Aust Post to test run SANs

Australia Post has indicated it will press ahead with plans to become an early storage area networks (SAN) adopter despite its concerns about a lack of industry standards for the emerging technology.

Industry standards for SAN do not yet exist, and two main groups -- the Storage Network Industry Association (SNIA) and the EMC-led FibreAlliance -- are competing to develop SAN standards.

Other early adopters of SAN technology have complained about interoperability issues with the emerging technology (see cover story on page 10).

Despite these issues, AP plans to issue a request for proposal (RFP), which will include its SAN requirements, in July or August 1999.

The RFP will follow a Request for Information (RFI) for the supply of data storage, including SAN, issued in March 1999.

"We are watching SAN standards closely," said Valda Berzins, CIO, Australia Post, adding that AP was interested in the question of what mechanisms exist which could ensure investment protection for the SAN initiative over time.

Listing reasons behind AP's SAN initiative, Berzins said: "The SAN will provide us with the ability to decouple increasing storage needs from application processing platforms. [It will] provide the ability to allocate storage resources to applications independently of the processing platform. It will also provide a mechanism to share data amongst applications more effectively."

In terms of AP's SAN requirements, Berzins said: "AP requires that the SAN solution can exist within our current processing environment. It must be robust, resilient and scalable . . . AP's implementation of SAN will evolve over time.

"Initially the SAN will be connected to a single processor type. It is anticipated that the SAN will eventually contain common application data, meta data, application specific data and application internal code.

"It will be an integral part of AP's operation."

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