Fast Growth and Innovation
Fortunately, the current NAS products have solved these configuration issues, letting you get additional storage on your network in mere minutes.
This year, the NAS equipment market has grown more than 12 percent and is expected to accelerate. It will be worth almost $8.6 billion by 2005, according to market research firm The Yankee Group. Thats a significant figure in a hardware business that sees the cost of individual components decreasing annually.
Largely due to this growth, the NAS market itself has changed significantly in the past 18 months. Once thought of as little more than add-on storage boxes, high-end NAS products now come with multiple terabytes of storage, multiprocessor CPUs, and capabilities that in many cases render them indistinguishable from the more expensive storage area network (SAN) devices usually found only in larger enterprises. SAN technology, which has grown up in parallel with NAS, still holds some significant advantages, including increased distributed performance, support for high-end databases, and increased overall capacity.
Such high-end features, however, do not come cheap—SANs cost anywhere from $50,000 to $3 million. (For more on SANs, see our new Enterprise column, page 78.) If youre simply adding storage for files on your network, NAS servers offer a preferable long-term growth path for small to midsize organizations.
Another improvement is that the sometimes more intimidating Unix/Linux derivatives are no longer the only choices manufacturers have for operating systems. Microsoft has now joined the fray with Server Appliance Kit (SAK), a product designed to allow the easy use of Windows 2000 Server as the operating system for NAS appliances. Windows 2000 Server with SAK is now the OS of choice for 25 percent of the NAS devices currently on the market, according to an analyst report by International Data Corp.