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Suppliers develop Sans for smaller enterprises

Cliff Saran
With the ever-increasing need to improve and expand enterprise storage, companies around the world are looking to develop or improve their storage area network strategy.

In a survey of 450 European firms, storage analyst MacArthur Stroud International found that 47% of users had implemented one or more Sans. The results showed that internal rates of return in all cases exceeded 30%, and some exceeded 200%.

Although Sans have usually been seen as storage for the enterprise, MacArthur Stroud expects suppliers to use CeBIT to announce moves to develop San products that target small and medium-sized firms and small workgroups.

Back-up, data replication, Raid systems, San hardware, software and management software, server clustering, volume and file management, switches, hubs and bridges are among the products being demonstrated by storage suppliers at CeBIT.

Storage management is another area set for major changes. Managing storage hardware from different suppliers currently poses problems for IT departments as each enterprise storage supplier offers different application programming interfaces for their products.

CeBIT is likely to see moves to overcome this problem as leading suppliers adopt a new standard from the Storage Networking Industry Association called Storage Management Interface Specification (SMI-S).

SMI-S is a set of common models and protocols designed to let storage management applications control storage devices made by different hardware suppliers.

Analyst company Gartner expects external controller-based disk storage that supports Serial ATA disc drives and native host interface to internet SCSI to be widely available from leading suppliers this year.

According to Gartner, storage suppliers will continue to release more cost-effective and powerful Raid-based disc storage technology, permitting increases in capacity scaleability per unit.

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