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Thread: 10 Tips for NAS selection

  1. #1
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    10 Tips for NAS selection

    Unstructured data such as pictures, e-mail attachments, documents and the like now make up the bulk of the data growth in enterprises. Such information is stored usually on NAS systems. Almost no company is now in its storage strategy without Network Attached Storage. Who highly complex infrastructure with corresponding data volumes operates, usually at one of the major providers - EMC, NetApp, Oracle/Sun, HP, IBM and Fujitsu land. But companies, so do not need much, can choose among various NAS products that differ little from each other at first sight.

    Tip 1: Experiences with existing NAS systems use

    Who is looking for a smaller NAS solution should first consider very obvious factors: Is there, for example, already have other NAS systems in the company and the experience gained with this? Which are in place and this satisfactorily, it is reasonable to rely also on the forthcoming sale of products from the same manufacturer. The fewer producers in the house are, the fewer different support and maintenance contracts are paid. The operation of the new system is expected the same of the old, or at least similar, so that intra-company transfer of knowledge may save expensive training. Who was currently working mainly with a special system house and IT partners, should the NAS systems take priority in its portfolio into consideration if they meet the technical tasks. Because first you can count on an established partner, whose regular customers we heard more with concessions on prices and service. And second, otherwise you would have to search again after another partner who is just as good and reliable - known to be a complex undertaking.

  2. #2
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    Re: 10 Tips for NAS selection

    Tip 2: Storage capacity planning

    Of course, there is opportunity in addition to these aspects, a host of technical issues that must be observed when users and administrators, then, using their NAS system will be satisfied. It is important, first, how much capacity is needed. A NAS system is usually written off over three to five years. In order not to give away money, should be sufficient to extend its capabilities to the data growth of the department or establishment where it is to cope in this time period. This aspect should, IT managers must analyze before buying. Other issues related to capacity are: How many and which drives are included, how much expansion space, the housing? Is it possible to connect to other units as the initial system, which results in a logical system as a whole with a unified government? An Overland SnapServer N2000, for example, up to five expansion units are connected. Is it possible to replace the existing drive with a new generation later easily with greater capacity? Can replace hard drives without service interruption, if it is defective (Hot Swap), like Buffalo's LinkStation and many other systems? It saves space on the disk when systems eliminate duplicates automatically, which is about Transtecs NAS & iSCSI Storage Server or the rapidNAS systems of N-Tec do. Sooner or later, the fine granular duplication below the file level and at NAS systems, the lower price range to keep feeding.

  3. #3
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    Re: 10 Tips for NAS selection

    Tip 3: CPU, RAM and connections determine the performance

    However, the capacity can be used only as good and fast as possible using the integrated processor. Whether a system is operated with a Quad-or single-core processor makes a big difference in the performance. The capacity of the memory in the device is important: If it is too small, it can parallel queries for extensive or rapidly become a bottleneck, the work of the overall solution considerably slows. The larger the storage system, the greater should of course be the RAM. In professional systems should be at least 1 GB memory stick are also helpful information on data rate, whereas we must consider here, on what they refer to exactly.

    Speed and number of interfaces to decide how many users a NAS system can be used simultaneously without slowing each other, and how quickly data when users are. Of course, also offer the LAN infrastructure, sufficient bandwidth to enable them to store many queries do not go to their knees. The minimum for high-performance NAS interfaces today Gigabit Ethernet, quicker, with 10 Gb/s. It is also advantageous if a device has an e-SATA interface. Then can it connect directly to the NAS storage capacity on a more than two meters long cable and co-management of the NAS system. And USB ports, significantly increase the flexibility of a NAS system, may be linked to them as printers.

  4. #4
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    Re: 10 Tips for NAS selection

    Tip 4: pure NAS solution or combination?

    In advance, you should take some thought, whether only unstructured data is stored on the system. It may be, for example in departmental systems, quite useful databases on a small area on the NAS system hold. Then have the solution but the corresponding interfaces and management mechanisms, that is, besides the usual Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and an iSCSI target in hardware or software. Hardware solutions are usually faster, because software solutions also burden the processor with additional work.

