Storage area networks have been around for nearly three decades now. And while they were initially a preserve for large enterprises with resources to set up and run these systems, organizations of all sizes can now procure and use SAN.
Thus, SAN vs. NAS debate is now pretty popular among small and medium-sized organizations. SANs are now available and affordable for smaller businesses looking for faster and more reliable storage solutions.
But making the shift from network-attached storage to storage attached network storage options should be well thought out. You will need to evaluate if you are ready for the migration. And among the factors you should consider are:
1. The Need to Scale up Your Storage.
As organizations grow, they get more data and workload at their disposal to manage. Besides, they procure more high-performance applications. A desire for scalability is often necessary to support the changing workloads.
You may first want to assess your NAS system. While some are scalable, many others have fixed configurations and are impossible to scale. Of course, scalability is a significant reason you may consider adopting SAN as a storage solution. SANs are easy to improve and will quickly meet your needs as your company continues to grow.
2. When Your NAS System No Longer Delivers the Required Performance.
It is always time to make the big move when your NAS system no longer meets your objectives. Storage area networks offer better performance than NAS systems. They use iSCSI or Fiber Channel infrastructure for connectivity resulting in high throughputs and minimal latency.
SANs have dedicated storage networks. They are not part of the primary LAN and are committed to providing storage solely. The result will always be a higher storage performance than NAS systems.
3. Your NAS Is Short on Data Protection and Security Requirements.
Data protection and security are now major concerns for organizations globally with more internet use. Small and medium businesses are no exception. Data loss will affect productivity and agility and tarnish your company’s reputation. Of course, low data protection may also result in a breach of compliance regulations.
Although you may not necessarily need a SAN to achieve your data protection requirements, SANs will consistently deliver maximum data protection. They treat your storage system as a collective resource with a central management and organization unit. Moreover, modern SAN systems have disaster recovery systems and often meet the necessary regulatory requirements.
4. When You Notice Availability and Reliability Issues.
Downtimes are bad for business, and few companies can afford frequent failures. But NAS systems will always have one or multiple points of failure. And whenever the points go down, the applications and workloads they support will equally go down.
This is not a problem you will face if you resort to SAN systems. Thus, if you experience availability and reliability issues, it is always time to consider moving from NAS to SAN. Ideally, SAN systems have numerous redundancy workloads and effectively support mission-critical workloads.
5. The Need to Consolidate Your Storage Resources.
While high-level NAS systems will reliably consolidate multiple file servers and databases, this may not be enough for most small and medium businesses. Managing data from many data silos is complicated and often a recipe for compliance and security risks. On the contrary, SAN systems enable admins to control and protect systems in a breeze.
6. The Need for Better Storage Due to Virtualization Deployment.
Although there are NAS systems that support virtualization, you should consider embracing SAN storage if you rely on virtual desktop infrastructure or server virtualization. These systems will operate better under SAN environments.
Any form of virtualization is pretty demanding. They require dedicated storage systems and will perform better in SAN environments. Also, a SAN guarantees virtualization platforms with direct access to block-level storage, resulting in more optimal performance.
One or more of the above hints are enough signs that you need to move from NAS to SAN.