NAS -- Boon for the System Administrators

By S.Gopinath , SANAT Technologies |  Storage, Backup & Recovery, NAS

Today, businesses are working harder than ever to find new ways to reduce costs and streamline their operations. At the same time, they are also generating more data throughout their organization than ever before. In the past businesses had only a few megabytes of storage on servers and desktop PCs to worry about. If they were diligent, they backed everything up daily onto tape drives.

NAS can be ideally fitted as a backup solution. NAS is superior in many ways to legacy tape systems. Performance of disk-to-disk backup and restoration is far greater with NAS than tape. And remember, when a tape or the tape drive goes bad it's never good news. Replacing a tape in a series can be a daunting task and finding out a tape is bad several months down the road can catastrophic. NAS is a faster and more secure solution to your data backup needs.Small organization always looks for a reliable, flexible & cost-effective, storage solution. This article will guide through the benefits of Network Attached Storage (NAS) solutions.

NAS allows files to be stored and retrieved across a computer network. A NAS includes a dedicated hardware device often called the head that connects to a local area network (usually via Ethernet). This NAS server authenticates clients and manages file operations in much the same manner as traditional file servers, through well-established network protocols like NFS and CIFS/SMB.

NAS products improve on traditional file servers generally through the principle of simplification. By stripping out all of the unnecessary capabilities of a general purpose server -- applications, services or daemons, and hardware peripherals -- a NAS device becomes less prone to system "crashes" and security attacks. When a problem does occur, a NAS system can be diagnosed and rebooted much faster due to its lower level of complexity.

The performance of a NAS device depends on a number of factors including the configuration of the hardware, the operating systems efficiency, the speed of the network connection, the amount of traffic on the network, and the number of clients accessing files on unit. Make no mistake, NAS performance is not going to be on par with Direct Attached Storage (DAS). However, when properly sized, and configured, NAS is a solid performer providing very good overall value.

Storage on a mid-range NAS unit, targeted towards small & medium sized businesses, will typically use multiple disks arranged into logical, redundant storage containers or Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disk (RAID) arrays. There are a number of different types of RAID systems available and some are geared towards performance of over safety. For example, while RAID 0 yields superior performance it offers no redundancy. If one of the disks fails, the entire array may be corrupt beyond recovery.

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