Escape from New York

Many tourists, after spending a day in New York, can't wait to escape from the frenetic pace of the Big Apple. Financial institutions in New York feel the same way about their data. They can't wait to get it off the island of Manhattan and escape the possibility of a power failure or some other catastrophe that might disrupt their IT operations and result in lost or corrupted data.

Financial executives were less than satisfied with transporting tapes by truck to New Jersey each day. As a result, the IT departments at these institutions prayed for a better solution, and those prayers were answered when StorageNetworks set up shop in Manhattan.

Almost as soon as StorageNetworks opened its doors, it began to receive inquiries from some of the city's largest financial institutions about transporting storage data from data centers in Manhattan to remote facilities in New Jersey.

Working with partners Brocade Communications and ONI Systems, Mark Kincaid, vice president of network engineering, found a solution -- an optical ring that extended the distance limitation of Fibre Channel from 10 kilometers to 120 kilometers.

The ring runs from New York through the Holland Tunnel to Weehawken, N.J. From there, the fiber in the ring runs south to Jersey City. From Jersey City the fiber runs through the Lincoln Tunnel. This ring permits StorageNetworks to provide services such as remote replication, remote backup, disaster recovery and business continuance located in Manhattan.

The heart of the optical ring is a protocol-independent dense wave division multiplexer (DWDM) with two strands in and two out.The DWDM permits StorageNetworks to run 30 1-G bit channels (wavelengths) or 30

2.5-G bit channels down the two fibers. According to Kincaid, this is equal to 30 host bus adapters on the ring.

Spurred on by its success in New York, StorageNetworks is deploying similar optical metropolitan networks in other U.S. cities. And its success has inspired other storage service providers to do the same.

In the meantime, StorageNetworks' customers, who are connected to the company's optical ring, can rest easy because they have a safe place for their data in New Jersey. And, if a power failure occurs, the company has a sound business continuance policy in place.

This story, "Escape from New York" was originally published by Network World.

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