Network attached storage (NAS) may be niche technology at the moment, but the longer the battles in the storage area networks (SAN) market continue, the more likely NAS is to overtake it.
NAS technology is currently an emerging one and is attached directly to a network, which means that management costs are low, it is easy to add and fairly scaleable.
SAN technology, on the other hand, enables users to attach storage to servers via a hub on a network that is logically, although not necessarily physically, isolated from the server network., and is very scaleable.
John McArthur, IDC's director of worldwide storage research, explained at the firm's Systems Market Outlook conference in Redwood City, this week: "Network attached storage looks like a disruptive technology, while SANs are an evolving technology because they have predictable price/performance improvements and offer massive increases in scaleability."
But he continued: "NAS starts lower down the value chain, but SANs generally offer more storage capacity than is needed. As a result, if SAN technology doesn't evolve rapidly, NAS could overtake it." He added: "It's nichey now and hasn't got a lot of visibility, but it's seeing rapid revenue growth and it may become a disruptive technology if its performance is good enough for transaction systems rather than file servers."
While the SAN market was the fastest growing at the moment, he concluded, sales of internal storage and server attached external storage were likely to be flat for the forseeable future.
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