DAS: Down on the Server Farm

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

Entrepreneurs starting new Web 2.0-type companies are looking into DAS-based systems to anchor their growing server farms. Smaller businesses are considering housing their Tier 1 business storage on anywhere from one to four DAS machines, because scalability has been improved greatly and costs have fallen.

All in all, this is a good time to buy storage of any kind, due to the number of competitors in the sector and the ever-increasing capacities and improved software quality within the systems.

Dell and Hewlett-Packard, two of the four largest storage system providers in the world, are reporting upsurges in sales of old-fashioned DAS systems, mostly for SMBs, in the last 12 months. Neither company had definitive sales numbers to report at press time, but vice presidents at both companies told eWEEK that they have seen a noticeable bump in DAS sales over the last year.

Dual- and quad-core processors from Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and LSI in array controllers, along with higher-capacity disks provided by Seagate Technology, Hitachi, Samsung, Fujitsu and Western Digital, are making DAS storage more efficient in terms of power and performance. Stiff competition among a number of storage providers, including Sun StorageTek, IBM, Fujitsu and Hitachi Data Systems, has brought prices way down.

"Over the last year, we've seen our DAS sales increase noticeably, mostly for the SMB market and for branch offices," Praveen Asthana, vice president of storage for Dell, told eWEEK.

"We've seen DAS growing because it's become much more capable than it used to be. And SAS (serial-attached SCSI) technology, which really changed DAS, made it scalable," Asthana said. "In the past, you could not scale DAS. Now, with SAS, you can attach quite a lot of storage behind the DAS unit, say 90 drives-that's a lot of storage. When you don't have a lot of IT staff, it makes a lot of sense to start with a DAS, attach it to the server and expand it for storage needs." 

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 Salesforce.com 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 DevX.com 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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