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Published: 16 Oct 2012

Storage area networks (SANs) were the hot new thing at the turn of the century, and their inherent complexity made vendors rush to tackle management issues. In that way, block-level virtualization was born as an enabling technology for all things SAN related. But while the squeaky wheel was getting the grease, simple network-attached storage (NAS) systems grew in the background. Now that NAS farms have grown to multiterabyte proportions, management migraines usually associated with SANs have arisen, and virtualization--round two--has begun. Startups have emerged with a slew of hardware and software products aimed at file-level virtualization, also known as file aggregation. So what is it, and how can it help you? "The concept of file-level virtualization is the same as virtualization in SANs in that it's easier to manage one big thing rather than lots of smaller things," says Mike Fisch, an analyst for the Clipper Group, in Wellesley, MA. Enterprises need both file and block data, Fisch says. Applying the same concept of virtualization at both levels would ... Access >>>

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