What Are the Differences Between Them

What's the Diff? Network Attached Storage (NAS) vs Storage Area Network (SAN)
Both network attached storage ( NAS ) and storage sphere networks ( SAN ) were developed to solve the problem of making stored data available to many users at once. Each of them provides dedicate memory for a group of users, but they couldn ’ thymine be more different in their border on to achieving their mission .
NAS is a unmarried storage device that serves files over Ethernet and is relatively cheap and easy to set up, while a SAN is a tightly coupled network of multiple devices that is more expensive and complex to set up and manage. From a drug user position, the biggest deviation between NAS and SAN is that NAS devices rescue shared repositing as network mounted volumes and practice protocols like NFS and SMB/CIFS, while SAN-connected disks appear to the drug user as local drives.

In this post, we provide an overview of the differences between NAS and SAN, angstrom good as the kinds of applications they are effective suited for to help you in deciding which is right for you .

Basic Definitions: What Is NAS?

NAS is a computer connected to a network that provides file-based data storage services to other devices on the net. The chief persuasiveness of NAS is how elementary it is to set up and deploy. NAS volume appear to the drug user as network mounted volumes. The files to be served are typically contained on one or more hard drives in the system, much arranged in RAID arrays. generally, the more campaign bays available within the NAS, the larger and more flexible repositing options you have. The device itself is a net node—much like computers and other TCP/IP devices, all of which maintain their own IP address—and the NAS file service uses the Ethernet network to send and receive files. Although a NAS is normally not designed to be a general-purpose server, NAS vendors and one-third parties are increasingly offering early software to provide server-like functionality on a NAS .
NAS devices offer an easily way for multiple users in diverse locations to access data, which is valuable when users are collaborating on projects or sharing data. NAS provides good access controls and security to support collaboration, while besides enabling person who is not an IT professional to administer and manage access to the datum via an on-board web server. It besides offers dear cardinal data resilience through the use of pleonastic data structures—often RAID—making multiple drives appear like a single, large volume that can tolerate failure of a few of its individual drives .

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Benefits of NAS

A NAS is frequently the next footfall improving for a home office or little occupation that is using external intemperate drives or calculate attached repositing, which can be particularly vulnerable to drive failure. The travel up to NAS is driven by the desire to contribution files locally and remotely, having files available 24/7, achieving data redundancy, having the ability to replace and upgrade hard drives in the system, and most importantly, supports integrations with cloud storehouse that provides a placement for necessity automatic data backups .
Summary of NAS Benefits:

  • Relatively inexpensive.
  • A self-contained solution.
  • Ease of administration.
  • 24/7 and remote data availability.
  • Wide array of systems and sizes to choose from.
  • Drive failure-tolerant storage volumes.
  • Automatic backups to other devices and the cloud.

Synology NAS

Limitations of NAS

The weaknesses of a NAS are related to scale and performance. As more users need access, the waiter might not be able to keep up. At this point, you might be able to expand the storage, but most probable it will need to be replaced with a more knock-down organization with a bigger on-board processor, more memory, and faster and larger network connections. The other helplessness is related to the nature of Ethernet itself. By design, Ethernet transfers data from one place to another by dividing the source into a number of segments called packets and sending them along to their destination. Depending on existing network dealings or issues, any of those packets could be delayed or sent out of rate, and the charge might not be available to the user until all of the packets arrive and are put back in order .
Any reaction time ( dull or rehear connections ) is normally not noticed by users for small files, but can be a major trouble in demanding environments such as video production, where files are extremely large, and reaction time of more than a few milliseconds can disrupt production such as video edit .

Basic Definitions: What Is SAN?

A SAN is a way to provide users high-performance, low-latency shared access to storage. A SAN is built from a combination of servers and storage over a high focal ratio, gloomy rotational latency complect that allows direct Fibre Channel connections from the customer to the storage volume to provide the fastest possible performance. The SAN may besides require a separate, private Ethernet net between the waiter and clients to keep the file request traffic out of the Fibre Channel network for even more operation. A SAN is a flexible means to deliver shared storage for a number of users in demanding applications, like video recording editing or multiple application servers. By joining together the clients, SAN waiter, and storage on a Fibre Channel network, the SAN volumes appear and perform as if it were a immediately connected intemperate drive. repositing traffic over Fibre Channel avoids the TCP/IP packetization and rotational latency issues, angstrom well as any local area network congestion, ensuring the highest access amphetamine available for media and mission critical stored data .

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Benefits of SAN

Because it ’ sulfur well more building complex and expensive than NAS, SAN is typically used by large corporations and requires administration by an IT staff. For some applications, such as video edit, it ’ sulfur specially desirable due to its high travel rapidly and low rotational latency .
The primary forte of SAN is that it allows coincident shared access to shared storehouse that becomes faster with the addition of memory controllers. For exemplar, hundreds of video editors can use 10 ’ sulfur GB/s of storage simultaneously. For this rationality, SAN is widely used in collaborative video recording output environments .
Summary of SAN Benefits:

  • Extremely fast data access with low latency.
  • Relieves stress on a local area network.
  • Can be scaled up to the limits of the interconnect.
  • OS level (“native”) access to files.
  • Often the only solution for demanding applications requiring concurrent shared access.

Limitations of SAN

The challenge of SAN can be summed up in its monetary value and administration requirements—having to dedicate and maintain both a freestanding Ethernet network for metadata file requests and implement a Fibre Channel network can be a considerable investment. That being said, a SAN is often the alone way to provide identical fast data entree for a boastfully issue of users that besides can scale to supporting hundreds of users at the same time .

The Main Differences Between NAS and SAN


Often used in homes and small to medium sized businesses.
Often used in professional and enterprise environments.

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Less expensive .
More expensive .

Easier to manage.
Requires more administration.

Data accessed as if it were a network-attached drive .
Servers access data as if it were a local hard drive.

Speed pendent on local TCP/IP Ethernet network, typically 1GbE to 10GbE, and affected by the number of other users accessing the storage at the like time. by and large slower throughput and higher rotational latency ascribable to the nature of Ethernet packetization, waiting for the file server, and reaction time in general .
eminent focal ratio using Fibre Channel, most normally available in 16 Gb/s to 32 Gb/s. Fibre Channel can be delivered via gamey speed Ethernet such as 10Gb or 40Gb+ networks using protocols such as FCoE and iSCSI .
Fibre Channel, iSCSI, FCoE .
Lower-end not highly scalable ; high-end NAS scale to petabytes using clusters or scale-out nodes .
Can add more storage controllers, or expanded storage arrays allowing SAN admins to scale performance, storage, or both .
Simply connects to your existing Ethernet network .
Requires dedicated Fibre Channel connections for clients, servers, and storage, and much a disjoined, dedicated Ethernet network for file request traffic .
Entry level systems frequently have a single target of failure, e.g. exponent provide .
Fault kind network and systems with excess functionality .
topic to cosmopolitan Ethernet issues .
Behavior is more predictable in control, consecrated environments .
A central position from which to back up or sync exploiter files .
A place from which to archive files not immediately needed .
When considering NAS or SAN, you might find it helpful to think of it this way : NAS is elementary to set up, easy to administer, and bang-up for general purpose applications. meanwhile, SAN can be more challenge to set up and administer, but it ’ second frequently the alone way to make divided repositing available for mission critical and high performance applications .

Are You Using NAS, SAN, or Both?

If you are using NAS or SAN, we ’ d love to hear from you about what you ’ re using and how you ’ re using them in the comments.