New Storage Equipment Lets Nets Share Capacity

New products are teaching NAS gateways and network file servers new tricks to maximize storage capacity.

Despite the maturity of network file servers and network-attached storage and their ubiquity in corporate storage infrastructures, file-share management continues to be a great challenge for virtually every corporate IT manager.

Even with the vastly improved performance and storage capacity of file servers and NAS units, in the end, scalability can be achieved only by purchasing more and more units.

As a result, storage devices end up sprawled across the network, creating inefficient storage usage and making management difficult, to say the least.

Each file server and NAS unit is an individual hardware entity with its own storage. Unfortunately, when one unit starts to run out of storage capacity, there is no easy way for IT managers to fix the problem. IT managers can move shares from smaller NAS units to larger ones as the need arises, but this migration process is tedious and typically requires a fair amount of downtime.

To avoid the downtime and mind-numbing resource-juggling, many IT managers purchase far more storage than they need. But new technologies can obviate this kind of surplus purchasing. In this package, eWEEK Labs looks at two very different solutions that can help IT managers control their network file services in the way that is best for them.

For companies with substantial SAN (storage area network) investments, OnStor Inc.s 2260 NAS Gateway is a good solution. The 2260 NAS Gateway uses Fibre Channel-attached storage, allocating it to clients as virtual file servers on the IP network.

All the storage used by the NAS Gateway comes from the SAN and is not held captive by servers or NAS units. When storage resources run low, an IT manager can add a Fibre Channel RAID unit to the SAN and have the NAS Gateway redistribute the resources accordingly.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read the review of OnStors 2260 NAS Gateway.

NeoPath Networks Inc.s FD-200 File Director takes a different tack, allowing IT managers to manipulate the NAS resources they already have.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead more about NeoPaths FD-200 File Director here.

Instead of consolidating storage with a SAN, file director solutions seamlessly migrate files between NAS units without cutting off clients from their data. File directors are a good fit for companies that already have significant investments in NAS and file servers and want to maximize their systems.

IT managers who must wring more capacity out of their hardware or ease storage management tasks should see whether a file director or NAS gateway product fits the bill.

Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar can be reached at

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