SANs are already commonplace in corporate data centers where theyre used to link servers to disc and tape drives, typically using Fibre Channel equipment. Now theyre being extended to multiple sites over the optical backbones being installed by carriers. And that in turn is leading to the emergence of specialized storage services targeting a wider audience of potential users. A boom could be in the offing (see Storage Networks Supernova).
"SANs are spreading, getting bigger, getting networked, and optical's the way they're getting networked," says John McArthur, vice president for storage research at IDC.
These developments are reflected in IDCs forecasts for different Fibre Channel devices -- bridge/routers, host bus adapters, switches, and hubs -- shown in the chart.