Storage managers are pressured to deliver new levels of nimbleness and operational and cost efficiency, while at the same time serve booming pools of unstructured data to highly distributed enterprises. Traditional network-attached storage (NAS) arrays were designed to serve smaller volumes of structured data to singular offices, and thus fall short in the modern era.
To facilitate global collaboration and to enable more independent and elastic scalability of compute and storage resources, many organizations are migrating their NAS implementations to the cloud. However, there are a couple of critical potential pitfalls for storage managers to watch out for when doing so.
Data and Solution Silos
A straight “lift and shift” of legacy NAS technology to the cloud does not overcome the challenge of data silos. This impedes the user experience and remains difficult to manage. For instance, files are not synchronized and cannot be locked for editing across the organization’s locations, creating collaboration headaches for users and a nightmare for IT to try to position the right data in the right location at the right time. Further adding to management complexities as well as costs, cloud solutions are typically not comprehensive. Backup software needed to migrate old and infrequently accessed files to retention storage as well as provide disaster recovery capabilities typically needs to be purchased separately. At the same time, however, this functionality is necessary to ensure the quality, privacy and availability of business-critical data and to ensure that all data is not permanently stored on an expensive tier of cloud services.
Another key pain point that accompanies a shift to cloud services is levels of latency that are typically unacceptable from the user’s perspective. Files will not open and save as quickly as if they were stored on-premises. In the modern era of “agile” enterprises and productivity devices including laptops that are equipped with solid-state drives (SSDs), users are not used to having to wait for access to the data that they need.
Storage managers instead should consider a cloud-native file system that can create a centralized global namespace out of a mixture of on-premises private and off-premises object retention storage to balance cost and security requirements, and that has the option of deploying an on-premises edge appliance for faster user access to data. For more tips on how to modernize your NAS, watch Storage Switzerland’s most recent on demand webinar in collaboration with Nasuni, Overcoming the Shortcomings of Legacy NAS with Microsoft Azure.