Three Appliances Raise the NAS Bar

FAS960, RainStorage, Tacit team push storage technology to new levels.

During the last two years, network-attached storage systems have made their way into virtually every type of organization—from small companies to the largest of enterprises—and several newly released products demonstrate that NAS is becoming more flexible, scalable and reliable than ever before.

eWEEK Labs recently evaluated three products that both augment NAS and push it to new levels. During our tests, we found that each of these products includes powerful capabilities that have the potential to change the way organizations view NAS today and prove that NAS technology is good for more than just quickly replacing file servers and adding network storage. Indeed, these products are truly breaking new ground.

In many IT departments, a hotly debated topic is whether file-level (NAS) or block-level (SAN) access is the best way to store data.

A major player in the NAS- versus-SAN (storage area network) debate is Network Appliance Inc., which, in the past, fought tooth and nail against SAN vendors for the storage hearts and minds (not to mention wallets) of organizations. Instead of continuing the battle, Network Appliance officials have said, a decision was made to build a solution that blends the capabilities of both technologies.

The Network Appliance FAS900 Series appliances give IT managers the flexibility to do file- and block-level storage on the same hardware platform while simplifying management of storage resources. The FAS900 Series appliances won the storage category in the third annual Excellence Awards program, and a full review of the FAS960 starts at right.

As NAS devices have proliferated, a common problem that IT managers have encountered is difficulty in spreading the workload across multiple units. Rainfinitys RainStorage appliance allows IT managers to easily migrate data away from overworked NAS devices and onto new and underused ones.

And although NAS has worked solidly in LAN environments, it was not viable across WANs. Tacit Networks Inc.s new SC/IP (Storage Caching/IP) technology allows users in remote offices to access and modify data using a blend of streaming data replication and read/write caching technologies.

The true beauty of the Tacit Storage Cache/Tacit Cache Server solution is that it works seamlessly with well-known protocols such as CIFS (Common Internet File System) and NFS (Network File System) and so should easily plug into most networks.