Essential Guide

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Unstructured data storage showdown: Object storage vs scale-out NAS

The choice between object and network-attached storage was once simple, but scale-out NAS has made the decision tougher. Use this guide to decide which technology is your best option for unstructured data storage.

Introduction

Data is growing exponentially with no signs of stopping anytime soon. Luckily, a number of products on the market are designed to deal with unstructured data storage. Object storage and scale-out NAS are two major contenders in this field. Popular for their scalability, capacity and performance, the two storage technologies have similar benefits but they are not interchangeable.

Prior to the introduction of scale-out NAS, the choice between object and network-attached storage was a bit easier. If you wanted scalability, you went with object storage and its unique approach to storing files and metadata. Object storage systems forgo a traditional, hierarchical file storage system by assigning a unique identifier to each file and its metadata. Scalability is increased, as the physical location of data becomes irrelevant. Object storage is particularly attractive to cloud storage providers because of its massive scalability and shared tenancy features, especially in comparison to traditional file or block-based storage.

Unlike the conventional NAS systems that preceded them, scale-out NAS not only can handle unstructured data storage, but it can simplify storage management, boost capacity and improve performance. With scale-out NAS, new hardware can be added and configured on an as-needed basis. When the storage limit is reached, simply add another array to the system to expand capacity. Storage can be accessed and controlled across different arrays, keeping management simple as hardware is added. However, scale-out NAS may not be the best fit for enterprises with large numbers of small files.

In this essential guide, we'll dive into the differences between object storage and scale-out NAS, and how they match up against each other.

1Scale-out NAS-

New and improved network-attached storage

With scale-out NAS, management across separate physical modules is simplified without the need to add filers as storage grows. The single, highly scalable file system can boost performance and simplify management for unstructured data storage.

Tip

How to upgrade scale-out NAS systems

When upgrading your scale-out network-attached storage, a performance impact may feel inevitable. However, with proper planning, you can avoid problems. Continue Reading

Feature

What to look for in a scale-out NAS array

Along with price and available features, scalability is one of the top concerns for those in the market for a new NAS array. Continue Reading

Answer

Scale-out NAS systems simplify storage management

When faced with the dreaded NAS sprawl, users with scale-out NAS arrays can manage capacity from a single point of control. Continue Reading

Feature

The top scale-out NAS products available

All major storage suppliers have scale-out NAS products on the market, but these six stand out for their price, capacity and performance. Continue Reading

Feature

Scale-out NAS vs scale-up NAS

Traditional NAS and scale-up products have their advantages, but does one surpass the other in terms of cost and capacity? Continue Reading

2Object storage-

Growing in popularity

An attractive alternative to traditional NAS, object storage systems assign a unique identifier to each file and its metadata. The physical location of the data becomes irrelevant and scalability is increased significantly. View the following links to see what the buzz is about and how object storage stacks up against other storage options.

Tip

Why implement an object storage system?

Expert Marc Staimer lists nine reasons why object storage systems are being adopted now more than ever. Continue Reading

Tip

Avoid file crawl issues with object storage

Object-based storage and its unique identifiers can more easily search large amounts of metadata versus the detailed examinations required with traditional file storage and NAS. Continue Reading

Answer

Object storage systems vs software-defined storage

It could be argued that object storage is a form of software-defined storage. While the two technologies work in similar ways, there are clear differences. Continue Reading

Tip

How to protect data on object-based storage systems

Object storage systems are designed to store large amounts of data for a long period of time. However, that makes traditional data backup difficult, if not impossible. See how vendors are ensuring data is protected. Continue Reading

Tip

Is object-level storage a good choice for cloud applications?

Efficient search and lower total cost of ownership are just some of the reasons object storage is useful in the cloud. Continue Reading

3Making the choice-

Object storage vs. scale-out NAS

There are advantages to both object storage and scale-out NAS, but does one trump the other? Both are good options for tackling unstructured data storage, but an organization's specific needs will be the deciding factor.

Answer

Scalability complicates choice between object storage and NAS

With scalability no longer a drawback, factors such as support and depth of features may now play a role in deciding between scale-out NAS and object storage. Continue Reading

Feature

The pros and cons of scale-out NAS and object data storage

Scale-out NAS and object storage products are evolving to keep pace with modern innovations. Before deciding which one to go with, make sure to do the research. Continue Reading

Feature

Object storage moves from niche status into NAS market

Not content to compete with other object storage products, object storage vendors have begun positioning the technology as a true NAS alternative. Continue Reading

Opinion

Scale-out NAS designs give object storage some competition

After struggling to keep pace with other emerging storage technologies, scale-out storage has seen developments that could give object storage a run for its money. Continue Reading

Answer

Cloud object-based storage vs. scale-out NAS

While scale-out storage has its benefits, object storage is becoming a more popular option. Learn about cloud object storage advantages in this expert answer. Continue Reading

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