Smaller IT Departments Look to Storage Area Networks
Historically, storage area network (SAN) technology has been high-priced, but now it is affordable for all but the smallest of IT shops.
According to this PC World report, storage area network (SAN) technology has been around since the late 1990s, but only recently has the cost of SAN arrays lowered enough to make the technology affordable for for smaller IT departments. As mentioned in the report, less-expensive iSCSI SANs, which use standard Ethernet cables, network cards, and switches, have no trouble keeping up with the disks that small and medium-size companies are likely to use.
"For example, Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) SAN arrays such as the Drobo Elite cost $3500, and the Dell PowerVault MD3000i starts at just over $5000.
"SAN devices are disk arrays located on a network storage device shared with multiple servers--up to 16 servers, for these models. To each server operating system, however, the storage that a SAN device provides appears to be dedicated, not shared."