The floppy drive, a little blast from the past is where any tale about storage should begin. For the sake of this article, I’ll assume most of our readers are over the age of 25 and actually do remember using the archaic floppy drive. For those young souls out there visit Wikipedia to find out more! ;-)
When you talk about storage of data it all roots back to the floppy drive, but in today’s world even the average home users storage needs far exceeds the capacity of floppies. As we talked about in our previous article, “What’s Cisco’s Big Deal with Big Data”, the amount of data businesses are being required to store is on a dramatic incline. With that incline several new methods of utilizing computer networks for data storage have emerged. One of the increasingly popular approaches is Network Attached Storage (NAS). NAS allows businesses to store and retrieve large amounts of data at a much more affordable rate than ever before.
With the traditional file server approach you started with a general-purpose computer and configured or removed features from that base. With NAS you start with a bare-bones component that is designed specifically for data storage that supports file transfers and add features to it. The single hardware device is called the NAS box and it acts as the interface between the NAS and the network clients. It also follows a client/server design like traditional file servers, but does not require a monitor, keyboard or mouse. They usually run on embedded operating systems, and one ore more drives can be attached to many NAS systems to increase total capacity.
NAS systems can store any data that is in the form of files, and more or less parallel the uses of a traditional file server. NAS systems are best known for their reliable operation and ease of administration. Many NAS systems include built-in features like secure authentication, disk space quotas, and automatic email alerts when errors are detected.
There are numerous advantages that NAS systems have over traditional file servers. The first advantage being cost. For example, The list price of a representative enterprise-class NAS cluster consisting of two NAS appliances, 12.6 terabytes (TB) of storage, and licenses for the NFS protocol and failover clustering software would be around $476,000. A two-node NAS cluster using standard servers provides equivalent performance, but only costs around $79,242. In short, an NAS cluster is 82 percent less expensive than a comparable enterprise NAS appliance solution. NAS systems also offer better security, higher availability/less downtime, and overall are much easier to use and administer. NAS systems also strip out all the unnecessary capabilities of a general server and therefore become less prone to system crashes and security attacks. When problems do arise a NAS system can be diagnosed and rebooted much faster because it has a lower level of complexity.
NAS networking products are successfully providing companies running client/server networks simple and lower costs alternatives to traditional file servers. NAS systems promise users reliable operation and easy management. NAS technology should continue to evolve, as the field, only in its infancy at this point, will mature as time goes on.
To provide more in depth information about NAS storage, XS and Overland Storage have teamed up to bring you a web event introducing the new SnapScale X2. Click below to find out more about the SnapScale X2 or register for our December 5th web event now.