Direct-Attached Storage Coming of Age in Web 2.0 World

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-09-08 Print this article Print

Improvement in serial-attached SCSI connectivity technology has enabled the venerable data direct-attached storage model to scale along with growing Internet businesses. Despite all the talk about iSCSI, Fibre Channel and 4/10GB Ethernet connectivity, industry experts estimate that DAS still comprises about 70 percent of the entire data storage market.

Good old direct-attached data storage, the original digital storage model that dates back to IBM's original spinning desk platter in the mid-1950s, doesn't make a lot of news these days. Like a shy boy or girl on the sidelines at a junior-high sock hop, it prefers to let other newer and fancier technologies grab attention on the dance floor.

But this oh-so-basic storage form, in fact, is what's making most of the business world go 'round. In addition to its common use in small businesses and home offices, many larger enterprises-including Web 2.0 companies-are rediscovering DAS and are starting to add it as an adjunct layer for specific mission-critical applications.

DAS is storage that is physically connected via cable or other wired connection to dedicated servers, desktops, laptops, thin clients or handheld data origination terminals.

Despite all the talk about iSCSI, Fibre Channel and 4/10GB Ethernet connectivity, industry experts estimate that DAS still comprises about 70 percent of the entire data storage market. This, of course, includes the millions of simple, USB-attached external drives individuals use in homes or in remote corporate offices, but it also includes DAS as an integral part of a growing number of enterprise storage systems.

IT analyst company IDC, which tracks various sectors in enterprise network storage each quarter, does not research DAS because of its history as primarily a consumer-focused market. IDC's Brad Nisbet, however, told eWEEK that the company is considering adding the category to its research offerings due to the rise of DAS in the small and midsize business space.

The main reasons for this upswing? Dependability, simplicity of use, better products and falling hardware prices. All DAS requires is a direct physical connection from server to storage array; the corresponding nearness to the information source means fast performance. There's nothing fancy about it-no hypervisor, virtual I/O or other augmentation is needed.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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