FANs to leave SANs for dead

With data storage demands rising every year, and technology lagging behind, analysts say big business will adopt file area networks (FANs) by 2008.

A FAN integrates hardware, software and services to organize and route file data or unstructured, data stored within a file system into a central database.

The new storage methodology is tipped to help businesses cost-effectively manage data networks, consolidate data and improve data connectivity. FANs are built on storage infrastructure which can be run in either a storage area network (SAN) or networked attached storage (NAS) environment, and uses file-serving devices integrated into the infrastructure or as a gateway interface.

A FAN is based on a file system which organizes, presents, and stores file content for clients, referred to as the file system's namespace.

IDC Asia Pacific Associate Vice President Graham Penn said while there are early FAN adopters in Australia, it will take a few years for the benefits to be appealing to the mass market.

"We will start facing 30 to 50 percent increases in data [storage] demands while there are limited improvements in technology, [so] people will stop trying to make do with insufficient infrastructure," Penn said. "FANs work best in areas of high latency where there is benefit from this type of [centralized storage], remembering that increasing bandwidth doesn't fix latency."