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Unified storage has been a hot topic of discussion in the storage business for the last 18-24 months. The discussion has largely focused on which vendors offer which products and functionality, and the degree of unification that is actually delivered. Unified storage is particularly attractive in Microsoft Windows installations because the size of installations is big and varied enough to require the use of multiple types of storage (e.g. file and block or Ethernet and FC), but not so big that silos of storage can be justified.
NetApp introduced unified storage about a decade ago and has the largest number of customers who are using unified storage. In our opinion the NetApp storage array has the most integrated implementation with the highest level of functionality at the moment. Wikibon has used NetApp storage as the standard in an investigation into the business justification for consolidating the storage required to support Microsoft Windows installations onto unified storage. Wikibon used its extensive models and field data to help develop the business case and tested them with a combination of in-depth interviews of NetApp customers who had consolidated and other research.
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