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Enhancing NAS systems with supplementary tools

Network-attached storage (NAS) systems continue to grow in popularity among IT organizations of all sizes, with offerings available for the largest enterprise and the smallest remote

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office/branch office (ROBO.) There are several benefits NAS systems can provide for your customers, such as enhanced data protection and archiving capabilities; improved data access performance; increased storage capacity with a reduced footprint; and transparent data migration via file virtualization.

IT solution providers that are already implementing NAS in the form of primary, secondary and tertiary systems are well-positioned to venture into the realm of NAS accessories. Several tools are available to improve management, data collection and WAN capabilities within a NAS environment.

Global namespaces tools and solutions can be great for creating a unified means of accessing and managing data. Some organizations put a lot of effort into acquiring clustered NAS and clustered file systems to improve scalability, but a global namespace placed in front of an existing NAS system can be an adequate first step toward consolidation and enhanced management.

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Selling NAS and iSCSI SAN to SMB customers
If storage capacity is your customers' challenge, compression appliances that sit in-line in the network in front of NAS storage systems provide on-line and near-line data compaction to reduce data footprint and increase capacity. NAS systems are also adding support for single-instance storage, or deduplication, to further reduce data footprint; this support is initially being added primarily for secondary and near-line storage.

By adding to your bag of NAS tricks, you can improve your customers' return on the technology while leveraging the investment you've already made in the NAS systems arena.

About the author:
Greg Schulz is founder and senior analyst of independent storage analyst firm The StorageIO Group (www.storageio.com) and author of the book Resilient Storage Networks, published by Elsevier.


This was first published in October 2007

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