From SANs to FANs

Posted on July 01, 2006

The creative thinkers at the Taneja Group research and consulting firm may have outdone themselves recently with the creation of their latest acronym-FAN, or file area network. Don’t underestimate these guys: They’re the ones who came up with WAFS, or wide area file services, which has achieved widespread industry acceptance (WIA).

Comparing the advent of FANs to the advent of SANs almost a decade ago, Taneja Group analyst Brad O’Neill notes that in terms of file management we’re at a similar point that we were 10 years ago with block-level data management.

According to O’Neill: “A FAN is a systematic approach to organizing the multitude of file-related technologies in today’s enterprise. The goal of a FAN is to provide IT organizations with a scalable, flexible platform for the cost-effective delivery of enterprise file information.”

And a real FAN needs a GUN (global unified namespace). Obviously, you should read Brad’s full explanation of the technology, implementation requirements, and benefits. Go to "Introducing the File Area Network (FAN)". We’ll also run a longer version of the article in next month’s print issue.

Eventually, there will be a lot of players in the FAN space (assuming all of the small fish don’t get swallowed by the big fish), but for now O’Neill singles out five vendors as having the foundations for success: Brocade, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Network Appliance.

We’re anxious to see how much “stickiness” the FAN acronym will have in the storage industry.

Another acronym that’s been making the rounds is 3DR, coined by the Enterprise Strategy Group. According to ESG analyst-and InfoStor alum-Heidi Biggar, 3DR involves three levels of protected data: 1DR (or 1st Tier Data Recovery), 2DR (2nd Tier Disaster Recovery), and 3DR (3rd Tier Doomsday Recovery). Obviously, the emphasis is on recovery and meeting RPO and RTO goals.

To learn more about 3DR and related strategies and technologies (VTL, CAS, CDP, etc.), check out Heidi’s Webcast, Disk-to-Disk Backup/Recovery, in the archived Webcasts section of www.infostor.com.

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Dave Simpson