    Each NAS system is now basically a dedicated computer with operating system and storage capacities. If the NAS system in a pure Windows environment will be used, it may be worth the more expensive NAS with Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 set, otherwise do it the widely used Linux systems. Of course, playing the protocols and file systems play an important role. Useful as http, FTP, and one of the secure FTP options for file transfer, support for file systems SMB (Server Message Block) / CIFS (Common Internet File System), NTFS (Windows NT) and NFS (Network File System, Sun ). If Apple systems to access the NAS storage on, it is essential that AFP (Apple Filing Protocol) is also supported. It makes sense and IPv6, as the migration to this version of the IP protocol for the Internet address shortage sooner or later inevitable.

  5. #5
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    Re: 10 Tips for NAS selection

    Tip 5: Ease of use is key

    Just because SMEs often time-consuming phases of learning are not, should NAS systems are easy to use especially. Most convenient is it if the control via a Web interface runs and the background can also take place. Then the administrator can manage at the headquarters at the same multiple NAS systems in different departments or offices. In very small companies with scarce IT staff resources according to the operation should be possible to even by IT-experts, preferably with a degree of fault tolerance.


    Tip 6: Be careful with backup software

    Explicitly must warn you that occasionally included backup software to use for professional purposes. Rather, it is reasonable to dispense with the use of free add-on completely, if a backup solution already exists, and instead to use them. This is not the case, you should at least consider purchasing a full version of the profit-compatible backup products, even if this costs additional. On security are also supported RAID level. It is best if the system allows the user here as free choice, that supports as many variants.

  6. #6
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    Re: 10 Tips for NAS selection

    Tip 7: Snapshot functions check

    Other measures against data loss and unauthorized access is indispensable for professional systems. Standard mechanism against data loss is on NAS systems today, the snapshot in which during operation without interrupting work a snapshot copy of data on disk and pulled down later on a long-term storage is conceived for backup -transfer medium. The more important data is and the more often they change, the more often should Snapshots can be drawn. How short are the distances between the individual snapshots may (granularity), is an important safety-related quality characteristic of NAS systems. Some systems even allow you to send a button to archive copies of a data center to replicate (such as Netgear ReadyNAS) or an identical system.


    Tip 8: Automatic Encryption

    Protects against spying automatic encryption of stored data. Cisco is offering, for example, in its NAS systems, the encryption with 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Scheme), a very powerful algorithm. NexentaStor, one on Linux -based software solution of the Nexenta project, which is distributed Krenn Thomas, relies on the file system ZFS, creates the data integrity from end to end.

  7. #7
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    Re: 10 Tips for NAS selection

    Tip 9: What add-ons you really need?

    The question is whether and what additional features useful and necessary. Examples of such functions are built-in media server, print server or connectivity options for surveillance cameras, such as those offered by StorCenter systems. Even iTunes servers are available, such as LG's or Cisco's solution. LG also integrates a Bluray burner and a 4-in-1 card reader into the NAS enclosure. What it is necessary or appropriate for professional use can be found out only the individual application. A connector for security cameras is useful, for example, if the NAS system will be used as part of a security application for the monitoring of the company building or industrial plant, because the image memory can then be placed near the camera and no additional transmission capacity is needed. For a functional and powerful media server is not only interested in home building are grateful, but also advertising agencies who work a lot with video or audio-visual materials. Especially in small departments can use a print server built into the NAS directly or via LAN and a printer attached help to reduce the equipment requirements. Other manufacturers to avoid posting such add-ons, after all, they mean more development effort and make the system more complex, which also means that such a solution is error-prone in general.

  8. #8
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    Re: 10 Tips for NAS selection

    Tip 10: NAS hardware or software?

    Of course there is also the question of whether any NAS hardware and software from a single complete product is needed. For an alternative, there are now a number of solutions in principle every server NAS system can transform into. Examples of providers of such products are Open-E and Nexenta. Closed NAS systems have however often proprietary elements that made it necessary significantly to learning. Regarding the capacity of software solutions can hardly be desired. Whether hardware or software: Paying attention to the warranty period, should never be forgotten. Ideally, it is consistent with the useful life of the system, so it runs at least three years. Here is something saddle up necessary to the standard scope of services pay off in case of error. Because in the absence of a guarantee of good advice in general is expensive.

  9. #9
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    Re: 10 Tips for NAS selection

    Thanks for sharing the very useful information!

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