Can SANs penetrate SMBs?

Last month (see "It's a good time to be an SMB," April, p. 6), I commented on storage vendors' renewed interest in the small to medium-sized business (SMB) market and how they're lowering prices and putting easy-to-use features in storage area network (SAN) products to gain traction in this space. This month's issue includes a number of articles that delve deeper into this trend.

For example, "FC SAN vendors target SMBs" (p. 8) looks at what a handful of Fibre Channel vendors are doing to woo SMBs. And "Microsoft adds NAS, SAN features" (p. 8) looks at how Microsoft is making Windows more attractive for NAS/SAN administrators in smaller enterprises.

While Fibre Channel SAN vendors are dropping prices to gain a foothold in the SMB space, iSCSI-based IP SANs seem to be finally gaining some traction, primarily in smaller companies or within departments of larger enterprises. That's the topic of our Special Report this month, "Who's using IP Storage, and why?", p. 18. In addition to explaining the potential benefits of technologies such as iSCSI, this report provides brief profiles of early adopters of IP SANs and the reasons why they took the IP route to storage networks.

Also in this issue, we kick off a series of Lab Reviews ("Building a SAN for SMBs, part 1," p. 34) designed specifically for SMB administrators. Our reviewer, Jack Fegreus, starts out with a small configuration that would be more appropriate for the "S" (rather than an "M") in SMB—three servers (two Windows, one Linux), three host bus adapters (from Emulex), a 1TB RAID array (from nStor), and two 8-port Fibre Channel switches (from Brocade).

Finally, one of Microsoft's storage executives, Claude Lorenson, weighs in on the issue in "Is it time for SMB SANs?", p. 44. You may not think of Microsoft as a SAN vendor, but Redmond will have more to do with SMB adoption of SANs (Fibre Channel and iSCSI) than any of the big name SAN vendors.

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Dave Simpson,

Sonia Lelii joins editorial staff

We're pleased to announce that Sonia Lelii recently joined the InfoStor editorial team as senior editor. Most recently, Sonia was with VARBusiness, a leading publication for the channel (VARs, systems

integrators, distributors, etc.), where she covered storage technology and business trends as the publication's senior editor and writer. At VARBusiness, Sonia wrote news and feature articles for the bi-monthly print publication and its Website.

Prior to VARBusiness, Sonia covered storage for eWeek, a leading publication for IT professionals.

Sonia brings in-depth knowledge of storage technology and business issues from both the IT end-user and channel perspective.

She can be contacted at tel: (603) 891-9110 or e-mail: sonial@pennwell.com.

This article was originally published on May 01, 2004