Network-attached storage (NAS) devices typically run their own proprietary operating system, and are managed and configured using integrated software utilities that run across any standard Web browser. This allows you to offer such NAS services to customers like checking NAS status, diagnosing NAS issues and making changes to the NAS configuration from any workstation on the LAN.
NAS management tools you select for your customers should include comprehensive support for the NAS boxes -- including discovery -- and should present detailed information through a single console. NAS devices frequently include utilities to tackle specific tasks, such as snapshot, replication or backup. When implementing a NAS, it's also important to test the utilities included with the unit to ensure that the software will behave properly on your customer's network.
Remember that every NAS box will absolutely require some amount of routine management work, but NAS management overhead is cumulative. As more NAS boxes appear on the LAN, or even the SAN, more management time is required. Smaller IT shops may not be able handle the strain this creates on limited staff. You can either offer to host NAS management for them, or discuss virtualization options. The same virtualization technologies that can treat a variety of storage resources as a single pool of storage can also be applied to NAS devices -- locating, identifying and combining NAS resources so that they can be treated and managed as a single entity (ideally through a single management console). Dedicated NAS virtualization appliances are typically installed between NAS boxes and the network.
This tip originally appeared on SearchStorage.com.