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data storage : nas

nas servers enhance network performance by eliminating server I/O (Input/Output) bottlenecks. LAN clients access these devices over standard network protocols such as TCP/IP and can share files simultaneously across different protocols such as CIFS, NFS and HTTP, which means they are server and operating-system independent.

This makes it easy for system administrators to add, maintain, and access large amounts of storage capacity.

nas systems are not limited to read/write disk systems, but also include optical media systems such as CD-ROM and DVD-ROM servers.

In addition to basic file service, NAS can be used for specialised tasks such as e-commerce, web caching, local storage, remote storage or caching in a Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) environment.

Because NAS servers are designed from the ground up as storage devices, they are engineered for high performance.

A basic disk-based read/write NAS system includes an enclosure, power supplies, cooling fans, network connection(s), hard disk drives, a backup device and a scalable controller.

NAS systems can be designed around nearly any operating system, from embedded real-time operating systems to Linux or compact operating system kernels optimised for file serving.

Tasks include managing the network connections, accepting file requests, sending and receiving data from the disk drives, returning data to clients and monitoring the overall health of the system.

Key Benefits

Ease of use. NAS brings ease of use to shared networked storage. NAS devices are as easy to add to a LAN as a PC or a printer.

Storage can be added as needed without disrupting the network, eliminating downtime associated with server-attached storage.

NAS devices are plug-and-play 'appliances'. Set-up requires little more than connecting to the network, applying power, and performing a few mouse clicks.

Because NAS configurations provide fully integrated hardware and software, they are far less complex to use than typical general-purpose network servers.

Performance. NAS systems off-load data from the network backbone by providing storage to a workgroup or a department on an independent, but connected, subnet or network division.

Unlike Server-Attached Storage(SAN), NAS separates file-serving services from application processing. NAS servers are not burdened by application function overhead, which improves the overall effectiveness of both the NAS and the LAN.

The application server is not only faster, but the likelihood of a system crash is lessened. Administrators can also use NAS-integrated tape devices to automate backup functions and eliminate LAN backup traffic.

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