Customers should not jump head first into storage area networking (San), but should take a closer look at gigabit Ethernet or Lan-based storage systems as alternatives.
Despite the hype, Sans have a number of unresolved issues, including security and standards, said Colin Rankine, analyst at Giga Information Group, speaking at Gigaworld IT Forum.
'San is an enabler, not the objective. It enables the improvement of backup and recovery, for example, but you still need to keep an eye on the end result,' he said.
A San enables multiple servers and storage devices to be connected by a number of networking components using fibre channel technology. The first wave of San products will enable backup and recovery. Future products will include improved space reporting, hierarchical storage and mirroring.
The main advantage will not be performance but the flexibility of the configuration, said Rankine, adding that users should consider that standards have yet to emerge and will not see the light of day within the next year or so, while security has not been addressed.
'Expect products to be proprietary and focus on creating a San for each of your server platforms,' he said. However, he added, cross-platform support will come in time.
Although a small number of San vendors are providing end-to-end systems, customers need to check their ability to act as a systems integrator, he said.
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