Storage Options

Safe and efficient data handling is a necessary measure for a business that wants to implement a successful storage and backup plan. Intel® has developed several storage solutions with that in mind. One is not necessarily better than the other; the preferred storage method simply depends on a company’s needs and existing infrastructure. Today the functionality of a NAS and SAN are very similar; however, there are specific technical differences. The primary technical differences between a NAS and a SAN are:

A NAS identifies data by file name and byte offsets, transfers file data or file meta-data (file’s owner, permissions, creation data, etc.), and handles security, user authentication, file locking.

A SAN addressesidentifies data by disk block number and transfers raw disk blocks typically via SCSI calls.

When looking at the two Intel® storage networking solutions, the benefits of both NAS and SAN show marked distinctions.

First, a NAS consists of a storage device or combination of multiple storage devices connected to the existing local-area network (LAN). A NAS serves to offload the company’s valuable data to a dedicated storage location that is still readily accessible by file and application servers via the corporate LAN. A typical NAS solution consists of a server dedicated to file sharing over the network with a TCP/IP connection. Intel’s SSR212MA NAS Storage Solution device allows for more hard disk storage space to be added to a network that already utilizes main servers for other applications. The Intel® device delivers the data to the user over the existing LAN. It is not necessary for the Intel® device to be located within a particular server. It can exist anywhere on a LAN along with multiple NAS devices.

In contrast, a SAN consists of storage devices which are networked together (historically via a high-speed fiber backbone) separately from the existing corporate LAN. Intel’s SSR212MA SAN Storage Server’s primary method to attach to the storage is iSCSI. This is a more interoperable and cost-effective solution. In short, a SAN is a high-speed sub-network of shared storage devices (machines that contain nothing but disks for storing data) that can still be accessed by users through file and application servers. The SSR212MA can make all storage devices available to all servers on an LAN or wide-area network (WAN). When storage devices are added to the Intel® SAN server, they can be accessed from any server on the network. In addition, storage capacity can be added to the SAN storage system as needed without intrusion on the corporate network. The Intel® server is a bridge between the stored data and the end user.

Therefore, the differences between a NAS and a SAN can be highlighted in their main benefits.

A primary benefit of Intel’s SSR212MA SAN Storage Server is that it provides an effective disaster recovery plan. A SAN can replicate data belonging to many servers to a secondary storage array, which can be accessed locally or remotely. Although more expensive NAS devices have data replication functionality the SS4000-E NAS does not. Sharing storage adds flexibility because cables and storage devices do not have to be physically moved for data storage to go from one server to another. Furthermore, the Intel® SAN Storage Server features industry-standard hardware architectures and management tools to further lower the cost of SAN systems. Because of this, IP (Internet Protocol) SANs such as this Intel® server are now within reach of most companies.

The benefits of Intel’s SS4000-E NAS Storage Solution include methods to protect, manage, and share information. The device allows end users to access the same set of files over the common corporate network. Data sharing is done quickly and easily while maintaining the security of having a separate storage device. The cost of NAS devices, such as the SS4000-E, has dropped recently and their growing storage sizes are appealing to small business as a part of their data backup plans. As an added benefit, because the SS4000-E NAS Storage Solution is always available online, backed up data is available for restores at LAN speeds without the need to locate the correct tape. Complete and advanced data protection is provided through support for RAID Levels 10, 5 and 1.

In summary, for a business to implement an operable storage and backup design, it must concentrate on safely and efficiently handling its data. Although one Intel® storage networking solution is not necessarily better than the other, each possesses obvious distinctions. How the SS4000-E NAS Storage Solution or the SSR212MA SAN Storage Server can be utilized depends on the needs of the company and its network design.