What about NAS virtualization solutions, also known as file area networks?

Greater levels of virtualization are needed throughout the entire storage infrastructure. NAS virtualization and FAN solutions provide a higher level of intelligence, ease of management and higher utilization of the physical storage.

From a conceptual standpoint, I love NAS [network attached storage] virtualization and file area networks (FANs).

But it's not just a question of NAS -- we need greater levels of virtualization throughout all of our storage infrastructure. What I like about these two concepts is that they give you a higher level of intelligence, ease of management and higher utilization of the physical storage.

More NAS information
NAS tackles enterprise storage 

NAS Upgrades 

How to adapt NAS to your needs
NAS and SAN [ storage area network] environments have done a great job of networking your host systems to your single storage systems. But the storage systems themselves aren't networked with one another. The whole point of networks is to make everything a peer -- everything can talk to everything else. But that isn't true in our storage universe where we focus on host systems accessing individual storage systems.

What FAN does is 'network the networked storage' so that you have common communication between storage devices. This allows users to move data between systems for load balancing or tiering. I can replicate heterogeneously. I can create a federated storage view of all storage systems to improve access and management. The power comes when using storage devices in concert with one another.

These are new concepts in an emerging area of technology, but this is where storage networking is headed.

Check out the entire NAS FAQ guide.

This was first published in July 2007

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