockers of disks, switches, linecards, etc., *on site* with field technicians from the vendors on-call 24/7.

Fibre Channel installations are not like some small company's Ethernet LAN.

Re:security, resilience, risk, etc (1)

Bandman (86149) | about 7 years ago | (#20694569)

Aside from working in a facility with a pre-existing setup like this, how does one go about educating themselves on how SANs of this magnitude work?

Re:security, resilience, risk, etc (1)

kefa (640985) | about 7 years ago | (#20695549)

It's difficult aside from a few public whitepaper produced by each of the appropriate vendors. However these whitepapers are often no more than bragging rights to boast about 'how scalable our solution is' rather than providing any real information.

Re:security, resilience, risk, etc (1)

afidel (530433) | about 7 years ago | (#20694863)

Huh? Unless you have unwisely maxed out your switches before planning the upgrade you would simply interconnect the new physical switches into the fabric through ISL's and then move host over to the new distribution layer switches. You would be vulnerable for the length of time it takes to move a cable from one distribution switch to the new one and only for that single host which is most likely a member of a cluster. As far as the two copies comment, no you would likely have very frequent snapshots within the storage pool at each site which are going to be stored in different cabinets if things are correctly designed. Beyond that many very large companies will have three or more redundant sites, though it gets terribly expensive beyond three from what I have seen and is largely unnecessary as you can get great geographical dispersion with three sites.

Re:security, resilience, risk, etc (1)

kefa (640985) | about 7 years ago | (#20695427)

This assumes that the new switches are of the same manufacturer and generation. Many SAN 'upgrades' involve changing from one manufacturer to the latest flavour the day (probably as a result of some deal made on the golf course); in this instance you would have to ensure that the SAN is running in 'interoperability' mode which is not generally recommended and can result in reduced SAN functionality - not the sort of state you want your mission critical business to be in.

Also fabric merge and other configuration commands can be momentarily disruptive to a fabric. You would be suprised by the number of organisations that still run single-connect hosts. Obviously here the correct solution is to fix this, but with the best will in the world this often doesn't happen.

As for the copies of data - again vast majority of FTSE 100 companies do not have fully redundant sites. Even a single redundant site is too expensive for most companies - it is cheaper to take the hit on shareholder value (although often the risk that organisations take on a daily basis is not exposed to shareholders) rather than invest in full site redundancy.

Don't get me wrong: most companies have multiple datacentres (e.g. UK1, UK2, etc) that would appear on the surface to provide redundancy, but the quantity of redundant infrastructure in these confusingly titled datacentres is usually vanishingly small. (the banks might be excepted here...)

Internal Revenue Service (1)

Dekortage (697532) | about 7 years ago | (#20694483)

A few years ago, I remember reading an article about the IRS (the government tax division) that had seven or eight regional data centers around the U.S. -- each with many petabytes of storage to store current and historical tax data on hundreds of millions of Americans, corporations, etc. I can't find the article now but it seems like *it* should make the list... maybe even top the list.

Discount Web host with scalable SAN (3, Funny)

rjamestaylor (117847) | about 7 years ago | (#20694557)

Recently I found a discount online web hosting company
with an unlikely name that offers a scalable,
distributable SAN, called an HDSAN
(High Density Storage Area Network),
for its customers:

SlumLordHosting.com [slumlordhosting.com]

Largest DISCLOSED SANs (1)

mihalis (28146) | about 7 years ago | (#20694641)

I have no idea how much disk space my firm has, but I did hear an apocryphal tale of installing multiple truckfuls of disks every week pretty much indefinitely (now, of course, older smaller disks are also being removed, but even if it's one for one the service life of enterprise disks means the total is continuously growing). But the firm and the total space can't be disclosed. I'm not trying to make any claims - it could well be smaller than the five mentioned, but the point is nobody knows. I'm sure lots of other firms have very big SANs too.

Re:Largest DISCLOSED SANs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20694749)

I know who you are and what firm you're talking about. If you pre-declared your PHP variables or turned off notices in php.ini you'd cut your disk use by 2/3rds.

Re:Largest DISCLOSED SANs (1)

wlandman (964814) | about 7 years ago | (#20695483)

Is your firm Goldman Sachs as per your resume on your website?

thank god they don't use Apple XSAN (-1, Flamebait)

t35t0r (751958) | about 7 years ago | (#20694821)

because if they did they would crash daily and corrupt their data.

World's Five Biggest NASs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20695165)

What should be more interesting is a listing of the 5 biggest NASs.

Pebibytes (0, Troll)

rukkyg (1028078) | about 7 years ago | (#20695171)

Is it pebibytes or petabytes? They're 12% apart. That's a big deal. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebibyte [wikipedia.org]

LDS Church (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20695407)

I swear the LDS church has 20 Petabytes for geneology information.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?