Know Your Storage Technologies

This handy cheat-sheet helps keep you straight on evolving storage terminology.

Use this handy cheat-sheet to help keep straight the evolving list of storage terminology.

  • Direct-attached storage (DAS) Storage connected directly to a server.
  • Fibre Channel An expensive short-distance networking technology used for building SANs.
  • ATA (AT attachment) or IDE (Integrated Device Electronics) Traditional desktop and low-end server storage technology that includes the controlling circuitry for mass-storage devices as part of the devices. This technology is one of the standard ways of connecting hard drives, CD-ROM drives, and tape drives to a system.
  • iSCSI A low-cost way to create SANs over IP networks.
  • IP SAN A SAN built around the iSCSI protocol.
  • Network-attached storage (NAS) A storage appliance that connects to the Ethernet network and provides file-level storage access.
  • RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) The name for a number of different fault-tolerance schemes that use drive arrays.
  • SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) The de facto standard for midrange and high-end server direct-attached storage.
  • Serial ATA (SATA) A new low-cost storage standard with faster transfer speeds than IDE/ATA.
  • Serial-attached SCSI A new high-performance SCSI standard. Products will appear late this year.
  • Storage area network (SAN) Typically a Fibre Channel subnetwork of storage devices that can be shared by several servers.