One of the stumbling blocks in delivering geographically separated datacenter solutions for backup, replication, and disaster recovery is often the need to build a SAN solution that is properly supported and, most importantly, connected at both sites. Building SAN solutions for a single site is well established technology, but bridging multiple site SANs together, especially if they are not locally connected (such as on the same fiber ring in a single city) tends to introduce a host of problems in making sure that the SAN connection is reliable and efficient.
Level3 is looking to simplify that process for their datacenter customers. Their goal is to provide a native SAN connection between sites that is high-performance and low latency and allows the customer to treat the SAN connection as a local one, without the need for any special handling to pass data to the second site. This would greatly simplify the processes of deploying business continuity and disaster recovery applications as well as replicating data between sites.
By working with Brocade, Level3 is able to deliver a hardware solution that connects the SANs at each site to their Wavelength network. The hardware handles the translation between standard SAN protocols and the protocol necessary for secure communications across the Level 3 network backbone. The solution supports Fiber Channel and FICON, at speeds up to 10 Gbps. This hardware connectivity solution allows the datacenter operators to work only with native SAN over fiber protocols and not worry about the translation aspect that allows this communication to pass over the non-SAN portions of the connection.
By allowing these connections, Level obviates the need to the datacenter operator to invest in other technologies to support their WAN SAN connections, such as FCoE or moving to iSCSI.