Choosing a storage array

This article offers advice on choosing a storage array, as well as recent SMB storage array news, to help you decide on the right array for your needs.

There are several ways to classify storage arrays; how data is stored on the storage -- in blocks or files, the type of connection to the server and the type of drives used.

Disk drives are probably the first thing you should consider. Enterprise-class SATA drives are available in the same capacities as regular SATA drives and at a slightly higher cost, generally $50-$100 per drive. All other enterprise-class drives, whether Fibre Channel (FC), SCSI or SAS (serial attached SCSI), are based on the same higher-speed, more durable electronics, usually come in smaller capacities, typically 73 GB, 146 GB and 300 GB, and are much more expensive. They are, however, also a good deal faster, especially in server applications and should last longer.

There are two ways to connect storage to a server: direct-attached storage (DAS) that is connected directly to a single server; and networked storage, which as the name implies is shared storage connected through a network connection, whether Ethernet, FC, Infiniband or something else.

Continue reading "How to select the right storage array."

Recent SMB storage array news

NetApp, HDS tout scaled-down disk arrays

New offerings are meant to take advantage of storage growth in the midmarket, but experts say the products will still probably appeal most to existing high-end users.

HP slots new disk array into EVA line

HP's 4400 addition to its Enterprise Virtual Array line is seen as an attempt to broaden the array's appeal, perhaps to customers who aren't primarily HP shops.

Nexsan chases Apple shops with SATA disk array

Nexsan is planning an Apple-specific disk array to ship in March aimed at media companies looking for a denser alternative to XServ RAID.

NetApp stokes midrange fires with new array

The FAS 3040 is a scaled down version of the 64-bit 3070 architecture; NetApp officials say more moves downmarket will follow.

SAN using 2.5-inch SAS disks hits market

Infortrend unveils an array using 2.5-inch SAS disks. With 2.5-inch SAS disks making their way into small storage subsystems, they could reach enterprise arrays by 2009.

Storage arrays quiz

Take this short quiz to find out how much you know about storage arrays.

About the author: Logan G. Harbaugh is a freelance reviewer and IT consultant in Redding, CA, who has worked in IT for more than 20 years.

This was first published in April 2008

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