Direct storage losing out to IP-based systems

Users are set to move away from direct attached storage and on to IP-based storage as the cost of the technology falls.

Users are set to move away from direct attached storage and on to IP-based systems as the cost of the technology falls.

Direct attached storage uses discs that are connected to servers. While this configuration is simple to set up, it is expensive in the long run, in terms of manageability.

Visitors to the recent StorageExpo conference in London were shown how technology such as networked attached storage (Nas) and iSCSI could provide a cost-effective route to consolidate and simplify storage infrastructure. Many experts believe iSCSI has matured enough for mainstream adoption.

Analyst firm Forrester Research recently noted, “Networked storage has repeatedly been shown to have significant cost benefits over direct attached storage, such as improved capacity usage and reduced staff requirements, as well as operational benefits including ease of management, increased flexibility and improved availability.”

While users have had the option to switch from direct attached storage using Fibre Channel technology and storage area networks, it has proved expensive. As a result, larger businesses have mainly used Fibre Channel to support datacentre storage.

Forrester has estimated that IP-based storage products such as Nas and iSCSI are as little as a tenth of the cost of Fibre Channel. This makes it viable to connect more servers than ever and expand the benefits of networked storage, the analyst group said.

Claus Egge, programme director of European storage at IDC, said, “iSCSI will boost [demand for] storage at the expense of Fibre Channel.” He predicted that smaller organisations that found Fibre channel too costly or complex to implement would now turn to iSCSI for their storage needs..

New research also presented during StorageExpo has found  businesses are failing to assess the electricity used up by their data storage systems.

Earlier this month, analyst firm Gartner warned that energy costs could soar to more than half of overall IT budgets in the next few years.

The survey of 300 visitors to Storage Expo conducted by Hitachi Data Systems found while nearly half the respondents were storing more than 10 terabytes of data, almost the same number did not consider or know the impact this had on their firm’s energy consumption.

Most respondents estimated their company’s annual data growth at between 20% and 40%.


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