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Improve performance with a filer

For some installations, a filer can speed up network performance.

Improve performance with a filer
Rick Cook

You can speed up the performance of your network just by installing a NAS, in certain circumstances, this tip suggests.
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A NAS installation can significantly increase network performance in organizations that have large files, especially if the NAS is combined with a segmented network. This strategy is commonly used by companies such as architectural firms and design offices where individual work groups need frequent access to large files that are seldom accessed from outside the work group.

This strategy produces the largest return in situations where the load on the network is highly uneven. If people throughout the organization constantly need to access large files, as in a video production house, the organization should probably look at a SAN.

A segmented architecture with a local server also works with a conventional file server, but the ease of installation and relatively low administrative overhead of a NAS filer makes it especially attractive in these applications.

Storing these large files on a NAS filer on the segment where they will be most used shortens the path through the network between the files and their users and takes the load of handling those files off the rest of the network. It also helps maintain performance to the local work group when other parts of the network become heavily loaded with unrelated tasks.

Snap Appliances Inc. discusses this strategy briefly in a white paper on its Web site at

Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

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Related Book

Building Storage Networks, Second Edition
Author : Marc Farley
Publisher : Osborne
Published : May 2001
Plan, design, and implement network storage solutions with help from this definitive guide. Develop and design successful storage systems using this in-depth resource, now in a completely revised second edition. Covering everything from basic fundamentals--such as I/O components and file systems to emerging topics such as i-SCSI and DAFS--this complete book delivers the background information and technical know-how to implement large-capacity, high-availability storage networks throughout your enterprise. Filled with diagrams and easy-to-understand explanations, you will be able to identify and apply network storage technology to best meet the needs of your organization.

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