What is AOE?

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What is AOE
AOE stands for ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment) over Ethernet, and is a network protocol for storage devices to communicate over LAN or local area network. It involves simple transmission of ATA commands from a host to a particular hard drive, doing out with SATA cables and IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics).

The AOE protocol makes uses of the computers MAC address for low-level networking. Storage devices meanwhile are in the form of ATA and/or IDE disks. AOE is said to be a little more costly than using IDE cables, but still provides cheaper storage for the entire network. The AOE protocol has no security features like passwords and data encryption since it runs on the local network only. So one may want to make sure that the storage device or the file system has built-in security options to ward off illegal access. AOE also allows various systems to share a storage device on the network without needing another server or file system. This is done through a file clustering system on the storage disk itself. And with a locking mechanism in place, one will know that a targeted storage disk is in use or not.

There are various advantages of employing the AOE protocol. First and foremost is the cost issue. AOE is simply very cheap to implement. And since it runs on the Ethernet, setting up and doing configurations is very easy. It also has initiator support for various operating systems like Microsoft’s Windows, Apple’s Mac OS X, and Linux. AOE also allows for easy backup storage using inexpensive hard drives. But for those who need more security on a bigger network, iSCSI or Internet Small Computer System Interface may be the better choice. AoE is also not scalable unlike iSCSI, where data traffic can be routed. SCSI disks are also said to be more reliable as storage devices when compared to its ATA counterparts.

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