Users warming up to SAN benefits

Posted on February 02, 2000

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By Dave Simpson

User awareness of, and willingness to implement, storage area networks (SANs) has come a long way in the last year. For example, in an early-1999 survey of 50 IT managers at sites with an average of more than 3.8TB, more than half were not familiar with SANs, while 20% were "somewhat familiar" but had no implementation plans. The remaining 20% planned to install SANs within the next two years.

However, a recent poll of 300 IT executives, conducted by Informationweek Research, showed that about 50% of the sites planned to install a SAN this year. And a survey conducted by International Data Group shows that IT administrators are becoming very savvy about the potential benefits of SANs (see figure).


In a survey of 216 IT professionals, better disaster recovery was the most important potential benefit of SANs.
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For example, in the IDG study, which surveyed IT managers and staff at 216 U.S. corporations, 89% of the respondents believed SANs will offer improved manageability of data growth, as well as an easier way to expand storage capacity. The vast majority (87%) said that SANs will improve data sharing and data access, while 84% thought that SANs could improve performance and 82% believed that SANs will aid in disaster recovery. In the IDG survey, 45% of the companies are considering deploying SANs, as opposed to 32% polled just three months earlier.

Other benefits of SANs cited by the survey respondents included centralized control of data (89%), improved administra- tion (82%), lower costs (77%), and better leveraging of existing server and storage investments (76%).

It's important to note that the IDG survey was heavy on the manufacturing industry (40% of the surveyed companies), followed by finance/accounting (15%); health/medical (12%); transportation/utilities, insurance/legal and real estate (6%); and retail/wholesale and construction/ engineering (5%).

Despite improved awareness and plans to deploy SANs, users still cite lack of interoperability and management, as well as implementation costs, as impediments.


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