NFS compatibility is considered table stakes for object storage products in today’s market. How and why did this happen? Network Attached Storage (NAS) and the NFS protocol have been and is the architecture of choice for unstructured data. Despite all the benefits of object storage, the data is on NFS. All roads to object storage have to pass through NFS. The challenge is how smooth is that road. IT professionals should know that NFS support is more than just a checkbox item. How the object storage vendor implements that support is critical to a successful object storage implementation.
NFS is ubiquitous. Every laptop, workstation, and server has an IP connection and every modern operating system has a built-in NFS client. Using a NAS system is as simple as configuring a share and mounting that share.
Object storage systems, on the other hand, typically speak the S3 API. Although object storage has been out for quite some time and is the predominant way that cloud providers like Amazon Web services store their data, it’s nowhere near as ubiquitous as NFS, especially in the private data center. All applications know how to write to a file system, and NFS appears as a file system. Many, if not most, applications do not yet know how to write to an S3 device – although this is starting to change.
The reason why object storage systems are not a product waiting for a problem is that NAS systems do have a whole host of problems that object storage systems solve, such as difficulty scaling, an inability to find data stored a long time ago, and significant costs from backing up data that the enterprise does not use anymore. Object storage systems can solve all of these problems, but that doesn’t change the fact that the applications creating all of this unstructured data didn’t yet know how to write to the S3 API.
Enter NFS gateways. All major storage vendors started developing a gateway product that would accept files via NFS and eventually store them as S3 objects. These products started the process of bridging the gap between legacy applications and object storage systems. Unfortunately, many implementations of these products have a number of challenges, especially when it comes to scalability.
Join us for our on demand webinar, “What Your Object Storage Vendor Isn’t Telling You About NFS Support”. We discuss what object storage is, why it is better at solving modern unstructured data challenges than NFS, and why IT professionals need to pay careful attention to how their object storage vendors implement NFS compatibility.