The explosion in unstructured data, e-mail, and database sizes is contributing to the growth of networked storage requirements in the SMB space
Companies should move away from Direct Attached Storage (DAS), as there are plenty of alternatives to traditional DAS. NAS and the emergence of IP SAN have resulted in the availability of an affordable alternative to expensive FC SAN for SMBs. At the same time, small businesses with smaller data sizes continue to invest in JBODs in the DAS model.
The need for centralized storage to reduce storage and management costs is driving investments in networked storage such as Network Attached Storage (NAS) which is a server specifically tuned and optimized for file sharing that is connected to the client application servers or desktops over the TCP/IP Ethernet network and is mounted as if it were an internal drive. The key thing to remember is that NAS is generally easy for SMBs to deploy and use. It is only when the number of NAS systems begins to reach their maximum file or capacity limits, or proliferate, that storage management becomes a bit more complicated.
The key benefit of NAS is that it helps businesses consolidate structured and unstructured data into a file-sharing environment that utilizes the existing IP infrastructure. Since NAS clients rarely require any additional hardware to access data, the initial investment is contained to the NAS array itself. Further NAS leverages the existing IP infrastructure, which is inexpensive technology. It easily integrates with corporate security and authentication domains such as Radius, Active Directory and LDAP, making it an attractive option for SMBs.
In the external controller based storage market [FC SAN and IP SAN], one of the bigger issues that are being discussed from the market perspective is that of ‘cost containment’. Given current economic conditions, businesses are thinking about what to do with their existing storage resources and how best to utilize the same. Alternatively, SMBs users are looking for an entry-level storage technology; this requirement is fulfilled by iSCSI SANs that offer an alternative to expensive FC technology.
Investment in FC SAN is justifiable if SMBs have data stores and are running business applications such as ERP, CRM or core banking and do not want to compromise on the performance of these applications. The major cost elements of FC SAN are FC disks, FC HBA, controllers and FC switches etc.
iSCSI SAN offers an inexpensive alternative to FC SAN where SMBs can compromise a bit on the application performance and data storage but yet get all the benefits of networked storage. The iSCSI SAN offers the advantages of a SAN without the complexity and expense of FC. It allows SMBs to leverage their existing IP network investment including familiar network management tools. Moreover, there is an abundance of people skilled in working on IP as compared to FC.
Although storage vendors have talked about storage virtualization it is still restricted to a few large customers. There is a cost to virtualize storage systems and we expect that mid-sized businesses that have a large storage footprint will look forward to adopting storage virtualization.
Check the source/website (expresscomputeronline.com) for more some NAS server details