I have a small customer that is looking for around 1 terabyte (TB) of storage to be added to their network. I was looking at using a HP DL380 with a MSA30 and 300 gigabyte (GB) disks. The other option was to use the DL380 storage server (NAS head) with the same MSA30 and drives. What are the performance benefits of network attached storage (NAS) vs. direct attached storage (DAS) in the configuration above?

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In reality, you're doing remote file serving over the network either way.

One is with a standard server operating as a file server and the other is a NAS device with the Windows Storage Server (WSS) software installed on it. The WSS based NAS device is the better choice for administration, reliability and potentially better performance. Performance depends on what you're doing, so you may or may not see a benefit. WSS has an optimized NFS implementation now.

Go with the NAS device -- the reliability and administrative ease and potential performance benefit make it worth it.

Do you know…

Whether to use a NAS appliance or a homegrown file server?

This was first published in June 2006

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