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Special Supplement: 10 ways to trim storage costs

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Storage August 2006 Special Supplement

3) Size your SAN/NAS properly.
An underdesigned SAN may not be reliable and its performance may suffer. However, going overboard when designing a SAN means you'll likely spend more than you should and make maintenance tougher than it should be. There are three mainstream choices for a storage network topology: FC, iSCSI and NAS. FC is a storage-specific protocol and the highest performance storage network available. The latter two technologies can use an existing TCP/IP network. iSCSI has the smallest market share of the three, but is quickly gaining in popularity (see "

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iSCSI: Low-cost alternative to FC"). iSCSI encapsulates SCSI commands in a TCP/IP packet, and its pricing is generally midway between that of NAS and FC.

The most common storage network topology is NAS, which is typically the least expensive of the three choices. One advantage NAS has is its ability to share a file among multiple systems without additional software.

4) Do it yourself.
Pulling your own fiber cables and finishing them with connectors instead of having patch panels installed can save you thousands of dollars. Be sure to label both ends of your cables so that you can find them if there's an issue. Keep in mind that while the cables are tough, they are glass and can fracture if stressed. Be sure to check local building codes to verify your compliance with all local fire codes.

If it's feasible, install new software or hardware yourself instead of using a vendor's services. If a vendor requires installation services for its product, you might consider competing products with an easier installation process. When a product is complicated to install, it will often be more complicated--and costly--to maintain.

This was first published in August 2006

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