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With information growing at exponential rates, understanding how to cost. effectively deploy storage devices is becoming increasingly important. Not all computer storage designs or deployments are topologies. Declaring a networked storage environment to be a storage area network topology is misleading because a SAN-defined as a network whose primary purpose is the transfer of data between computer systems and storage elements and among storage elements-is not limited to a specific topology or its implementation. What makes the storage useful is what defines a particular topology or combination of topologies. Whether they are internal to a desktop PC or deployed in a large enterprise IT department, most topologies have a common theme. Focusing on how storage topologies are deployed in end-user focused platforms provides a basis for understanding how and why certain devices have migrated toward particular connections. In addition, clarifying the differences between directly attached storage and networked storage helps to explain why deploying large amounts of storage may not require an either-or decision.