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Is It Time to Deconstruct the Array?

If we could break a monolithic storage array into its component parts, it would consist of six elements (see "Array Deconstructed," right):

• A "controller," usually provided in pairs for redundancy; often a computer that hosts value-added software features and provides RAID on the array

• An external interface that supports the protocol (IP, Fibre Channel, parallel SCSI or other interconnect du jour) and wiring used to connect storage to server, plus physical cables and connectors

• A backplane that interfaces the controller to disk drives; usually includes a Fibre Channel arbitrated loop or FC fabric switch for interconnecting disks and controllers inside the array

• The array's power supplies, backup batteries and fans

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