Wide-area file services (WAFS) hot in remote storage

Wide-area file services (WAFS) hot in remote storage

Summary: Companies with data stored in remote back up facilities are taking notice of a recent spurt of activity around a storage technology called wide-area file services (WAFS). WAFS makes it possible to leverage IP to access a remote data center as though it were local, meaning that companies with lots of branch offices can centrally manage backups.

TOPICS: Storage

Companies with data stored in remote back up facilities are taking notice of a recent spurt of activity around a storage technology called wide-area file services (WAFS). WAFS makes it possible to leverage IP to access a remote data center as though it were local, meaning that companies with lots of branch offices can centrally manage backups. Network World's Johna Till Johnson lays out the virtues of WAFS before listing the vendors that have been broadening their storage offerings to include WAFS, including Cisco's acquisition of Actona Technologies last month.

Topic: Storage

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  • One issue I found

    We just went to voip internally and one of the issues I have found is working on the network. It used to be if I had to swap out a switch or router that it would only be the computers that would loose connection. Now if I do anything it kills the phone conversations as well. The only solution is to build the voip on it's own independent network but that would be costly and our budget is getting smaller not bigger. It's very difficult to plan major network maintenance around people talking on the phone.
  • Lose Cable All the Time

    In response to what you said about internet not going down that often, that is a false statement. If you have read the news lately there have been major outages. These are on top of the normal ones that happen weekly. All how secure can it really be? Is it more secure then my PC hooked up to the same line? I haven't read anything great yet about VOIP that would get me to switch. But to each their own.
    • Actually, my cable goes down very rarely ...

      I realize that this seems a regional issue; in some places DSL is more stable, in some places cable is more stable. When I had DSL (a suburb of Seattle), it went down frequently. After switching to cable, I've had two complete drops of service in over three years, each for under 15 minutes. I assume that your comment "there have been major outages" refers to Comcast's problems. Those were not complete drops in service, they only affected the DNS server. Fortuneately, VoIP doesn't access DNS, so my phone service remained uninterrupted, and once I pointed to a different company's DNS server, I didn't have any issues with my computer's connection either (not defending cable, it's absurd that they experienced those problems and completely inexcusable - but it had no affect whatsoever on my VoIP).
  • Do you call that a defence??

    Actually after reading your lame response to the concerns raised by the original article, I too will take a 'wait and see' approach.
    Your response sounds more like a salesperson working for one of those 1100 VoIP companies rather than anything resembling a scientific and researched account.
  • What do you think of Lance Ulanoff points, and my counterarguments?

    Your argument seems well formed in the beginning, but in moving to the second point I begin to see where your argument looses validity. The issue of not having 911 services would actually seem quite vital to me, in the case of an emergency. The simple fact that you don't know when you might need it leaves an uneasy feeling in most people about getting VoIP. Then we get to point number 3 (my favorite). Your answer to the point is simply followed by a question. First off, any good argument should not start out asking questions to the reader. The fact that your IP going down can make your VoIP go down is quite valid. You even say that one should have cell backup...well then what?s the point of getting VoIP really. Just pay the extra 20 bucks to get some more minutes on your phone. When, if ever, you have to come in contact with one of these "semi monopolistic regional cable companies" I believe you will understand the problem Lance has with VoIP's necessity for internet connections. I have one final word "Comcast"
    • No, the counter to #3 is valid

      I agree that his comments on e911 are poor, that's really the strongest of the five arguments against VoIP. Because of it, I really only recommend VoIP for friends/family who want both a landline and a cell phone - for them, changing the landline to VoIP is an excellent option.

      As for cable service going down, that's really not a big issue in my experience. I assume that you are commenting to Comcast's problems from a few weeks ago. Those were not complete drops in service, they only affected the DNS server. Fortuneately, VoIP doesn't access DNS, so my phone service remained uninterrupted, and once I pointed to a different company's DNS server, I didn't have any issues with my computer's connection either (not defending cable, it's absurd that they experienced those problems and completely inexcusable - but it had no affect whatsoever on my VoIP).
    • Cell Phone Backup--NOT!

      I guess Russell doesn't live in Vermont....Many of us don't have reliable cell service at home. A Cell Phone as primary 911 access is a laugh!!
  • I think Lance is right!....

