Monday, June 20, 2011

NAS: Network Attached Storage over TCP/IP

Network attached storage (NAS) has become a popular storage solution. NAS appliances are storage devices that connect directly to the LAN via a standard Ethernet port and use the familiar TCP/IP protocol to communicate with network peers. TCP/IP works by dividing up actual files into many small fragments, encapsulating them into packets, then sending them as frames through the LAN or WAN (Wide Area Network). NAS is an attractive storage solution for some businesses, but proves to be inadequate for others.

  • Plug & Play Implementation
  • Ease of Management
  • High Network Overhead
  • Limited Scalability

One advantage of NAS over other storage technologies is its ease of implementation. The plug and play nature of NAS makes it a flexible storage option for small businesses and is easily administered by existing IT staff. In addition, the use of TCP/IP eliminates distance limitations associated with DAS storage solutions. As a result, NAS appliances can be accessed over the network regardless of their physical location.  Among the disadvantages of NAS is its high  network overhead and limited scalability.  Storage data to and from the NAS must travel across the same network as other servers, which burdens the LAN, and limits bandwidth. NAS scalability is also an issue for many  organizations. As data storage demands increase, additional NAS devices must be added to the network, complicating management. As NAS appliances accumulate on the LAN, storage traffic continues to increase, consuming  network bandwidth, and decreasing data  availability. 

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