Is there any reliability difference with unified storage?

There are some interesting aspects to reliability. First, are the [unified or multiprotocol storage] components any different? There are a few minor differences, but usually not a significant difference.

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In actual practice, "reliability" tends to be more colored by human actions than failure in hardware -- either through errors in administration or in the software written to run on those platforms. In this way, reliability is influenced by the complexity of the particular unified storage system. As a system becomes more complex, there are more opportunities for failures to occur. Consequently, a complex system will typically have a higher failure rate than a simple system. Added complexity also increases the possibility of operational/administrative errors; creating a reliability problem. Unfortunately, a lot of those "human errors" in administration are reported as a system or hardware failure. Ultimately, a unified storage system is generally no more or less reliable than a dedicated block or file storage platform of similar complexity.

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This was first published in February 2007

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