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Industry Insight: Storage System Generations

Published August 2014. Industry Insight by Randy Kerns discussing the 3 generations of storage systems: Monolithic Storage Systems, dual controller systems, and scale-out architecture.

Industry Insight: Storage System Generations

Technology used to store information continues to progress and the systems that integrate the technology for access to data also evolves.  The evolution of storage systems occurs not only to incorporate new technology but also to improve capabilities with introduction of new features and new designs. The designs of storage systems, called the storage system architecture, have changed over time as demands have changed and competition among vendors has encouraged innovation.

For simplicity, Evaluator Group has categorized the storage systems into three primary generations deployed or currently in use in enterprise environments. The modern era of storage systems began with the use of commodity disk drives with fixed blocks abstracted by storage systems to present volumes (also called LUNs in some usages) or file systems to attached compute resources (called hosts or servers). The abstraction of the disk devices (commonly referred to as disk virtualization) may be a static mapping of the devices or dynamic mapping with capacity used on demand. Use of commodity disks necessitated additional protection mechanisms from individual device failure, which brought RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) algorithms to be part of storage systems.

This Industry Insight covers:

  • Executive Summary
  • Storage Systems Overview
  • Generations of Storage Systems
  • Usage in Traditional IT Environments
  • Usage in Cloud Environments
  • Evaluator Group Insight

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