Network storage

The data space is exploding and the cost of memory is reducing with each coming day. Today's organizations are creating zillions of bytes of data everyday and each bit requires storage. Paper information is being replaced by digital systems. On the entertainment front, newer formats are being developed to provide exceptional visual clarity which again requires storage. Video, audio and multimedia explosion has created a need for storage unheard of in the past.

Business, finance and telecom have been the strongest adopters of storage networks as both these verticals have to deal with enormous databases. They are the biggest adopters of SAN and this can be attributed to their increased customer base and deployment of applications to gain a competitive advantage. The widespread implementation of applications like Enterprise resource planning, Supply chain management and Customer relationship management all of which generate a huge amount of data ,is driving the adoption of network storage . In addition companies wishing to implement disaster recovery systems find it easier to do so after consolidating their data.

With the exponential rise in the acceptance of storage networks, the need for direct attached storage has plummeted .It is felt that the requirement of direct storage will go down further because of the obvious benefits that network storage provides. With the rise in internet traffic and extensive use of wide area networks, network storage devices have become more popular as compared to direct storage. It has been found that Data utilization in direct storage is below fifty per cent. Consequently, organizations have come to the conclusion that networked storage is better than DAS (Direct attached storage) .As on date network storage occupies more than eighty percent of storage space.

It is not only the data volumes which are increasing but also the number of copies and duplication of data. This has lead to data explosion and is a major challenge to manage these volumes. With 50 % growth year on year in data due to automation and digitization, data is fragmented. Hence there is more need for storage networks.

The biggest advantage of network storage is expandability. One can simply add more storage by adding a NAS device. In a DAS environment if a server is down, it means a temporary loss of data, till the server is up and running again. In network storage, the data is available all the time irrespective of the server condition or state. The other key reason is the regulatory compliance. To meet statutory obligations companies are forced to store data in more than one location.

Direct storage lacks expandability and redundancy. It is therefore more suitable for standalone installations. In this modern era when everything is networked the concept of a separate storage device for each and every computer has become redundant. Network storage on the other hand, is more versatile , modular and gives multiple options for storage. Data security is another reason for preferring network storage as against a direct storage device. Copyright (c) 2007 Dean Barnard.

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