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NetApp Demonstrates that SATA is Growing Up
Serial ATA Networking Moving Toward More Intense Environments
May. 25, 2005 01:00 PM
Multi-tiered storage is becoming increasingly common among enterprises of all sizes, as companies strive to isolate data used in real-time applications from less intensive uses such as supply-chain management, archiving, and e-mail, while simultaneously attempting to unify data in one single, heterogeneous environment.
High-performance networking technologies such as Fibre Channel provide the traditional information supherhighway for intense, high-data applications, but with a certain complexity and expense attached to them. Less expensive technologies, such as serial ATA (SATA) have traditionally been employed in less intense regions of the IT infrastructure.
But NetApp, the NAS market leader, tried to subvert the dominant paradigm last week it the announcement of midrange SATA systems that are designed for high-performance applications. With analysts readily forecasting the growth of NAS, the growth of SATA, and increasing efforts to unify NAS and SAN environments, NetApp's announcement puts pressures on its traditional competitors as well as any new companies trying to break into the market.
SATA is expected to receive a further boost with the availability of serial-attached SCSI (SAS) drives, which will be able to work with SATA.
An overarching concept in this competition is that of information lifecycle management (ILM), which brings a more subtle approach to the traditional high-cost/low-cost storage dualism. Through ILM, companies migrate their storage through various tiers, balancing cost and performance along the way. A more aggressive use of SATA, should the technology provide the RAS levels demanded by enterprise IT management, can help speed the development of multi-tiered ILM approaches.
SAN leader, for example, touts an "ILM in a box" approach with its
systems. EMC has maintained its industry leadership in a post-dot-bomb
environment that is difficult for all technology vendors, and a competitive
landscape in the storage business that continues to show dramatic
cost-per-terabyte costs year after year. Other market leaders, such as IBM and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), offer their own approaches to ILM. All companies are addressing what are increasingly being called "unified" storage environments.
The cost declines have been compensated by spiking storage demands, driven by everything from dramatic increases in rich data types (especially on corporate websites), a pick up in the global economy, and archival demands associated with the data compliance provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) legislation in the U.S. and similar requirements elsewhere.
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