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July 2012

Unified storage goes mainstream

Unified storage has come to mean the delivery of block and file storage from within a single platform. The initial incarnation of these devices consisted of a block storage array with the addition of a file gateway, enabling both file and block protocols to be supported in a single configuration. Today, that’s still an approach that’s common among storage vendors, and the only major vendor to offer a truly integrated unified platform is NetApp. Its FAS series of devices don’t require the addition of separate hardware to provide for file or block. Most other vendors have avoided this route, either by design or because it has been easier to retain separate components following acquisitions.  But, having a single piece of hardware from which any protocol can be enabled through software does have its benefits, in terms of cost and flexibility. However, unless unified technology can manage the different workload profiles of file and block (and, crucially, at the same time), performance problems could be encountered. Over the last 12 ...

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