Given all the different types of storage scenarios that need to be managed, it's little wonder that IT organizations are feeling a little pressure in terms of absorbing the total cost of managing storage. Historically, each storage scenario, such as a file server or storage area network (SAN), has required the IT organization to deploy a separate class of storage systems.
But with the advent of unified storage systems, we're increasingly seeing a new class of storage systems that allows data to be stored in multiple formats. The latest one of these, for example, is the NST series from Nexsan that was unveiled this week.
In addition to providing both a file mode for network-attached storage (NAS) and a block mode that functions as an iSCSI SAN, the NST series combines solid-state storage with SATA and SAS drives that are all dynamically managed by the company's FASTier automation software. The NST series can be configured with up to 24 Xeon CPU cores, 192GB of DRAM, 12 dedicated RAID engines and up to 1 petabyte of storage capacity.
The rate at which IT organizations will embrace unified storage remains to be seen. IT organizations tend to be notoriously conservative when it comes to new storage technologies. But the fact remains that as the sheer volume of data needing to be managed increases, IT organizations are going to need to find more efficient ways to manage storage.
According to Don Chouinard, director of product marketing for Nexsan, that means relying more on automation to handle many of the manual tasks that storage administrators previously performed. The trick is going to be finding ways that allow IT organizations to embrace higher levels of automation using a single platform that doesn't compromise performance. That, of course, is where all those solid-state drives (SSD) are going to come into play.