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Sorting out SAN and NAS

I am currently attending New England Institute of Technology and we are learning about SAN and NAS environments. I was wondering what the differences are between the two? Which one is the most widely used and which one leads the industry?

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Typically you find SANs in enterprise datacenter environments with high performance requirements that have the availability and reliability characteristics needed in this most demanding environment. The last survey data I saw had SAN deployments in that environment over 80%. There are also SANs in the small-to-midsize business market but statistically it is a much smaller number. The sizes of the SANs are typically very large, averaging about 12 TB. NAS has primarily been deployed in workgroup and departmental environments but is now seeing success in the small-to-midsize business space. There are a very large number of NAS devices installed but the average capacity is very small. NAS is starting to enter into the enterprise datacenter for some applications but right now it is statistically a small number.

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This was first published in November 2003

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