Where do virtualization devices live and what do they do?

In NAS and SANs, are there any "devices" or servers that sit between a client and the actual storage device? Is there any situation in which the fabric or servers actually govern access to the storage devices?
Not necessarily, but there could be. There are virtualization devices like the IBM SAN Volume Controller (just one example) that could sit between the server and the block storage device to provide added function at the fabric level. For NAS, a NAS device can be used as a gateway. In this scenario, the block storage that connects to it is really SAN-attached storage.

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