Direct-Attached Storage Coming of Age in Web 2.0 World

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

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 10 years and more than 3,500 stories at eWEEK, he has distinguished...