Network-attached storage (NAS) has become a mainstay of modern businesses. A NAS is essentially a data server connected to a local network, allowing client computers to access it for a variety of purposes. Central file storage, print serving and centralized backup are just a few of the ways NAS is saving businesses time and money.
As with anything related to technology, changes in the industry can result in what is considered cutting edge today quickly being out of date tomorrow. Therefore, to maximize the use of your NAS setup, and future-proof to the extent possible, it's important to consider a number of factors when purchasing your equipment.
One of the most important questions to consider when considering your NAS application is how much storage do your employees' computers currently have? With data storage requirements expected to double yearly for the foreseeable future, will the system you purchase have enough storage to cover, not only the storage needs of current employees, but also the storage needs of future additions?
Another closely related factor is future hardware upgrades. If your company is planning on rolling out new computers, with increased hard drive space this is an important factor to consider.
What is it going to take to scale out, to expand storage capacity? Some users have found out that their entire system must be replaced, a so-called “forklift upgrade”, while others have found that it is as simple as adding a JBOD and plugging it in. Ask your vendor before you find that you are stuck with a forklift upgrade.
Apple recently reported a 66% growth rate in the enterprise market, far outstripping the rest of the PC market's 4.5% rate. This trend is being helped by organizations officially adopting Apple hardware in increasing numbers, as well as the rise of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) workers.
In either case, if your employees already use multiple platforms, or are likely to in the near future, file protocols are an important consideration in your NAS network planning. While modern operating systems can usually access other platform's file systems, the included functionality may be limited without native support
Processor and Memory
Another important consideration is the speed of the hardware you purchase. All too often, companies buy NAS hardware believing it will only be used for a specific purpose, such as a centralized backup server, only to discover that they want to apply the convenience of a NAS setup to other functions, such as media streaming, file serving and more. Vendor choice can play a role here. A vendor that supports open connectivity and functionality, and offers affordable NAS devices can make it possible to purchase multiple NAS devices and dedicate each NAS to a specific function.
To ensure your NAS setup can grow with your needs, it's vital to choose a solution that has the processor power and memory you need now, as well as for future tasks. At the very least, choosing a NAS setup that can be upgraded and expanded down the road may help future-proof your installation, especially if you're unsure how your NAS may eventually be put to use.
At Nfina Technologies, we specialize in helping you make the right choice for your NAS needs. Give us a call so we can help you choose the right option that will serve you now and long into the future.