Managing End-to-End Enterprise Storage Solutions Page 2


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Storage Solution Selection

Imperative to the future growth and success of an enterprise is the choosing of a dynamic and adaptable storage solution. Several important issues must be considered as enterprises move toward implementing a storage solution:

  1. The ease of use and reliability of a storage system are tremendously important because once data is lost, it cannot be recovered.

  2. The optimal storage strategy not only provides storage but also allows enterprises to invest in a total network solution.

  3. The storage solution selected must meet the current needs of the enterprise and, at the same time, allow for growth and expansion.

The ideal solution supplies the needed storage capacity, solves specific IT problems, lowers total cost of ownership (TCO), increases performance, eases system management, and offers enhanced scalability, availability, and reliability. By providing a comprehensive storage solution, Network Attached Storage (NAS) is able to accomplish all of this.

Network Attached Storage

NAS servers attach directly to enterprise Local Area Networks (LANs) and are designed specifically for storage and file/application services. The ability to provide high performance storage, speedy file access, and interoperability in one, simple solution lies in the advantage and innovation of NAS. The high storage capacity and cross-platform capabilities of NAS result in the consolidation of existing network resources into a single system with a streamlined architecture. As a result, users are granted rapid, reliable access to shared data, while the enterprise enjoys increased storage capacity and lowered TCO.

The NAS unit appears as a very large hard drive to users. By using network protocols such as Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) or file sharing protocols such as Common Internet File System (CIFS), Network File System (NFS), and Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP), users are able to access files and applications directly from file systems residing on the NAS device. Furthermore, performance problems and input/output (I/O) bottlenecks caused by the transmission of requests across multiple servers are eliminated, because users submit file and application requests directly to the server. Data requests, as a result, are handled faster and more reliably by a NAS system than by general-purpose servers.

Currently, NAS appliances are most often deployed in environments that require high overall performance for web and e-mail services, data warehousing, Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) development, graphic design and imaging, and rapid access to information libraries and archives. Nevertheless, NAS is ideal for both large enterprises with large information bases and small companies looking to expand in the near future.

For example, the International Data Center (IDC) reports that from 2000 to 2001 NAS revenue grew from $1.3 billion to $5.6 billion, an increase of 331%. IDC predicts NAS consumer spending will reach $21.1 billion by the end of 2005, with a compound annual growth rate of 69%. The demand for, growth of, and increased spending on NAS is larger than that of any other storage technology. Because of its ease of installation, catastrophe-free performance, and key features, NAS has now become the storage standard. For system installation and configuration, other storage solutions demand hours -- and sometimes even days -- of network downtime. Because network downtime is minimal, the plug-and-play capabilities of NAS servers make deployment in any environment simple. In comparison to other storage solutions, the architecture of NAS servers provides increased performance, manageability, availability, scalability, and reliability in addition to its ease of deployment.

Page 3: Server Attached Storage

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