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The rise of scale-out network-attached storage

Scale-out NAS is being implemented across the storage landscape, with major vendors and startups releasing new and upgraded products. This guide discusses product offerings and how organizations use scale-out.


Scale-up or "traditional" NAS has a solid place in the data storage marketplace. It is relatively easy to deploy, provides quick file access and expandable storage capacity. However, in order to boost capacity, traditional NAS requires additional hardware, resulting in server sprawl that makes it hard to manage.

The market for scale-up is still strong, but in the hopes of increased flexibility, many organizations are turning to scale-out network-attached storage (NAS) for larger loads of data. Whether you're seeking to reduce sprawl when working with larger files -- such as video -- or avoid costly additions to your data center, scale-out is becoming a popular option.

With an increasing number of vendor offerings in the scale-out market and more large-scale organizations implementing scale-out NAS, it's time to examine what is out there and where it's all going. The links below provide insight into which products are currently on the market, how they measure up to alternate storage systems such as object storage, and what the future of scale-out in the storage landscape looks like.

1Vendor offerings-

What's new in scale-out NAS

A number of vendors upgraded their scale-out NAS arrays in 2014 with the goal of reducing the time needed for maintenance and increased reliability. The expandable nature of scale-out network-attached storage devices makes them a valuable resource while saving on data center space. Here's a look at the latest vendor offerings when it comes to scale-out devices.


Overland's RAINcloud 4.1 enhances snapscale scale-out NAS

First launched in 2012, the latest version of Overland's RAINcloud scale-out system includes rolling updates and an implementation for high-performance snapshots. Continue Reading


Panasas unveils new Activstor16 high-performance scale-out system

With the updates to the ActiveStor scale-out system, Panasas uses RAID 6 triple-parity data protection that increases reliability and rebuilds faster as it scales. Continue Reading


DataDirect Networks launches petabyte-scale scale-out NAS bundle

Aiming at big data analytics, DataDirect Networks launched the GS7K, an update to the vendor's GridScaler scale-out NAS product. Unlike traditional NAS, this setup allows storage to be added and the file system can expand while using one system over many nodes. Continue Reading


The top six scale-out NAS products on the market

In this overview, we discuss the top six scale-out vendors and what products are available now. All major storage providers sell scale-out NAS in an attempt to reduce management costs and data center space requirements. Continue Reading


Smaller scale vendors get in on the scale-out NAS market

Not to be outdone by the bigger vendors, startups and smaller scale companies have gotten into the scale-out storage game. Whether their offerings are for organizations on the smaller side or are specialized products for one particular application, these seven vendors are not to be overlooked. Continue Reading

2Using scale-out NAS-

Benefits and drawbacks

Both object storage and scale-out NAS have proven to be more flexible than traditional NAS storage devices. The following links compare and contrast scale-out network-attached storage with other object-based storage and "traditional" or scale-up NAS.


The case for scale-out over traditional NAS

In this tutorial, experts name some of the factors to consider when evaluating traditional NAS vs. scale-out NAS, with a focus on file-storage capabilities. Continue Reading


Scale-out vs. object-based storage systems

While both are scaling systems, there are some differences between scale-out and object storage. This expert tip covers the basics of scale-out and object-based storage, as well as the distinction between them. Continue Reading


The effect of scale-out NAS on storage management

Phil Goodwin discusses the positive effects a scale-out NAS system can have on a data center, from adding flexible growth to diminishing sprawl. Continue Reading


An in-depth comparison of scale-up and scale-out NAS products

As organizations make the decision between scale-up and scale-out NAS, this overview discusses the pros and cons of each and what products are available. Continue Reading


When to consider scale-out NAS

Is scale-out the right choice for your data center? This article examines the benefits of scale-out, how it compares to traditional NAS and which instances are ideal for implementation. Continue Reading

3Where it's headed-

The future of scale-out storage

Wider implementation of scale-out storage promises big changes for the data center. Because scale-up is being eclipsed with varying approaches to NAS devices, the future of scale-out is looking fairly bright.


Predictions and possible challenges for the future of scale-out NAS

With the emergence of scale-out as an alternative to traditional NAS, enterprises began to adopt it on a larger scale. This podcast discusses some challenges and use cases for scale-out systems. Continue Reading


Scale-out and object-based storage replace traditional NAS for many

The flexible expansion and capacity for large files of scale-out gives it a leg up on traditional NAS, though some experts argue there is need for both. Object-based storage and cloud gateways are also discussed as alternatives in this feature. Continue Reading


Scale-up for storage losing out to scale-out in the enterprise

Although the market for scale-up isn't going away any time soon, one expert argues that with the rise of hyperscale the transition to scale-out is in the works. While not immediate, it spells out big changes for the storage landscape over the coming years. Continue Reading


Boston Celtics VP and CTO considers shift from scale-up storage to accomodate video

With digital video taking up a large portion of the team's data, the Boston Celtics plan to implement scale-out storage to meet their growing storage needs over the next couple of years. Continue Reading


University of reading moves to red Hat scale-out NAS

In an effort to banish sprawl associated with traditional NAS, scientists in the University of Reading's meteorology department have used Red Hat's open source storage software to build scale-out NAS clusters on commodity hardware. Continue Reading

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