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Storage Over WANs: No Plans

An online survey conducted by Byte and Switch has turned up some disquieting information for suppliers of wide-area storage services and equipment.

Contrary to popular and analyst opinion, the poll shows that only a small number of folk are really using MANs or WANs for storage traffic today. Even more worryingly, 51 percent of respondents say they have no plans to use WANs for this application (see Metro, Wide, or None?).

Out of 105 readers who took part in the poll, 16 percent are currently using a wide-area network to carry storage traffic and only 33 percent are planning to use a WAN for this application in the future.

There's every indication that these controversial results will come as a surprise to some companies, particularly Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), and EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC). They are on record as saying that the market for connecting SANs over the wide area is going to big business. Maybe not as big as they hope (see Nortel Lights Up Storage Networks and All Eyes on Cisco).

According to the survey, the metro storage networking market is slightly more promising. Only 11 percent are currently using a metro network to carry their storage traffic, but respondents are split down the middle on their future plans, with 45 percent claiming they do plan to use a metro network to carry this traffic and 44 percent with no plans to deploy a MAN specifically for storage.