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SAN Versus NAS: What's the Difference and What Do You Need?



If you think back to the turn of the century, the thought of needing a terabyte of storage probably seemed quite unlikely at the time. With some personal computers now having a standard terabyte hard drive, it’s obvious that things have changed dramatically when it comes to data storage.

Just like many individual consumers need more data storage than ever before, so do a lot of businesses. With their data storage needs increasing every day, it’s vital for businesses of all sizes to make the right choice for data storage.


SAN vs NAS Data Storage

While SAN and NAS storage technology share the same letters in their names and they do some of the same tasks, each storage solution satisfies different needs in very different ways. This means that the technology that’s best for your location will differ depending on various factors, including your needs and budget.

NAS is a data storage device that’s connected to a network. This network enables users to access the data they need. In general, NAS is built with disks that are set up in a RAID that work with connected devices using ethernet. Put simply, NAS is a file server that is only used for storage.

A NAS consolidates security and data protection because it’s a single system. A NAS has a simple architecture that’s accurately described as “plug and play” because it requires no changes to the architecture of your current network. Because of its simple architecture, a NAS is typically an affordable data storage option for small and medium-sized businesses.

A NAS isn’t scalable, which means you’ll have to add another NAS if you want to increase your data storage. A NAS storage solution isn’t appropriate in high performance applications given its low throughput and high latency. Since NAS systems normally share files over the local area network, they can be impacted by other traffic that’s on the local area network.

Unlike NAS, SAN employs a series of storage devices that work together. A SAN removes resources off a local area network to make an independent, high-speed, highly organized storage space that users can access as if the SAN was storage attached directly to their devices. While NAS systems store file level data, SANs store block level data.

SAN storage is perfect for high-performance applications and it enables other devices in your network to operate more efficiently. Because a SAN is an independent network, it won’t add to or suffer from the traffic on your local area network. SAN storage has built-in redundancy that isn’t found in a NAS. If one of the servers in a SAN storage solution fails, the network’s other devices will fill in the gap.

Implementing a SAN requires architectural changes to your existing network. The upfront expenses of implementing a SAN storage solution are ordinarily higher than the costs for a NAS.


Which Is Right for You?

The storage solution that’s right for your business depends on various factors, such as your specific needs, budget and plans for growth. As a very general rule, NASs are great for small to medium-sized organizations that want a storage solution that’s affordable and easy to implement. SANs are ideally suited to companies that need a high-performing storage solution that offers outstanding storage performance and reliability they can count on.

As SAN storage vendors serving Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas, we invite you to contact SANDirect if you’re trying to choose between NAS and SAS. We’ll help you make the decision that’s best for your organization. Contact SANDirect now!

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