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What are multiprotocol storage arrays and how can they benefit SMBs?

Greg Schulz explains what multiprotocol storage arrays are and how they can benefit an SMB environment.

How can multiprotocol storage arrays benefit SMBs?
A multiprotocol storage system or array is one that supports mixed modes of access or operations for either storage area network (SAN) blocks or network-attached storage (NAS) files without the need for external or third-party gateways, bridges or routers. Multiprotocol storage arrays are available for large-scale enterprises and upper midmarket environments, but it's a good idea for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to invest in them, too.

For flexibility, multiprotocol storage arrays can be configured with some storage for block access using SAS, iSCSI,...

Fibre Channel (FC) or Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) to support databases such as Oracle or SQL Server while other storage is accessed via NAS for VMware or home directors. Some multiprotocol storage systems, such as the one I use in my own office, support multiple protocols for NAS (e.g., NFS, CIFS, AFP) along with iSCSI for block, as well as REST and HTTP for flexibility to meet my various needs. In other words, most multiprotocol or unified storage systems can adapt to your environment.

Think of it this way, SMBs may have multi-function printer, copiers, fax and scanning devices for flexibility and maximizing their investment; the same can be said for unified or multiprotocol storage systems.

This was first published in May 2010

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