Storage area networks (Sans) are the wave of the future, argues market research firm Dataquest.
?Users want to separate the server [purchase] decision from the storage decision," said Dataquest analyst Thomas Lahive, speaking at a Dataquest conference in San Jose this week.
Spend on Raid arrays, the key storage technology for the enterprise, is slowly catching up with outlay on servers, Lahive said. While businesses worldwide now spend about three times as much on servers as they do on Raid storage systems, by 2002 they will spend $62 billion on servers and $40 billion on Raid.p> A whole range of key storage functions traditionally performed by the server, such as disaster recovery and back-up, do not actually require a server but can be performed within the San.
But widespread acceptance of Sans will require better interoperability between hardware from different manufacturers, said Lahive.
If Sans do catch on, system companies will be affected, Dataquest predicted. Since storage accounts for a large portion of server margin, the trend towards external storage will cut into these margins.
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