Both NAS and SAN address the issue of availing stored data to many users at once. Although these technologies provide dedicated storage for users, there are differences in how they achieve this process. Here is a brief overview of the differences between NAS and SAN.
What Is NAS?
This is a single storage device that provides files over Ethernet. NAS is inexpensive and easy to set up. On the other hand, SAN is a network of multiple devices that is expensive and has a complicated set-up process.
NAS is a computer linked to a network that offers file-based data storage services to devices on the network. The files that need to be shared are contained on one or more hard drives in the network. The more drive bays within the NAS, the larger the storage options available. The NAS devices are network nodes like computers with their own IP address. The NAS file service sends and receives files over the Ethernet network.
What Are the Benefits of NAS?
NAS is ideal for a small business or home office which relies on external hard drives, which can easily be corrupted. Upgrading to NAS enables users to share files both locally and remotely. Additionally, the files are accessible 24/7. Furthermore, with NAS technology, you can achieve data redundancy and replace hard drives in the system. NAS can also integrate with cloud storage, which is crucial for automatic data backups.
What Are the Shortcomings of NAS?
One of the weaknesses of a NAS is scale and performance. Since more users require access to files, the server will have trouble keeping up. While expanding storage may solve this dilemma, you will need a more powerful system with advanced specifications.
Another weakness regards the Ethernet. This technology transfers data by dividing it into packets. Any of these packets may be delayed or sent out in the wrong order because of network issues. This means the file will not reach the user until all the packets arrive and are arranged in order. The problem of slow connections doesn’t affect users for small files but demands environments that deal with large files. For example, for video production, the latency of over a few milliseconds can disrupt video editing.
What Is SAN?
SAN is a combination of servers and storage over a low latency interconnect and high speeds. This technology allows Fiber Channel connections. Between the server and clients, the SAN may additionally make use of a second, private Ethernet network. These capabilities prevent file request traffic on the Fiber network channel for improved performance. The storage area network is ideal for serving many users in demanding applications like multiple application servers.
What Are the Benefits of SAN?
SAN is used by large businesses and requires management by an IT staff. Its high speed and low latency make it applicable to demanding applications like video editing.
Another strength of SAN is that it supports simultaneous shared access to shared storage. This makes it faster when you add storage controllers. For example, multiple video editors can use the network’s storage simultaneously. Therefore, SAN is best suited for collaborative video production environments.
What Are the Shortcomings of SAN?
The cost and administration demand of the SAN is one of its biggest weaknesses. Maintaining a separate Ethernet network for metadata file requests and using the Fiber Channel network is a considerable investment. However, SAN is the only way to serve many users needing fast data access. Furthermore, it is ideal for supporting multiple users simultaneously.
Wrapping It Up
When choosing between NAS and SAN, you must consider your specific requirements. NAS has a simple set-up and is easy to manage. It is also suited for general-purpose applications. On the other hand, SAN is more complex to set up and manage. It is also the only means of providing shared storage for critical and high-performance applications.