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The Most Common Approaches to Storage Hardware

When it comes to enterprise-level storage infrastructure, there are two approaches that are helpful to understand: Network-Attached Storage (NAS) and Storage Area Networks (SAN). Both NAS and SAN offer storage to clients across a network. As a result, SAN and NAS are cost-effective, because significant amounts of local storage are not required.

Scaling storage in preparation for future demand is more convenient with SAN and NAS because of the reduction in the time it takes to track individual server disk usage. Instead, you can increase capacity by adding disks as needed. Moreover, you can take a more customized approach to expanding capacity by using drives with different capabilities to meet unique needs.

In this article, we discuss several important aspects of these storage concepts and how Curvature serves the storage needs of organizations around the world.

Comparing NAS and SAN Storage

While NAS and SAN may seem similar at first glance, there are some important differences to consider. From an architecture perspective, a NAS is typically a single physical server, but it can also, less commonly, take the form of a virtual machine on a hypervisor. A NAS runs file-sharing protocols, which are exposed to an internal network. Those shares are then presented by protocols like Common Internet File System (CIFS) – a dialect of Server Message Block (SMB) – or Network File System (NFS), which allow clients to attach to the NAS for reading/writing files.

SAN architecture uses multiple independent parts rather than a single physical server like NAS. SAN storage offers block-level access for hosts giving them control over their own storage parameters such as filesystems. With a SAN, access is usually via Fibre Channel or Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI). The client using the block device can partition it and create filesystems on it as desired.

Scaling NAS and SAN Storage

SAN components can include controller nodes, disk shelves, dedicated switches, tape backup units, or gateway devices. This multi-component architecture of SAN offers excellent redundancy, scalability, and tiering for storage services. As a result, extra capacity can often be added to a SAN using disk shelves or switches. When it comes to NAS storage, scale-out architecture easily enables nodes to be added for increased performance and capacity such as in Dell EMC Isilon.

Applying NAS and SAN Storage

Most of the time a NAS is preferable over a SAN for multiple users who need to store and share their files. In contrast, a SAN is better for offering lower-level access to shared storage or for less common filesystems. That being said, neither SAN nor NAS is inherently better than the other. Each of these approaches can offer excellent storage performance depending on the use case. Moreover, it’s common for organizations to run both SAN and NAS as part of their overall storage infrastructure to meet different needs in terms of redundancy, availability, and workload size.

Curvature Provides Storage Hardware and Services Around the World

At Curvature, we help you scale your existing NAS and SAN storage with additional drives, enclosures, shelves, and more. These expansions add valuable dollars back to your bottom line by putting off an expensive storage hardware refresh. Our storage arrays are fully built, tested, and configured with accessories comparable to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and distributors at a fraction of the cost.

When it comes to NAS and SAN storage hardware, we specialize in:

  • HPE 3PAR and MSA
  • Dell EMC VNX and Data Domain
  • NetApp Filers and Expansion Shelves

While we help you maximize your existing SAN and NAS infrastructure by providing cost-effective expansion options, a refresh of your storage hardware is sometimes your best option. In these cases, Curvature partners with top-tier vendors, such as Dell EMC, to provide you with current-generation storage solutions on demand.

Our storage hardware inventory is well-stocked and always available at our distribution centers around the world (AMER, EMEA, and APAC). This global reach gives you the peace of mind of Next Business Day (NBD) shipments to nearly anywhere in the world. Plus, we provide a limited lifetime warranty on almost all our products. Curvature’s Professional Services, through Park Place Technologies, will install and set up your new storage system and then provide ongoing world-class third-party maintenance so that you enjoy maximum storage performance.

For more information on expanding your storage capacity, upgrading your storage hardware, or receiving third-party support, reach out to Curvature today!

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