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NAS Gateways Make IT Sweat

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As more IT shops put network-attached storage (NAS) gateways in front of their SANs, they are encountering some sticky political issues, says Randy Kerns, senior analyst with The Evaluator Group.

"NAS evolved primarily in departmental workgroup environments, and was managed largely by nonstorage professionals," he says. By moving file storage into the data center, companies "are finding that network administrators and storage professionals do things a lot differently."

Kerns has witnessed some ugly turf wars, "because it's not clear where the responsibilities lie."

Usually, the decision to deploy a NAS gateway comes from the CIO, he says. The network administrators previously responsible for NAS often "feel like something is being taken away from them." Storage pros, meanwhile, may not be qualified to handle user management on the NAS system--or may not even want to.

The cleanest solution, Kerns says, is to give storage professionals responsibility for tasks such as storage zoning, provisioning and backup, while leaving network administrators in charge of access control lists and user IDs.

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This was first published in November 2003

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