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Network Attached Storage (NAS)

Here, we are going to learn about NAS (Network Attached Storage) with reference to cloud computing.
Submitted by Rahul Gupta, on January 30, 2021

Network Attached Storage (NAS) is data storage at the server-side for the file level (as opposed to block-level storage) linked to a computer network that provides a heterogeneous group of users with data access. The NAS is designed to support files either by hardware, software, or device configuration.

NAS systems are networked machines containing one or more disc drives that are often organized in logical, redundant, or RAID storage. Network-attached storage eliminates the burden of serving data from other network servers. Using network file sharing protocols such as NFS, SMB, or AFP, they usually provide access to files. As a simple way to share files between multiple computers, NAS devices have started to gain popularity. Compared to general-purpose servers of serving files, possible advantages of dedicated network-attached storage include quicker access to data, management, and easy configuration.

How does NAS work?

  • Hardware: On specialized hardware, pre-configured storage software is installed. This hardware is simply just a server known as a NAS box, NAS device, NAS server, or NAS head, containing storage discs or drives, processors, and Random Access Memory (RAM).
  • Software: The general-purpose of NAS is its server storage. On a lightweight Operating System (OS) that is typically embedded in the hardware, NAS software is deployed. General-purpose servers have OSs that send and receive thousands of requests every second, a portion of which may be storage related, whereas only 2 types of requests are sent and received by a NAS: data storage and file sharing.

Advantages of Network Attached Storage

  • Price/Performance Flexibility: We have various choices for cloud storage to use with the right cloud NAS. It is possible to use low-performance cloud object storage for use cases that do not require high performance. But we can also reach the SLAs (Service-Level Agreement) standard of HPC (High-Performance Computing) for a price. With the right combination of virtual machines running at the backend of cloud storage for the cloud NAS controller head, we can fulfill our storage requirements for any project.
  • Scale-out capacity: It's as basic as adding more hard discs to add more storage space to the NAS. We don't have to update or replace existing servers, and without closing down the network, new abilities can be made available.
  • Built-in Data Resiliency: Through storing multiple copies of data on multiple discs, most cloud storage has data resiliency built-in. The need for high availability, snapshots, and backups is not replaced by this resilience, but it is good to have this degree of resilience built right into the storage used for our cloud NAS.
  • Easy setup: NAS architectures are also supplied with simpler scripts, or even as appliances with a standardized operating system preinstalled, significantly reducing the time it takes to set up and operate the system.
  • Pay as You Go and Reduce Costs: We just pay for the storage which we need from the cloud provider. We can quickly scale the cloud instances to meet our needs in a better way to get cloud storage cheaper. To retain performance for our data, we can also use tiered storage and push legacy data to low-cost storage and store frequently used data in top-tiered storage.
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