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The major differences between a NAS storage and SAN

The major differences between a NAS storage and SAN

Corporate IT budgets aren’t infinite, and companies must maximize their storage spending to meet their needs. The two major choices for enterprise storage are SAN storage and NAS storage. But how are they different?

Here we will touch on some of the key differences, and you can decide for yourself which one makes the most sense for your environment.

Enterprise NAS storage vs. SAN: The major differences

1) Design: NAS storage uses Ethernet over TCP/IP networks. Traditional SANs, in contrast, use high-speed Fiber Channel networks. But nowadays, SANs are also using IP-based fabric due to the increasing cost and complexity of the fiber channel.

2.) Data processing. The two storage systems use very different methods: NAS processes file-based data while SAN processes block-based data. In addition, network Attached Storage uses a global namespace, while SANs use specific SAN file systems. With a global namespace combined, various NAS file systems can be combined to have a unified storage.

SAN file systems allow file sharing, and each server is assigned an exclusive, non-shared LUN. This helps the SAN servers securely share data by providing access to files on the same LUN.

3) Protocols. NAS can be connected directly to an Ethernet network. NAS uses different protocols to connect to servers like NFS, SMB/CIFS, and HTTP. On the other hand, SAN servers can communicate with SAN drives via the SCSI protocol.

4) Performance. The SANs are by far the best performers and are incredible for environments that require high-speed connectivity, such as transaction databases, e-commerce websites, hosting, etc. NAS generally has greater latency and lower throughput due to its slow file system layer. However, high-speed networks may make up the performance deficits within NAS. Furthermore, many manufacturers like StoneFly make high-performance scale-out NAS storage systems. You can add either high-performance hardware to existing nodes or add more nodes altogether for fully reap the benefits of a scale-out NAS system.

5.) Ease of management. NAS storage takes a clear lead here. It plugs easily into the LAN and provides an intuitive management interface. In addition, most NAS storage has built-in OS. For example, StoneFly’s StoneFusion comes with various features like Anti-virus and anti-ransomware, Immutable delta-based snapshots, Write-Once Read-Many (WORM) volumes, Automated storage tiering, Deduplication, AES 256-bit encryption, Sync/async multi-appliance/multi-site replication to increase data security and ease data management.

SAN requires more complex administration as compared to that of an enterprise NAS device. The deployment process often involves physical modifications within the data center, and the ongoing management usually requires special admins.

6.)  Price. Although the best NAS systems are more expensive than a basic SAN, enterprise-grade NAS is more affordable to maintain and use in the long run. With SAN, the cost of fiber channel is way too much administrative expenses also come into the equation.

Bottom Line

NAS and SAN are the two most popular choices for data center storage. Whichever you may choose, you can not go wrong with them. Hopefully, with these insights, you will choose what is right for your data center and make a better decision than before. Thumbs up If this post helped you.


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