Storage area Networks (SANs) ain't cheap. While that's been good for vendors' bottom line, a few have noticed that it is also limiting their market and spawning new, less pricey technological competitors.

Perhaps with those factors in mind, 35 key SAN storage and software developers, recently announced the Affordable SAN Initiative. Members of the initiative say they intend to dispel the notion that SANs are unaffordable for small and medium businesses. They say they will accomplish this by redefining and promoting SAN solutions for these customers with end-user pricing of $50,000 or less, a significant reduction in the typical $250,000 entry point to enterprise-class SANs.

In making the announcement, the initiative quoted a range of enthusiastic analysts. For example, Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst, Enterprise Storage Group. "Cost and complexity have haunted the Fibre Channel SAN industry and caused slow adoption," he said. Duplessie predicted the initiative will lead to more people adopting networked storage.

Nick Allen, vice president and research director at Gartner, Inc., also offered an endorsement. "Lowering the entry cost for SANs...will stimulate the market," he said.

Jamie Gruener, senior analyst for storage at Yankee Group, Boston, said the initiative "makes a lot of sense."

"For people will smaller enterprises who haven't had a chance to deploy SANs in a lot of cases, it gives them the opportunity to do so,"

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he said.

However, noted Gruener, the reasons for not deploying SANs have had as much to do with complexity as with cost. Therefore, he said, for the coalition to succeed in its goal of bringing SANs "to the masses" they will need to establish best practices and provide more guidance and information on how to successfully implement. "They can't just certify a solution and walk away," he said.

Affordable SAN Initiative members presently include: Acer, ADIC, ATTO, BakBone Software, BMC Software, Broadband Storage, Chaparral Network Storage, Ciprico, Computer Associates, Crossroads Systems, DataCore Software, Dot Hill, Eurologic Systems, Exabyte Corporation, FalconStor, Legato Systems, Inc., LSI Logic Storage Systems, MTI, Nexsan Technologies, Nishan Systems, nStor, Overland Data, Prisa Networks, Procom Technology, Qualstar, Quantum Corporation, Qlogic, Raidtec Corporation, SAN Valley Systems, Seagate Technology, Spectra Logic, StorageTek, Sun Microsystems, VERITAS Software, Vicom and Zzyzx Peripherals.


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  • Alan Earls often writes about things NAS and SAN in his weekly "SAN/NAS Update: Trends" column. View the latest.
  • About the author: Alan Earls is a freelance writer in Franklin, MA.

    This was first published in February 2002

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