NAS vs. Object: Performance – Thinly Provisioned NAS

Network Attached Storage (NAS) filers were originally designed to be a central repository that provides fast access to frequently changing files on primary storage. NAS also makes it simple to add more storage capacity over existing Ethernet networks. However, the ever-rising tide of unstructured data, combined with legal compliance requirements that force organizations to retain much of their data for longer periods of time, have led to storage sprawl. It’s forcing organizations to purchase more high performance storage to keep pace with the rising data flood, and continue to provide high performance access for “hot” (active) data sets. An additional problem is that a large percentage of the data most NAS systems store is cold data the organization no longer accesses, but it still consumes valuable primary storage space it needs for active data sets.

While newer scale-out NAS systems make it possible to scale local storage into the petabyte range, they do so with certain limitations such as greater complexity and higher costs. What organizations need is a way to scale-out existing and new NAS acquisitions without the additional expense and complexity of traditional scale-out NAS systems.

The Object Storage Alternative

Object storage addresses the various challenges of NAS limitations by providing much of the same flexibility of deployment and accessibility as traditional NAS and scale-out NAS systems. But at the same time, it uses much less expensive commodity disk to build out large, multi-PB storage repositories that can store an almost infinite number of files.

Object storage systems also have other advantages such as erasure coding, which is a highly efficient technology that protects data while minimizing the amount of disk storage it needs while also providing faster volume rebuild times. Additionally, object storage systems store data based on its metadata and content rather than by filename and directory location. This makes it easier to find particular objects months or even years later.

A Different Approach

Given the continuing need for NAS performance in dealing with “hot” data sets, a more cost effective method of scaling out a NAS system would be using a Software Defined Storage (SDS) solution that would allow you to effectively scale-out NAS capacity through thin provisioning of primary storage. It would provide support for the necessary NAS protocols, like NSF and CIFS/SMB, allowing you to couple a NAS system to scalable object storage that functions like an endless, but intelligent and resilient, JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks) tier built on less expensive commodity hardware.

Additionally, it would also provide intelligent, policy driven life cycle management that automatically handles migrating “warm” and “cold” data from primary storage to less expensive tiers. “Warm” means there is a reasonable chance someone would access this data in the near future. “Cold” means data is inactive, no one needs to access now nor probably will again. But, in the event someone needs any of this “warm” or “cold” data, it will be instantly retrievable back to the NAS high performance, primary storage tier.

Conclusion

With flat IT budgets and the ever-increasing amount of unstructured data, as well as the high percentage of cold data consuming expensive primary storage on NAS systems, organizations clearly need a cost-effective way to efficiently store and manage all this data. A strong, flexible SDS solution that facilitates the use of thin provisioning and object storage with NAS systems will provide organizations the budget-friendly means to meet this difficult challenge.

About Caringo

Caringo was founded in 2005 to change the economics of storage by designing software from the ground up to solve the issues associated with data protection, management, organization and search at massive scale. Caringo’s flagship product, Swarm, eliminates the need to migrate data into disparate solutions for long-term preservation, delivery and analysis—radically reducing total cost of ownership. Today, Caringo software is the foundation for simple, bulletproof, limitless storage solutions for the Department of Defense, the Brazilian Federal Court System, City of Austin, Telefónica, British Telecom, Ask.com, Johns Hopkins University and hundreds more worldwide. Visit www.caringo.com to learn more.

Joseph is a Lead Analyst with Storage Switzerland and an IT veteran with over 35 years of experience in the high tech industries. He has held senior technical positions with several major OEMs, VARs, and System Integrators, providing them with technical pre and post- sales support for a wide variety of data protection solutions. He also designed, implemented and supported backup, recovery and encryption solutions in addition to providing Disaster Recovery planning, testing and data loss risk assessments in distributed computing environments on UNIX and Windows platforms.

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog
One comment on “NAS vs. Object: Performance – Thinly Provisioned NAS
  1. sf says:

    Hi, object systems provide good solution for some use cases (cold store). However, technically there are some inaccuracies:

    “Object storage systems also have other advantages such as erasure coding, which is a highly efficient technology that protects data while minimizing the amount of disk storage it needs while also providing faster volume rebuild times.”

    The wording hints that this is unique to object systems. however, many other block and file have very efficient erasure coding. This is not unique to object. Faster rebuild times? comparing to what? to Mirroring? really? can you explain?

    “Additionally, object storage systems store data based on its metadata and content rather than by filename and directory location. This makes it easier to find particular objects months or even years later.”

    Or in other words, you don’t have a chance to locate your data blob without additional indexing system….

Comments are closed.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 22,233 other followers

Blog Stats
  • 1,540,883 views
%d bloggers like this: