Rein in NAS with file virtualization


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As file servers multiply, they become more difficult to manage. File virtualization appliances make it much easier to migrate files and recapture stranded storage capacity.

Once considered an afterthought, corporate network file servers are becoming major management headaches. Complicated file migrations, heightened compliance concerns and stranded storage capacity are just a few of the file storage management issues forcing companies to re-evaluate how they handle this critical piece of storage infrastructure.

Forward-looking companies have embraced file virtualization appliances to recapture stranded storage capacity on network file servers and to perform file migrations among them. However, using file virtualization appliances as permanent corporate file managers is a big step that some corporations are unsure they want to take.

File virtualization appliances provide the following major benefits:

  • A global namespace that indexes files on network file servers

  • Excess storage capacity can be shared among network file servers

  • Data migrations that are transparent to end users and applications

  • Support for tiered storage infrastructures
Operating in front of network file servers, file virtualization appliances create an abstraction layer between file servers and the clients

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that access them. The file virtualization layer catalogs files and file systems across multiple network file servers, and enables administrators to present a single, logical file mount point for all network file servers that's accessible by all client servers. Once in place, network file servers continue to host file data and meta data while the file virtualization appliance provides advanced file management capabilities.

This was first published in March 2007

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