Network attached storage – The future of enterprise storage

Network attached storage – The future of enterprise storage

Network attached storage (NAS) stands in stark contrast to traditional enterprise storage systems. It is agile, flexible, and streamlined — attributes that will be essential as technology becomes increasingly important for businesses.

Storage is one of the most significant costs associated with running a business. At the same time, companies are collecting and analyzing more data than ever before to gain insights into their operations and to better serve their customers. As demand for data grows, so does the cost of storing that data.

In addition to rising storage costs, most companies’ storage systems are complex and fragmented from years of IT teams deploying point solutions to meet specific needs. This leads to inefficiencies that affect the bottom line and the customer experience.

Network attached storage (NAS) stands in stark contrast to traditional enterprise storage systems. It is agile, flexible, and streamlined — attributes that will be essential as technology becomes increasingly important for businesses.

In this article, we aim to see how NAS is becoming the one storage solution that will suit all types of businesses in the future.

A greater data accessibility

Businesses that need large amounts of storage space don’t want to invest in an expensive storage solution that generally requires serious IT know-how. These businesses need a cost-effective and easy solution so that employees can access files without assistance from IT staff members.

Companies typically choose NAS over other storage solutions because it offers greater file accessibility and availability. Consider that traditional storage solutions cannot be upgraded without pulling the whole system down. In comparison, the best NAS systems can stay online during maintenance and upgrades because of a highly redundant architecture. They can even remain online if some part of your storage (i.e., storage nodes or individual drives) goes bad. That is because it is configured to keep multiple copies of your data on other drives and nodes and an off-site location. This ensures greater data availability.

What security options are there?

As with any business, security is always a concern. NAS devices are set up differently than other types of servers. Instead of using the same operating system like a desktop computer (like Windows), they use an embedded OS that isn’t as susceptible to attacks from hackers or viruses. The OS is typically based on a Linux kernel. This gives it more security than other systems. But still, that is not enough for security, especially when businesses have to deal with sensitive data all the time, like financial records.

That is why modern enterprise NAS storage like StoneFly super scale-out NAS offers security features like AES 256-bit encryption, Anti-virus and Anti-ransomware support, WORM unalterable volumes, and highly redundant storage.

How much Storage capacity can we expect?

NAS devices are designed to handle some serious space. Depending on the size of your company and how many employees you have, you may require up to several terabytes. But NAS can go way beyond the capacity of traditional storage. Some units even have the capacity for several petabytes. But it doesn’t stop here. Those single units of petabytes of storage can then be scaled out in a cluster to get even more storage and performance. This means that your business has almost limitless storage.

Network attached storage is not expensive to implement and maintain

NAS technology was designed with ease of use and affordability in mind. NAS devices are often preconfigured and can easily be installed within minutes. It doesn’t need an IT staff to manage, and it doesn’t require complex equipment and software like other storage solutions like SAN. Due to its simplicity, network attached storage is gaining favor in the enterprise data center environment.

NAS storage has better performance at scale with multiple nodes

NAS storage is essentially a clustered system with multiple nodes contributing to the power mix. With multiple devices comes multiple hardware working together to deliver exceptional performance. NAS improves the speed and reliability of file transfers by using gigabit connections. Multiple network cards are used to transfer data through the NAS cluster over to your network for lightning-fast file sharing for multiple devices. The performance difference is seen very clearly in large organizations with multiple people accessing the storage simultaneously. Traditionally, with limited bandwidth, the system would bottleneck. However, with a clustered system, this is not a problem anymore.

Cost-effectiveness over the long run

Although this might not seem like a big deal at first glance, if you’re a growing company and your data storage needs are increasing rapidly, NAS has the potential to save you hundreds or thousands of dollars every year.

NAS might initially appear as a hefty investment, and other solutions may seem cheap. But hold your horses. Consider how much storage is used before a newer system replaces the system to cope with performance. This issue is very common. Statistics show that half the space and energy go to empty spinning disks that will never be used. If you do the math, you are spewing your money on nothing and increasing your energy consumption for nothing.

In comparison, NAS lets you use all your storage capacity with full performance. If you need more performance, you can add more nodes without adding more storage. This flexibility is why NAS is most likely to be the standard storage of most data centers.

Furthermore, if you consider how easy NAS devices are to repair and maintain than traditional storage devices, you will immediately see that apart from saving more costs, it also eliminates the headaches when it comes to repair and maintenance.

How does it compare to the cloud – What should you choose?

NAS is more secure than cloud storage because all data is stored locally instead of being stored off-site in a cloud somewhere. Although cloud storage offers some advantages over on-site NAS systems, it is often more expensive in the long run, less secure, and requires an internet connection to access your data. If your company has a large enough budget to allow for either cloud or NAS storage, we encourage you to choose the latter only after carefully considering it.


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