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Comparing SAN and NAS technology

I've compared SAN and NAS technology and I believe SAN gives a much better performance than NAS in a database environment.

But NAS, I say Network Appliance's products, provide very good features to meet high availability, scalability and of course its snapshot which makes data backup and recovery so easy.

For SAN to achieve things like data sharing, dual-path, backup etc., it take a more complex system and more cost.

I believe in some high-end application environments, NAS is a good solution for users. Do you agree?

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Are you asking a question to start a more in-depth examination of specific products or looking for a general answer? SANs will have higher performance for block operations and remember, all NAS operations eventually resolve to block I/O.

Functional capabilities vary by product and implementation. In SANs, you could use subsystem-based functions for point-in-time copy and remote copy (among others) or have them implemented at the fabric level with some appliance (usually doing some form of virtualization). There are many ways to accomplish these types of things. The cost and capabilities depend on implementation. You need to first look at your requirements and then do (or acquire) an evaluation of the different products to make an informed decision.

The complexity question really depends on how you implement it and what you need to do. It can go either way but in general, NAS is easier to administer.

Randy Kerns
Evaluator Group, Inc.

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This was first published in August 2003

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