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Four examples of NAS architecture

In NAS and SANs, are there any "devices" or servers that sit between a client and the actual storage device? Is...

there any situation in which the fabric or servers actually govern access to the storage devices?

A NAS solution always has some type of processor that sits between the client that is making file requests and the actual disk drives that performs block operations. A NAS solution can be:

  • An appliance that includes a processor (Intel, AMD, Broadcom, etc.) running the NAS software and integrated disk drives.
  • A general purpose server running NAS software with disk drives attached.
  • A gateway.
  • A NAS head attached to external storage. A NAS head is essentially a processor and NAS software without any disk drives that attaches to shared or dedicated external storage devices. For example a NAS head could attach to SAN attached storage.

Some NAS appliances as well as general purpose servers running NAS software can also support SAN attached storage for additional capacity.

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