A dramatic growth in unstructured data is occurring due to an increase in applications creating and using file-based data. Applications including electronic design automation (EDA), manufacturing, medical, operations and finance are some of the relevant uses that have increased need for file data processing. Network Attached Storage (NAS) systems are a natural fit for applications processing unstructured, or file data. However, the requirements for NAS are increasingly demanding. Vendors now must combine the ease of use of traditional NAS with scale-out architectures and all-flash storage to quickly grow capacity and performance and reduce latency.
The NAS vendor landscape is more crowded than ever, with traditional hardware vendors, software-defined global file system vendors and an increasing number of public cloud file system options. To stand out among so many options for IT buyers, enterprise NAS devices must deliver high performance along with strong data protection, availability, scalability and multi-protocol support.
Enterprise NAS storage is frequently used in the R&D and production environments of enterprises and departments, such as electronic design systems, content delivery, and office file sharing. Even when data volumes are not large, the application scenarios are often complex with potentially millions of files in mixed sizes, presenting challenges for storage functionality, performance, and reliability.
Enterprise NAS systems are expected to provide the following functions and features:
- Capacity – scale from TBs to PBs
- High Performance – with “high” relative to other NAS systems available
- Connectivity – Network options at 10 Gb, 25 Gb with optional 40 and 100 Gb
- Advanced Data Protection (snapshots, clones, async and synchronous replication)
- Data Recovery – Including point-in-time copy of file systems, roll-back mechanisms to recover previous versions of files or file systems, NDMP backup software, and antivirus integration.
- Availability – RAID + failover through clustering, multiple nodes or an active-active controller pair
- Multi-protocol support – primarily NFS and SMB, optionally with NDMP, HTTP, and FTP
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