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Direct-attached storage may seem passé, but it’s making a comeback and gaining widespread interest.

Direct-attached storage (DAS) is storage installed in a server or external cabinet that’s still connected directly to the server. DAS

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is storage that’s essentially captive to a particular server, so the server doesn’t need to traverse a network to read and write data.

DAS has been criticized as an inefficient way to connect storage to a server and as an obstacle to the data protection process. Storage that’s locally attached can’t be shared, which can lead to a situation where one server can be running out of disk capacity while others have plenty to spare. Without shared storage, there’s no way to balance capacity demands.

DAS could complicate the data protection process because each server would have to be backed up individually and the data copied across the network. Alternatively, each server would have its own locally attached tape device and backup application that would add even more complexity to the backup process.

Shared storage in the form of a storage-area network (SAN) or network-attached storage (NAS) device was supposed to address these issues and thus hasten the extinction of DAS. But DAS is still a common method of attaching storage to a server; in fact, it’s enjoyed something of a comeback in recent years. The resurgence reached new heights this year when EMC announced a PCI Express (PCIe)-based solid-state storage product designed to enable its networked storage systems to store some data locally on the server.

This was first published in May 2012

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