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What is the difference between clustered and traditional NAS storage?

What is the difference between clustered and traditional NAS storage?

At the most basic level, the traditional NAS solution used to be an unstructured server. With of course a disk connected to it. You could also add additional disks and a more efficient hardware, but it was restricted in capacity and performance. Modern enterprise NAS systems are highly scalable. Adding storage and performance is much easier and cost-efficient for any data center.

In this article, we will explore how traditional NAS storage differs from modern enterprise NAS storage and its benefit in terms of performance, cost, and scalability.

How does traditional Network Attached Storage differ from clustered NAS storage?

Traditional NAS solutions are essentially one storage device. More than one can be set up in a failover cluster; however, capacity is limited by the amount of memory/processor. And also disks that one NAS device can use at its maximum capacity.

In contrast, a clustered Network Attached Storage permits scaling over a range of devices. With each device being active and capable of accessing all the files within the cluster. This offers many advantages. To name a few:

  • When your servers for storage are limited by hardware, you can connect a device to increase processing power without adding more disks.
  • If you are running out of storage, you may add a disk that every device can access. However, you don’t need to purchase any additional devices for increasing performance if it is not required.
  • The failure of a device is not disruptive to your operations, and the load of the unit that failed could be distributed across the entire cluster.

Benefits of scaling with clustered NAS storage

The unique feature of the best NAS systems is the distributed file system. This allows all the nodes within the cluster to access all files within the cluster. For example, StoneFly’s super scale-out NAS storage appliance. They can be scaled out to a virtually unlimited number of nodes, with each going up to a petabyte of storage. This is especially useful for massive data centers.

This capability to scale capacity and performance requirements in a way that is independent of one another is a key characteristic of many scale-out NAS solutions. As a result, it makes it easier to make better utilization of resources when compared to traditional NAS, when all you need is increased throughput.

Clustered NAS can fulfil all the standard requirements for file service with greater scalability. In the past, if you had a growth plan that demanded more storage, it was common to move your data to a new device with a larger capacity.

In the case of clustered NAS, additional capacity and speed do not require data migration since all storage servers have access to all the data. At most, you will need to add more nodes.

Bottom Line

NAS storage is starting to have a significant impact within large data environments. However, traditional NAS storage relies on single node design. In contrast, Clustered nodes rely on multiple nodes working together to provide file serving capabilities in a redundant fashion. This increases data availability and makes it easy to upgrade your storage for future purposes.

If you are interested, check out StoneFly’s super scale-out NAS solutions that support Anti-virus and anti-ransomware, Immutable delta-based snapshots, Write-Once Read-Many (WORM) volumes, Automated storage tiering, Deduplication, AES 256-bit encryption, and Sync/async multi-appliance/multi-site replication.


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