Q

Yes, NAS filers are reliable

How reliable are NAS filers and is it necessary that they be redundant?
Reliability is a very general question and depends upon many factors:

1. Physical environment

2. Whether there are other processes (backup for example) running on the filer

3. Installed hardware (HBAs/NICs)

4. Administration

5. Age (yes, power supplies, fans, etc. have a failure profile that changes with age)

On the whole, they are very reliable but if you need absolute availability of data, then you do need to address it with a topology to meet your needs. A redundant filer implies that you are mirroring the data and have independent network connections. This is a very good idea if availability is critical.

The bottom line is that you need to understand your business requirements and then match the solution to fit. Any hardware can and will fail. It is a matter of frequency and time to repair that depends on the individual product as well as your service and support from the vendor. If you depend on the data, design in the availability.

Randy Kerns
Evaluator Group, Inc.

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This was first published in July 2003

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