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Network Attached Storage (NAS) Appliance: Practicality and Usage

20

APRIL, 2018

Data storage is moving to the cloud. In this era of cloud adaption, I’d like to revisit a storage technology that has persisted throughout the digital makeover and has gone through a number of innovations to continue delivering enterprise level storage: Network Attached Storage (NAS).

In this article, we explore what a NAS is, why do work environments need it and in the end we’ll discuss some backup options for it.

What is a Network Attached Storage (NAS) appliance?

The simplest way to explain a NAS appliance is that it’s an upgrade from the conventional external hard drives that we’re familiar with. The appliance just comes in a chassis that can support multiple hot swappable disks. The essence, however, remains the same: data storage.

Similar to an external hard drive, the NAS appliance can be connected via a USB cable to your workstations but that sacrifices the purpose of the appliance. It’s a “Network” attached storage. You can store, access and share data in the appliance via a configured network. The storage appliance is the best option for simplified and effective storage of unstructured big data.

The storage appliance is very handy for HPC (High Performance Computing) requirements. NAS appliances can be effectively used for requirements like Video data editing and retention in broadcasting environments, Video data storage for Law enforcement agencies, Record maintenance and data analytics for Finance industry, Secure and cost effective storage for Healthcare industry etc.

Accessing Stored Data in NAS Appliance – anywhere, anytime

Cloud based solutions are mostly preferred because of three reasons: Scalability, Data Accessibility and Cost Effectiveness.

When comparing cloud storage solutions with enterprise NAS storage appliances; the first question that comes to mind is: “Why should I purchase an appliance instead of setting up storage in a cloud?”

The main benefit is the speed that comes with the NAS appliance and the lack of a third party.

StoneFly’s SSO™ (Super Scale-out) NAS delivers scale-out capabilities that enhance performance along with the increased storage space. The SSO™ NAS appliance also supports scale-up for simplified storage environments.

As far as accessibility is concerned, the data stored in the storage appliance can be accessed remotely as long as the appliance is kept on. In order to do so, the IT teams can configure a VPN (Virtual Private Network) / RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) to enable access to stored data. This delivers the same kind of data accessibility and device independency as cloud based services.

The role of Network Attached Storage (NAS) appliances in a Work Environment

NAS fits perfectly in an office environment that depends on effective data sharing between different workstations and/or departments. Data mobility empowers all processes and slowly contributes to the productivity of the team and the company.

For instance, consider a broadcasting environment. There are multiple sources of image and video data. With a NAS appliance, all of this data can be easily channeled into the desired storage location. It’ll be easier for the resource management department to collect and manage this data. Then when it comes to the editing part, the video editor won’t have to wait for the data; they’ll access the same storage location and start working. Evidently, the appliance plays a central role in such an environment.

This role of NAS in inter- and intra-team collaboration makes it very attractive for companies focused on leveraging teamwork for productivity and profitability.

Within a work environment, the biggest concern pertaining to a NAS is the probability of data loss. If the only storage solution you have comprises of a NAS appliance, then you have a higher probability of data loss. If the appliance is damaged or if there’s a hardware malfunction, all of your important data will be gone with it. This is one of the reasons why experts emphasize on data redundancy.

Protecting Data stored within a NAS appliance

Undoubtedly, NAS appliances are one of the best options for data storage. If you’re looking for simplified but efficient data storage than look no further than StoneFly’s NAS appliances; however, one thing that these appliances cannot do is backup.

If the NAS appliance malfunctions due to a sudden power surge or hardware failure, then there’s no way to recover the data in it; unless, you have acquired and integrated a backup solution with your storage appliance.

StoneFly’s CDR365 effectively fits into this scenario. The Software Defined Solution (SDS) facilitates simplified integration with NAS appliances and enables you to backup to Azure, AWS (Amazon Web Services) and other clouds as well.

Besides the innovative CDR365 solution, businesses can also opt to integrate Veeam into their backup strategy. By setting up an iSCSI connection to the NAS, businesses can integrate Veeam’s enterprise level backup and disaster recovery services with their storage solution.

Conclusion

Cloud is not the remedy to all problems. Verily, cloud storage solutions enable simplified data storage, data sharing and accessibility. However, NAS appliances have an important role in a work environment as well; and there are scenarios where they are necessary.

Setting up a NAS storage enables companies to effectively leverage their data, address their storage requirements and empower their processes to enhance productivity and profitability.

It is equally important to setup a backup solution to compliment the NAS storage; especially for businesses that have mission critical data.

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