Shared storage is a medium accessible by all of the subscribers in a network, intended for file storage and allowing simultaneous access by multiple subscribers without the need to duplicate files to their computers. Because only one file server exists containing all the data, backup and archiving processes are streamlined, and the risk of conflicting backups or archives is eliminated.
A shared storage device differs from a storage area network (SAN). A shared storage device has multiple ports or a way to identify and track multiple sessions in a single port. In contrast, a SAN connects systems and storage for the purpose of transmitting data. Some SANs contain shared storage devices.
While shared storage can reside on a physical drive, the associated hardware can get expensive. However, virtual storage can also be virtualized. For example, VMware offers a virtualized shared storage solution called vSphere.