All Aboard the 4 Gigabit Train

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The future of 4 Gigabit Fibre Channel technology is here and by 2006 it will be widely adopted by organisations around the world.

Just six-months ago that statement would have been met with heavy skepticism; but today, industry analysts, customers and manufacturers all agree that 4 Gbps technology will be available from the worlds leading IT vendors by mid-2005.

Companies with high performance computing needs, such as scientists, engineers, artists and others who need access to large amounts of data to solve complex problems, will be the first to adopt the technology. Four Gigabit Fibre Channel technology will enable auto manufacturers to reduce time to market and improve the safety of vehicles by making testing and simulations less time consuming. Energy companies will be able to conduct more iterations of analysis thereby improving the bidding process and increasing their probability of finding petroleum. Companies that arent considered traditional high performance computing customers will also benefit. Food manufacturers, for example, will be able to redesign and improve packaging in less time by using 4 Gbps technology.

The entertainment industry will produce higher quality animated movies, in less time, when they adopt 4 Gbps technology. The producers of Polar Express, an animated film that was a holiday hit, used a new technique called Performance Capture that allows an actor to be covered in hundreds of tiny computer chips. The data from these chips contains precise information about all of the actors movements, including facial expressions. Production of the graphics involved in the endeavor required millions of time consuming calculations. Had 4 Gbps been available, the time required to produce the movie could have been reduced significantly.

The most frequently asked question regarding 4 Gbps technology is Why do I need this? After all, most users still arent taking full advantage of all that 2 Gbps SANs have to offer. The answer is twofold: technology and economics. As technology advances components become smaller, faster and less expensive. Vendors push improvements to differentiate and create competitive advantage. As a by product, the new technology can drive lower costs, creating an economic incentive for buyers to use the latest technology, even if their need is not immediate. When you add the fact that the new 4 Gbps technology will be compatible with 2 Gbps and 1 Gbps installations. There will be no need to uninstall 2 Gbps investments, and customers will be able to seamlessly plug into the improved infrastructure. This understanding changed the question from Why do I need this? to When can I have this?

Its important to remember that 4 Gbps Fibre Channel Technology is only part of the computing equation. If your performance bottleneck is the server horsepower for example, adding 4 Gbps infrastructure wont produce improved results.

4Gbps technology is just around the corner. The speed is impressive, and the costs are attractive. This train will be leaving the station soon. Dont be left behind.

Engenio are exhibiting at Storage Expo the UK's largest and most important event dedicated to data storage, now in its 5th year, the show features a comprehensive FREE education programme, and over 90 exhibitors at the National Hall, Olympia, London from 12 - 13 October 2005 www.storage-expo.com

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