I wonder why you always mention IBM, EMC, SUN, HP, Compaq and HDS as SAN vendors and ignore Network Appliances? Many SANs could be implemented using NetApp filers and NMDP (plus products from other vendors). It's not all-in-one SAN solution from one company but it's cheap and you have a choice - which product to use. NetApp publishes a list of compatible products on its Web site (like Vixel, Veritas, Backbone, etc.) It can satisfy the demands of many small to middle-sized companies.

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I guess it's all in the semantics.

Network Appliance has industry recognition as a NAS vendor providing shared storage pools accessed over IP connections. The other vendors you mention may also have NAS solutions but are recognized as providing Fibre Channel based solutions using block based storage arrays (SCSI over Fibre). Either may be considered as part of a "storage network" but SAN generally refers to block based access and NAS generally refers to file based access. (That's why they are called "filers.")

Chris

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This was first published in March 2002

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