Making Sense of Storage

By Michael Krieger  |  Posted 2001-06-01 Print this article Print

Making Sense of Storage

Download the whiteboard flowchart that accompanies this text.

Server Attached Storage includes any storage device attached to a file server on a LAN. Price, capacity and fault tolerance have made RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) the leading technology for server-based storage in the 1990s, but RAID arrays grow increasingly expensive to manage as storage needs scale, and there are faster alternatives.

Network Attached Storage solutions separate data from applications by storing data on "filers" instead of application hosting servers. Filers are attached to LANs, not servers, and can share files across multiple applications, platforms and operating systems. However, since filers and servers share the same LAN, network performance can be affected.

Enterprise Storage Networks can offer a 40 percent cost reduction over server-attached storage. They need fewer personnel to manage, and allow backup, restoring and archiving data to be handled more efficiently.

Storage Service Providers are firms that lease storage from their own data centers, or administer their customers installed storage infrastucture.

Storage Area Networks offer higher speeds and throughput than NAS systems by offloading data traffic to a separate network for storage devices. The downside: SANs have difficulty supporting multiple operating systems and platforms. Users also complain that they are unable to integrate SAN solutions from different vendors.

ISCSI (Internet Small Computer Systems Interface) is a new standard enabling storage and retrieval at speeds of 1 GB/second or higher over TCP/IP networks. While promising, products using this standard are only now emerging and will only be appropriate for companies with IP backbones capable of handling gigabit traffic.

Michael has been involved in various disciplines in the information technology field for more than 25 years. His background and experience in product development, marketing and sales give him a unique perspective on how and why companies succeed in the technology marketplace. Before joining Ziff Davis Market Experts, he was a senior VP for marketing at FutureLink, a large ASP based in Southern California. He previously was VP of marketing for Hitachi Data SystemsÔÇÖ server product line, and also was a senior product manager for AST Research's server and data communications product lines.

His entrepreneurial experience includes founding Solution Business Systems, a developer of manufacturing software for IBM midrange systems. He was also VP of product development at Techland Systems, one of the industry's first creators of micro-to-mainframe emulators.

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