In this issue . . .

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We tapped a number of smart industry analysts this month to help us out with the wide range of topics covered in our features section. For example, the Enterprise Strategy Group's Nancy Hurley tackles the issue of where users want to (or should) run their storage applications: in hosts, disk arrays, or in the fabric. "Intelligence in the fabric: Myth or reality?", on p. 26, is based on extensive end-user surveys, and the conclusion is straightforward: If you haven't already, you should give serious consideration to moving your storage services into the network. And you don't have to wait for the big vendors to get their acts together; there are plenty of products available today.

Of all the various benefits that SANs deliver, one of the often-overlooked advantages is storage consolidation, which may in fact be the primary advantage of SANs. Margalla Communications' Saqib Jang addresses the storage consolidation issue in the context of Microsoft Exchange environments. He evaluates the pros and cons of various architectural approaches, including DAS, NAS, and SANs (Fibre Channel and iSCSI) in "Storage consolidation strategies for Microsoft Exchange," on p. 32.

The Taneja Group's Brad O'Neill takes a look at an emerging technology and set of vendors that address some of the age-old problems (file management, scalability, and utilization rates) with NAS in "Network file management solves NAS problems," on p. 34.

There's no question that disk-to-disk (D2D) backup is one of the hottest trends in the storage industry, at least according to -InfoStor's readers. But what's the difference between D2D backup/restore and good old replication? In the first of a two-part series, Phil Goodwin sets the stage for an ongoing discussion of disk-based backup alternatives (see p. 37). Phil is the founder and president of a relatively new consulting/evaluation firm-Diogenes Analytical Laboratories-that specializes in IT consulting on storage and other issues.

Despite all the interest in disk-based backup, tape still rules the roost when it comes to backup and recovery, and that notion is buttressed by results from an in-depth end-user survey conducted by Peripheral Concepts and Coughlin Associates. The results of that survey are summarized by Tom Coughlin and Farid Neema in "Users shift to disk-based backup," on p. 40.

For those techies out there, our lab reviewer Jack Fegreus gets a grip on NAS-SAN convergence with a detailed evaluation of the HP NAS 9000 gateway (see p. 44). And if that whets your appetite, stay tuned for next month's Special Report, which will focus on NAS-SAN convergence and NAS gateways.

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This article was originally published on October 01, 2004