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Putting a TOE in the water

TCP offload engines (TOEs) hold the key to more efficient storage area networks. By Philip Ling.

When the personal computer was introduced, it heralded the age of the ‘home upgrade’. Suddenly, the average user had the opportunity to become an expert, just by removing a hard drive and replacing it with one of higher storage capacity. An enabling element of that was the small computer system interface, SCSI – or Scuzzi as it is known affectionately. Standardising on an interface meant hard drives could be removed and replaced simply.
The home computer aficionado was, ultimately, mirroring what was happening in the enterprise. From humble beginnings, the network rose and, with it, a need to store more data. As servers became established, so too did the concept of dedicated storage devices, the simplest of which is the direct attached storage – literally, a server with hard drives attached to it, with data transfers carried out using SCSI. The advantage of this is the traffic isn’t impinging on the normal network, but the limitations are fairy clear; once a server was fully populated with drives, more storage required more servers.

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Philip Ling

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