    Sorry, but one can't depend on the internet for something as essential as a phone call (and I shouldn't have to buy a cell phone as a backup).

    Good old POTS has been around for many years and as a rule has been extremely dependable. To the contrary, one can't say the same about computers and the internet.

    For example, I've spent the last three weeks trying to get a wireless internet connection set up. Still nothing. Three weeks of swapping out components and talking to tech support has been a waste. It's obvious that it just isn't going to work. And no, I'm not a techo-idiot. I've been using computers since the 8086 chip was standard.

    This is the kind of technology that I should depend on for phone service???? Sorry, I don't think so.
  • I too, think Lance is right

    I've had the experience of being able to work with VOIP in both residential and commercial applications.

    1. Not Once (not even a single time) have I seen a customer be able to keep or transfer their existing number to their VOIP system. Maybe its just a regional issue, but I've never seen it.

    2. In my area, e911 is not included at all, and when you are putting in a voip system, its not cost effective for a small/medium sized business to also have a land-line hookup in addition to their VOIP. For residential customers, having a cell phone for a backup isn't a huge issue, but it is a problem. Trends show that universal e911 is coming, but how far away is anyone's guess.

    3. You must be one of the lucky ones whose internet connection never goes down. Residential clients in my area typically experience (at least on Cable) a few minutes or more of downtime a week. Mostly its just dropping the connection for a few seconds, and then it resumes, but that ends up dropping calls as well. For businesses, it is not uncommon for routing issues with major carriers or short term local loop issues to knock connections offline for a few minutes a week, or to degrade to the point that bandwidth becomes an issue and results in timeouts and/or dropped calls.

    4. Haven't seen too much of this, so I'll take your word on it.

    5. You can't really defend this. VOIP is inherently less secure than using a landline. It hasn't become in practicality a serious problem, but the probability is there.

    If your life depended on the security of the data transmitted to your company, would you rather have the data being sent over a VPN connection tunnelling through the cloud, or via a modem, that dialed directly into your corporate network's modem bank?
  • If your Internet access goes down, so does your VoIP connection.

    Apparently you do not live in a area that gets power outages. When the power goes out so does your cable connection (UPS Battery time not withstanding). In the north east where its possible to lose electricity for days/weeks at a time (ice storms are a pain) a regular phone line, with a non cordless phone is often the only means of communication. (For some reason the power lines always go down but not the phone lines).
    • "days/weeks at a time" !

      Is this really true? Have people really had their power out for days/weeks at a time?
      I live in the NE and haven't seen power out for more than 8 hours in the last 20 years.
  • The sound quality can be pretty bad.

    I'm on my second VIOP company for residential service. The first
    lasted 3 weeks. I've been using my current provider for three
    months. Although most of my calls are no worse than a cell
    phone, some are so bad that I just hang up and call back on my
    cell phone to get better quality. I have a 3MB cable connection
    that never skips a beat with streaming high-bandwidth video, so
    I believe the problem is VOIP, not my internet connection. With
    some calls, the sound is great. With others, the latency issues
    are so bad that each party should say "over" so the other side
    knows when to speak. It's an interesting toy, but it sure isn't up
    to the same standards as what I had with BellSouth. I used to
    dislike the phone company and the cable company. Now I like
    them both.
    • My voice quality is at least as good as phone

      The voice quality that I get is at least as good as the phone services. I would assume the issue is one of the hops from your site to the provider's servers, or possibly a router config issue.
      My biggest problem was hardware. The router would work great with voice, but about once a month the computer's ports would suddenly drop down in speed to near dial-up access. I finally returned it and bought seperate router and phone adapter, solved my problem. But if they want to sell the integrated stuff, they really need to work out the bugs. It just isn't stable enough for a market the size that exists now, let alone where VoIP is projected to reach by the end of the decade.
      • I love my VOIP and the quality is excellent

        I have had VOIP with Vonage now for about 4 months running over Charter cable's 3 meg download, 256K upload service. It hasn't failed once. I agree with whoever said that the DSL/Cable reliability issue is regional. I work with PCs and networks in a large area and have seen this fact first hand. Some areas simply have better cable infrastructure than phone line, and in other places it the reverse. Larger cities seem to have both worlds great (and surprisingly some rural areas too that have invested in recent cable and phone upgrades), but some rural areas have really bad service with cable and phone service both. It just depends on where you happen to live really.

