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Similarly, vendors that offer both multiprotocol arrays and SRM apps such EMC ControlCenter and Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. Storage Essentials typically provide tighter integration and more advanced management options for their own multiprotocol arrays.
"For NetApp filers and the HP StorageWorks All-in-One Storage System, we offer a Storage Essentials agent that extends the full SRM capabilities to file-system protocols," says HP's Dean Schneider, marketing planning manager for Storage Essentials.
Multiprotocol arrays provide a wider range of backup options than block-based arrays. Besides snapshot and replication, users can directly back up data through CIFS and NFS file-system protocols without going through another server. Moreover, the
| majority of multiprotocol arrays--Windows Storage Server excluded--support the Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP), which is optimized for backup and eliminates the need for installing a backup agent on the storage system. Being Windows based, the lack of NDMP support in Windows Storage Server isn't much of an issue, as most Windows Server 2003-compatible backup applications will also run on Windows Storage Server.
Thin provisioning is becoming increasingly important and is available in multiprotocol arrays from EMC, HDS and NetApp. Deduplication is another feature making inroads. While a few vendors have some level of deduplication, NetApp is currently the only multiprotocol array vendor offering a deduplication option for all of its filers.
In general, arrays from leading storage vendors like NetApp and EMC include only a limited number of features in the base price, and extra features and protocols have to be bought separately. Some customers are repelled by having to pay for features they expected to be part of the base price and are driven to array vendors with a more inclusive pricing model.
This was first published in March 2008