Networked storage to oust DAS, tape to thrive

SNIA official SW Worth wanted to set the record straight. Tape is not dead. In fact, it's alive and well. But, he said, direct-attached storage (DAS) is on shaky ground.

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Storage networking is on the rise and, according to some experts, the days of direct-attached storage (DAS) are numbered.

During a talk at the Comdex Fall 2002 conference last month in Las Vegas, SW Worth, interoperability and education liaison for the Storage Networking Industry Association and technical marketing manager for Austin, Texas-based Crossroads Systems Inc., said a crossover point is coming and people need to make adjustments to the way they think about storage.

If adoption rates are any indication, networked storage technology will eventually replace DAS in enterprise-class environments, said Worth, who wanted to set the record straight on a previously reported SearchStorage.com story that mistakenly quoted Worth as saying storage networking will replace tape.

Tape is not dead, Worth said in an interview last week, reiterating the theme of his talk at Comdex. In fact, one of the biggest reasons for buying a storage area network (SAN) is backup applications which should foster the development and adoption of new tape solutions, most of which will be 10M byte/sec and faster.

"If you look at doing LAN-free backup, it's frequently enough to justify a SAN to managers," Worth said. "But there's the problem of long-term data archiving. Disk drives simply aren't appropriate for long term. For performance, it has to be tape.

"Tape needs to be attached as autonomous storage directly to a storage network and not to a storage server."

International Data Corp., the Framingham, Mass.-based research firm, reported that in 1999, 89% of all disk storage systems were directly attached to a server. By the middle of 2002, the number had dropped to 62%.

Charlotte Rancourt, disk storage systems research director for IDC, said users have migrated to the network. SAN and NAS combined represented 15% of revenue for external disk systems in 1999. By mid-2002, SAN and NAS revenue had grown 343% and accounted for 53% of revenue.

While networked storage increases design and management complexity, IDC recommends blending NAS and SAN functionality in a single enclosure or cost-reduced set of components near term. Rancourt said that networked storage reduces the need for multiple local copies of data.

Worth admits that there are still problems left to solve in storage networking. He said that management and interoperability issues are still present in SAN environments.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

SNIA seeks user input on SAN design

Network storage converges on DAS

Users given voice to influence networked storage

Let us know what you think of this story. E-mail Kevin Komiega, News Writer

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