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Issue of October 2003 

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Networked storage in India and FAS

Rapid advances in telecommunications and enterprise networking technologies have led to the popularity of networked storage technologies like NAS and SAN.

Patrick Lim, Vice President & General Manager, Asia South, of Hitachi Data Systems, says, "Indian enterprises have begun to operate on global scales, and thus feel the need to adopt networked storage technologies. India being a virgin storage market has a lot of potential to adapt storage technology. Unlike the early adopters of DAS, Indian enterprises have not made substantial investments and they do not have to protect investments."

"The reduction of storage cost per MB has resulted from the drive in use of networked storage. And rapid advances in Fiber Channel technologies and architecture is providing further impetus to the networked storage market," adds Patrick.

New industry regulations like T+1 in financial services (addressing reconcilement of stock trades within one day of execution) and HIPAA in the medical industry (maintaining long-term electronic records of patient information), will also prove to be huge drivers of storage capacity and performance.

Patrick Lim VP & GM, Asia South, HDS

NAS and SAN convergence will eventually happen as more vendors begin to support this architecture. As SANs and NASs converge, customers are likely to see benefits like better asset utilization, consolidated storage resources, and simplified management.

"The cost considerations related to various storage architectures has led to a more economical and efficient storage architecture known as Fabric Attached Storage (FAS). FAS is essentially a combination of SAN and NAS," explained Patrick.

FAS solutions make data and information more manageable and accessible, improving staff productivity. But it is not free of challenges primarily due to the use of heterogeneous technologies and centralized management of the complete storage architecture.

Very few corporations have the budget to totally replace their legacy storage investments with newer technologies. Many companies also refuse to be locked into a single-vendor solution.

"Recent studies on enterprise storage solutions revealed that majority of the enterprise storage managers were inclined on maintaining a heterogeneous environment. They thought such an environment would be necessary and desirable for the foreseeable future for a variety of reasons, such as the need to leverage their existing investments and the need to maintain flexibility," said Patrick.

Since India is one of the most attractive IT destinations in the world, we see a large amount of outsourcing activity in the country. This increase in outsourcing to Indian companies has led to a substantial rise in demand of storage solutions. An important business requirement for such outsourcing service providers is the widespread deployment of data-intensive applications like CRM, SCM, ERP, multi-media applications, digital imaging, and video-on-demand.

In light of this, many companies need new storage management approaches that can look across both old and new storage topologies to provide a complete operational view of their enterprise, as well as a single management console across hardware and software products from multiple vendors.

— Soutiman Das Gupta

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