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Unified storage array satisfies both block and file fans

Thirty-one percent of storage shoppers have unified storage on their lists; the majority plan to use their new arrays equally for file and block apps.

Unified storage arrays offer the best of both worlds -- both file and block storage tucked away in the same box. What started out approximately 15 years ago as a cobble that stuck a server running a file system in front of a Fibre Channel (FC) array has evolved into fully integrated systems that offer the ultimate in flexibility. Nearly a third (31%) of surveyed storage shoppers have unified storage on their lists, and the vast majority of them -- 69% -- plan to use their new arrays equally for file and block applications.

On the block side, FC still nudges out iSCSI, 33% to 24%, although more than half of respondents would like to run both protocols on their gear. And, as expected, NFS is the file protocol of choice (77%) with 57% also requiring CIFS; more than half need support for SMB 3.0, CIFS successor.

When it comes to feature preferences, the name of the game for unified is pretty much the same as it is for any storage purchase these days. Forty percent want systems that can scale capacity and performance independently, while 31% are taking a close look at file system sizes.

For unified storage systems, the why behind the buy is also rather familiar: 59% simply need more capacity. That number is reflected in the average size of the unified arrays respondents planned to buy: 243 TB. And 17% are ready to buy really big, with arrays with more than 500 TB of capacity in their sights. But size isn't everything; better performance is the goal for 39% of unified buyers, and 30% are hoping for improved support for their virtualized servers.

Unified storage shoppers are also bracing for growth, expecting their storage capacity needs to grow by an average of 18% year-over-year.

Types of data used for new unified array
Unified array purchase considerations
Applications deployed on new unified storage arrays
Critical features of a unified array
Unified array capacity needs

About the author:
Rich Castagna is TechTarget's VP of Editorial/Storage Media Group.

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