        Fortunately I live in a college town where both services are very good. My cable service has been down a total of maybe a few hours in 2 years, and that's mostly due to major power outages in the area. I have had zero problems with reliability of the free Linksys phone/internet router that Vonage will give you when you sign up. It's basically Cisco equipment re-branded. I haven't touched it for any reason since I first installed it.

        And as far as clarity goes, my phone calls are MUCH clearer than the old land line I used to have, even if I'm busy downloading or uploading stuff while I'm talking. I chose not to keep the same phone number so I could get rid of the annoying telemarketting calls so I can't attest to the number portability. I don't see a problem with that though. Eventually, everyone has to change phone numbers so just do it and stop complaining about it. It's worth it just for the cost savings you may get. My total cost for unlimited calls anywhere in the US or Canada for Vonage is less than the cost of the phone service with land-line after all the costs for call waiting, caller ID, 3 way calling, etc were added on. Let's not even talk about all the service charges that got piled on, and then there was long distance charges too. My phone bill is 1/3 to 1/4 what it was before.

        Last but not least, E911. People might want to check out the state of modern E911 abilities before complaining about it. Most areas anywhere near a decent sized city will have no troubles with E911 (at least not with Vonage, I can't speak for other VOIP carriers). I specify my current address in my Vonage account, and the E911 call automatically gets routed to the nearest 911 dispatch center based on that address. I can confirm that because I have it on a speed dial and my 15 month old daughter dialed it one day and they were on the line when I got the phone away from her.

        VOIP is still having growing pains in some areas but it's fast becoming a very mature, very reliable choice. After having experienced it, I can tell you I won't go back to anything else.
  • My regular phone is even more insecure

    With an analog phone, it doesn't take a high tech genius to intercept a phone call. It just takes access to a point on the phone line, a couple of alligator clips, and a headset.

    If somebody wants to target my analog phone, they would need to know where the wires go. They would need to know what pair hooks up to what switch if they wanted to intercept it down the line. Figuring out where to go down the line is no easier if it's digital.

    With a digital connection, it's generally harder for a person to have access to what's needed to compromise a specific connection. It's not that it can't be done, but to act as if it's a step down from what we have now misses the point.
  • VOIP

    VOIP is the greatest technological development since the Internet! Especially for people who travel all over the world or ex pats like myself living ten thousand miles away from friends and family. And there is a new and growing fast force in the VOIP arena which appeared only a few months ago Teleo,
    see Newsweek Feb 28 edition 'Ma Bells Kids will live on the net" for a full review. I have other VOIP services with companies like Iconnecthere and have trialed several others , none can compare with the quality and the price of Teleo. VOIP and Teleo are revolutions in the field of telecommunications.
    Unfortunetely there is lots of money and influence in the old telephone system so VOIP which rips apart the profit system for MA Bells has lots of enemies . The Bell system is old and decaying but VOIP is young and developing and is bound to improve and eventually we will live in a world with one area code. This should be our goal, breaking technical barriers so we can become one global environment interconnected to the hilt.
    As someone who has been cheering VOIP since the early days of Internetphone I can only hope and pray that this trend will become a river and the river an ocean of VOIP.

    Best Regards
    Gershon Schwartz
  • Let's be practical for a moment...

    Regardless of the arguments for and against VOIP, I think anyone who switches to VOIP exclusively as the only phone line in their house is foolish. I don't know about anyone else but the only time my landline has ever "failed" is when I forgot to pay the bill. Even then I could still dial 911. I use VOIP as a dirt cheap second line with unlimited calling to where I need it. My landline plan plus my VOIP plan is still way cheaper than any landline phone compnay's "anywhere unlimited" plans. Regarding 911, since I can plug my ATA in almost anywhere and use it, why would I expect any kind of 911 service? How can they possible know where I'm calling from at any given time? However, this obviousness does not excuse VOIP providers from informing current and potential customers of the issues regarding 911. In fact, I think they should have big bold flashing banners on every page during the signup process reminding people of 911 limitations, but that's my opinion. Now let me put my flame proof suit on before you reply.