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The sheer scale of the storage needs of most organizations makes block storage management an important system administration problem. Application servers, databases, and file systems rely on an efficient underlying block storage system. The storage area network paradigm is fast emerging as a desirable block storage solution, due to its performance, resource-sharing, and capacity-scaling benefits. This paper shows that the ubiquitous Internet Protocol (IP) network is technically well-suited to host a storage area network. The paper presents the storage protocol, management, and security building blocks that are necessary for making IP storage a reality. The paper then discusses performance issues that must be addressed in order to make IP storage area networks competitive with other storage area network technologies.
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