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The future looks good

IP convergence and SANs are two hot buttons. Training programs for each are either available now for members or soon will be.

January 1, 2005  

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January marked the start of my second term as the BICSI Canadian Region Director and I look forward to the tasks and opportunities ahead.

Over the past two years, I have met with many industry professionals ranging from veterans of BICSI to the young “up and comers.”

All appear enthused about the direction the industry is heading, which bodes well moving forward

In terms of what that future will hold, the IP convergence phenomenon, a shift that is affecting all areas of our industry, will surely play a major role. In order to prepare for IP, BICSI will soon provide support and training in this area for members.

The intent is to open up further opportunities for all those who are interested in pursuing this new technology stream.

Another obvious opportunity is the increased need for storage area networks or SANs, which is the focus of this issue’s cover story in CNS. I would like to emphasize the importance of proper structured cabling techniques in the SANs space.

Large scale retrieval

Storage area networks are typically not used to retrieve data on a day-to-day basis, but rather to store data on a large scale for future retrieval such as in a disaster recovery situation, data verification or for historical purposes.

This function will usually involve large amounts of data being collected for delivery to the SAN. It will most likely enter the SAN through a high speed/high bandwidth network access connection.

Take this scenario and picture the data travelling from the network access through a cabling system to a storage device.

For the SAN to work, a properly configured cabling system must be in place to avoid a point of failure or potential choke point.

Further to that are the tape drives. According to one article I recently read, in order for a tape drive to work efficiently, the data stream coming into the tape drive must be constant.

Interruptions to the data flow will cause the tape drives to stop and rewind, which in turn may cause the actual physical tape position to change. Even minute changes in the tape position can affect data recovery years down the road.

This means that a stable, high-speed, high bandwidth connection is needed for proper data transfer.

A standards-compliant, properly installed, reliable cabling system (fiber or copper) is essential in providing and maintaining these data rates.

10 Gigabit offerings

Recent announcements of new 10 Gigabit cabling offerings are also providing new opportunities to upgrade existing cabling systems that support SANs.

These products offer high bandwidth interconnections that are ideal for a SAN data centre or for a customer implementing a SAN within their data environment.

BICSI Network Storage Training and Information: To meet the needs of its members and the industry, BICSI has developed Web-based training modules that deal with content contained in its Network Design Reference Manual, 5th edition.

The network storage module covers the following topics: introduction to network storage; network storage fundamentals (high speed interfaces, redundant array of independent disks (RAID); Storage Area Networks (Fiber Channel, iSCSI, InfiniBand, virtualization); and backups (tape backup media, types of backups, hierarchical storage management.)

The module allows students to customize their learning program and study at their own pace. The course is dial-up friendly using Macromedia streaming technology. Further information is available at

Once on the site, I would recommend reading the cover story in the September/ October issue of BICSI News entitled, “Storage Area Networks Continue Strong Growth Pattern.”

Other BICSI Training: We will be bringing standards-based and vendor-neutral training to Canada again this year. Mark your calendars for:

DD102: Designing Telecommunications Distribution Systems, May 15-20, Toronto.

DD200: Telecommunications dis- tribution Systems Review, June 21-24, Toronto.

Spring Conference: BICSI’s 2005 Spring Conference will be held May 2-5 at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev. There will be three days of technical presentations, keynote speakers and cutting-edge exhibits.

For more information on BICSI training and conferences, call 800-242-7405 (toll free Canada/USA) or 1-813-979-1991 or visit our web site.

Roman Dabrowski, RCDD, is the Canadian Director of BICSI and a Director of Product Management with Bell Canada. He can be reached via e-mail at