Conventional wisdom holds that unified storage is only really going to appeal to small to midsize (SMB) organizations where the convenience of being able to centrally manage a single system has greater appeal than the raw performance of the storage system.
According to Bill Schilling, marketing director for Nexsan storage at Imation, the 6u unified storage system combines Ethernet and Fibre Channel support in a system that can be loaded with both traditional magnetic disk and solid-state storage. The goal, says Schilling, is to give organizations the ability to manage a hybrid storage environment consisting of both network attach storage (NAS) and storage area networks (SANs) via a single instance of the Nexsan NestOS.
Naturally, a lot of debate has been occurring over the merits of unified storage given the disparate nature of the types of workloads that NAS and SAN systems support. For SMB organizations, unified storage has helped ease administrative burdens. Schilling contends that more traditional enterprise IT organizations are wrestling with many of the same issues where the amount of data that needs to be managed, especially in virtual server environments, continues to spiral out of control. Schilling says a unified storage system made up of SSDs and magnetic disk systems where the tiering of data is automated should be able to meet a broad range of high-performance requirements.
Under the management of Imation, the Nexsan storage offerings are pushing into a primary storage market in the data center where there is no shortage of competition. The degree of appetite for change in those data centers remains to be seen, but with the advent of Flash storage and continual cost pressure, it’s fair to say that a lot more IT organizations are considering a broader array of options than they might have in the past.