SAN (Storage Area Network) and NAS (Network Attached Storage) are the main data storage technologies which are being used by organizations. In SAN, high-speed storage devices are connected to each other via network and also to servers. Servers on the network are able to access the storage devices which include tape libraries, RAID hardware and others. In NAS technology, more storage space (hard-disk) can be added to networks which are used as shared network resources. NAS is therefore a file-server allowing many network file systems and other services.
SAN was designed mainly for large organizations with a large network i.e. different offices are located in different regions hence information if found in different servers or storage devices in the network. Accessing information from different servers in a network is next to impossibility due to the huge amount of data hence a separate storage devices separate from the company’ network and servers need to be designed. SAN sorts out the problem and users are able to access information faster hence improving performance in the organization (Dickens et al., 2011).
SAN helps in the automation some of the tasks like backups. Administrators can schedule specific time when backup will be performed in the network without the need to appear physically since they may be caught in other tasks and the automation enables the backups to be up to date. There is increased efficiency in the usage of resources as they are allocated to who needs them the most rather than where information is stored. Storage capacity can be increased without interfering with the network performance. Storage upgrading can be done anytime without waiting for off-peak hours when the systems are not busy. There is also improved performance as tasks are well allocated i.e. storage devices store data only while the servers process the information and the applications. SAN is also very reliable as it allows usage of several backups which had been mirrored or replicated remotely in different servers. When one storage device fails it is possible to move to a different storage device without any data loss and this improves productivity. It is also secure as only authorized users have access to data this improves data confidentiality. SAN can be managed from anywhere remotely as long as there is network configuration allowing the administrators to access without need to travel to where the SAN has been setup and this saves on time and cost. There are management tools which are used to automatically monitor and fix any errors that may occur without involving the administrators. Some of the management tools have been programmed such that they can alert the administrators in case of any problems in the storage device. Management tools also remove duplicates from the storage devices helping in creation of more space for data storage (Goda, 2009).
However, it is very expensive to implement and maintain a SAN technology as compared to the NAS. Due to its complexity, it required very skilled and experienced administrators for its setup.
NAS is basically for small organizations that deal with frequent transfer and consistent backup. NAS was is mainly used to add storage space to an office or a computer and its servers capacity range between 100 gigabytes up to 8 or more terabytes. This technology minimizes cost of buying extra hard disks as available resources can be shared among the users depending on the needs. Information and files are accessible from different locations as users can access same data and work on it all at the same time. It helps in offices which have only one printer and they all need access to it.
NAS provides a sharing capability where users on the network are able to share files and folders. They can also share music, videos or even participate in online games without the need of physically competing among themselves. NAS uses an encryption mechanism to protect its data and they only allow authorized personnel to access the data. It also allows automatic backing up of data as files stored in the computer are copied to the server. Any changes which are made to the files in PC are automatically saved in the server. This is mainly done through Ethernet cable connection or using the wireless technology. In case of any media failure from the computers the backups can be restored hence there is no loss of information. NAS are very simple to configure and maintain as compared to the SAN technology. They can also be administered remotely and this saves cost and time.
NAS is used by many computers connected to the network hence there may be slow performance when all the computers try to access the storage device all at the same time. This is caused by limited bandwidth or even a low processing speed in the storage device. Since data storage is mainly centralized, when the device fails there is total failure in the network hence backups should be made in different devices. Also file transfer from the storage devices is slower compared to the SAN.
SAN’s reliability, high performance, scalability, high performance, fault tolerance would be recommended to Laplata Trucking Company (LTC). LTC has 5 different locations and SAN would ensure faster data transfer by using the fiber technology in its connections between them. LTC is also expanding its locations and SAN can be used without affecting the system performance. SAN will able to support hubs/switches, mail Server, RAID array, Optical Storage, Application and Database Servers, since it supports systems running in different operating system to access the network.
Dickens, L. A., Faries, O. P., Starling, M. E., & Binning, D. L. (2011). U.S. Patent No. 8,065,571. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Goda, K. (2009). Storage Area Network. In Encyclopedia of Database Systems (pp. 2797-2798). Springer US.