Storage systems are built by taking the basic capability of a storage device, such as the hard disk drive, and adding layers of hardware and software to obtain a highly reliable, high-performance, and easily managed system. We explain in this paper how storage systems have evolved over five decades to meet changing customer needs. First, we briefly trace the development of the control unit, RAID (redundant array of independent disks) technologies, copy services, and basic storage management technologies. Then, we describe how the emergence of low-cost local area data networking has allowed the development of network-attached storage (NAS) and storage area network (SAN) technologies, and we explain how block virtualization and SAN file systems are necessary to fully reap the benefits of these technologies. We also discuss how the recent trend in storage systems toward managing complexity, ease-of-use, and lowering the total cost of ownership has led to the development of autonomic storage. We conclude with our assessment of the current state-of-the-art by presenting a set of challenges driving research and development efforts in storage systems.
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