The good and bad of multiprotocol storage

Primary storage that supports a wide range of protocols can be a lifesaver or a constant source of irritation

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Not long ago, most primary storage platforms were likely to support only a single storage protocol, generally either iSCSI or Fibre Channel. But now the increasing popularity of deduplication, wide availability of 10Gbps Ethernet, and lure of low-latency network convergence made possible by Fibre Channel over Ethernet have given the industry potent motivation to offer as much choice as it can.

As a result, most major enterprise storage platforms today can support all of these block-level storage protocols, as well as file-based NAS functionality. Generally speaking, the more flexibility a storage platform can offer, the more likely it will be to survive the dramatic changes that are sweeping through the data center today -- from the explosion in corporate data to the drive toward high-density virtualization and private cloud infrastructures that depend upon converged networking.

However good this flexibility may be, the ability to mix and match storage protocols comes with potential liabilities, including added complexity, compatibility problems, and training challenges.

The joy of multiprotocol platforms

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