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Feature: NAS Roadmap

Visit Storage Pipeline MagazineLike Rodney Dangerfield, NAS proponents find it hard to get a little respect. The common perception of NAS as a poor SAN relative might have been true as recently as two or three years ago, but in reality, NAS vendors have been taking advantage of the same improvements in storage technology as the big boys of SAN storage. In fact, most of these market leaders have launched NAS lines of their own. As a result, a number of high-level storage features--including data replication, snapshots and integrated backup technologies--have trickled down to even the smallest NAS. We talked to Adaptec, BlueArc, Dell, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, IBM, Isilon Systems, Network Appliance and Panasas to find out what else is on the horizon.

We found something for everyone. Whether you work for a smaller company that's outgrowing its DAS (direct attached storage) system or a SAN-centric enterprise, vendors have a story to tell. And, be sure to check out "From Many, Fewer", for in-depth info on NAS clustering and virtualization.

It's Cooooming

We're now officially halfway through the decade, and as expected, businesses of every size are facing a steadily rising ocean of data. Enterprises have been treading water for years, and now the problem is forcing smaller businesses to come to grips with a growing number of digital work products, additional support for an expanding workforce and the need to comply with government-mandated data-storage requirements.

Even the most conservative compound annual data-growth estimates, in the 30 percent to 50 percent range, equate to doubling storage capacity every couple years. At that rate, keeping a handle on all the growing DAS pools will drive even the smallest companies into adopting some sort of centralized storage architecture. For SMBs in search of storage consolidation, NAS has always offered a combination of low cost, ease of management, multiplatform support and common Ethernet connectivity that's very appealing, especially in environments without a great deal of storage networking expertise.

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