Top 10 SAN/NAS trends of 2004 editorial staff

What's on your mind, storage pros? This year, it was saving money -- no big shock there. Your interest in the declining price and improving reliability of SATA, RAID, iSCSI and NAS was stronger than ever, even if some of the users we quoted expressed their doubts as

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to whether or not these technologies have fully arrived yet.

 Top 10 SAN/NAS trends of 2004
1. Steeling SATA for duty
By Alex Barrett
As a general rule, Serial ATA (SATA) disk drives don't have the same reliability ratings as SCSI or Fibre Channel drives. Whereas an enterprise-class SCSI drive has a mean time between failure (MTBF) of 1,200,000 hours, many SATA drives only run to 600,000 MTBF.
2. Disk-to-disk-to-tape makes inroads
By Alan Earls
With the decreasing cost of disk, disk-based backup is feasible and offers the advantage of much more rapid restore.
3. Should you choose a SATA-based array?
By Alex Barrett
Just because Serial ATA drives cost less than a quarter the cost of Fibre Channel drives on a dollar-per-Gigabyte basis, don't expect those kinds of savings in the new SATA-based arrays from EMC Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co., Hitachi Data Systems and Sun Microsystems. There, the savings shrink to approximately 50%.
4. SATA drives take aim at SCSI
By Alan Earls
For a few years now, ATA drives -- long confined purely to the desktop market -- have been showing more and more strength in a variety of less-than-mission-critical enterprise applications. Now, with a new serial version of the long-popular ATA protocol (SATA) moving into availability some drive makers are working to sharpen their competitive edge so they can make further inroads relative to SCSI.
5. How low will RAID costs go?
By Alex Barrett
Copious, networked, fault-tolerant storage is almost within arm's reach of the average consumer. By that, we mean a terabyte of RAID-5 network-attached storage (NAS) for under $1,000. That's almost a fifth the cost of a comparably sized NAS system today, such as a 1 TB Snap Server 4500, which retails for approximately $4,500 from CDW Corp., based in Vernon Hills, Ill.
6. Dueling SAN technologies: NAS vs. iSCSI
By Alan Earls
Although Fibre Channel (FC) SANs continue to attract customers, storage professionals have never stopped looking for other, cheaper and less complex technologies. ISCSI is the most recent blip on the radar screen. But now that iSCSI products are finally coming on to the market, many analysts see the competition shaping up not between Fibre Channel and iSCSI, but between iSCSI and the other traditional "budget" approach to storage networking, Network Attached Storage (NAS).
7. Why aren't you using iSCSI HBAs?
By Alex Barrett
If you have an iSCSI SAN, chances are you that you aren't using iSCSI HBAs. But maybe you should: At least one user says that the performance boost is worth the slightly bigger price tag.
8. Are SMB HBAs good enough?
By Jerome M. Wendt
Existing host bus adapters (HBAs) offer a number of configuration options such as context switching, data buffers and data integrity fields. Yet some HBA vendors project that at most only about 50% of the users take advantage of any of these functions. Field engineers are even more pessimistic, estimating that fewer than 10% use these features.
9. How to decide between Fibre and iSCSI SANs
By Christopher Poelker
Question: I am evaluating an architecture that is all Fibre-based and other systems are just iSCSI-based. Can you please explain benefits going with either or and any other concerns you would have?
10. Is storage virtualization here at last?
By Alan Earls
Storage administrators who've been waiting for virtualization technology that minimizes the complexity of the SAN might not have to wait very much longer.

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