E-Handbook:

The advantages of SAN technology in an HCI world

Where SANs still make sense in the enterprise

Demand for hyper-converged infrastructure is taking off. Global revenue is expected to grow from $4.1 billion in 2018 to $17.1 billion in 2023, a nearly 33% compound annual growth rate, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets. Traditional SAN systems are growing slower. IDC has projected that revenue from Fibre Channel, iSCSI and other SAN systems will increase from $19.4 billion in 2018 to $21.6 billion in 2023, a little more than a 2% CAGR.

HCI is said to be cheaper, simpler to manage and easier to maintain than SANs. That's good news for IT teams managing more workloads with fewer resources. So, is there any advantage to using a SAN in this burgeoning HCI world?

SANs aren't about to disappear. They still serve a vital role, particularly for large enterprises that require general-purpose storage with significant scalability, flexibility and other advanced features. For them, the advantages of SAN technology prevail.

HCI, on the other hand, is often a better fit for smaller enterprises that use basic storage for specific applications and don't want to hire storage specialists. HCI collapses the traditional three-tier compute, storage and networking architecture into one layer. Storage in HCI systems is provisioned through the hypervisor and doesn't require storage manager involvement.

Find out more about the advantages of SAN vs. HCI in this handbook by exploring the five questions to ask when making the SAN-HCI decision. We also examine the applications where SAN's speed, reliability and flexibility are the better bet, including databases and data management systems; server virtualization; business applications, such as ERP and CRM; virtual desktop infrastructure; and development and testing.

The SAN-HCI choice comes up in virtual storage environment decision-making, too. Again, HCI provides the simpler, less-expensive approach. SAN's advantages shine in nonvirtualized environments and those that combine virtual and physical storage.

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