Article

Best practices make NAS deployment a snap

Meredith B. Derby, assistant news editor

As turnkey storage servers, network-attached storage devices promise to streamline management by consolidating enterprise storage into a central repository. That promise can only be kept, however, if IT managers do their homework before deploying NAS. To help managers be more effective in their NAS studies and planning, searchWindowsManageability asked some storage experts to offer some NAS do's and don'ts.

    1. Do make sure your network topology and architecture is designed to handle the requirements of NAS, said says Parsa Rohani, vice president of strategic planning for Procom Technology. For example, choosing compatible switches and ensuring they're configured properly will prevent many headaches.

    2. Do careful analyses of data volume and importance, in order to plan for the right amount of data to be backed up. If you have a three-hour daily deadline for completing a backup of mission critical data, then make certain you can back up the right amount of data in that time frame with your chosen NAS, Rohani advised.

    3. Don't buy a NAS without doing intensive capacity planning. You'll need a system that scales properly, so figure out how fast your data requirement is growing, suggested Rohani.

    4. Do be sure that your present applications are compatible with NAS. NAS can have different effects on different applications. Some applications, such as Exchange and SQL Server, in fact, do not

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    support NAS, Rohani said.

    5. Don't ignore the operating systems. The operating systems embedded in a NAS may not always be interoperable with your existing enterprise OS, The NAS OS must work with your other operating systems to ensure that data is not put in jeopardy, Rohani said.

    6. Don't mix NAS with "bandwidth hoggers," said Jack Chao, an engineer at General Dynamics' Advanced Technology Systems lab. He has found that NAS is ideal for companies that don't worry about their bandwidth utilization. NAS may limit your access to streaming media and other bandwidth huggers, because it connects to the network with a single point of connection via a NIC card. So, Chao said, NAS is suited to low traffic networks.

    7. Don't stick with hard-to-manage distributed storage systems simply because deploying NAS requires some homework. "If you can manage a computer, you can manage NAS," Chao asserted. It is easy to configure and administer because it is inside the network.

    8. Do plan to have more time for other tasks once your NAS is up and running. Maintenance is easy and seamless, because NAS is, at heart, a simple, turnkey device that is easy to connect to a network.


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