NAS Technology Is Ready For Prime Time.Network Attached Storage (NAS (1) See network access server.
(2) (Network Attached Storage) A specialized file server that connects to the network. A NAS device contains a slimmed-down operating system and a file system and processes only I/O requests by supporting the popular ) is emerging as a powerful, proven technology for meeting an organization's unquenchable demand for storing data, regardless of its source on the network. Three factors are accelerating end user demand for NAS and for a new generation of storage appliance offerings:
* Cost benefit to IT. NAS is an effective strategy for extending an organization's existing in vestment in server technology. NAS architecture allows IT organizations to add storage on the network without requiring any upgrade and/or replacement of the servers themselves.
* Administrative convenience. As a network-based solution, NAS-based storage offers administrative features that simplify or eliminate manual disk expansion and archiving functions, user and application partitioning Separating an application into components that run on multiple servers. Programming languages and development systems that support this architecture, known as "three-tier client/server," may allow the program to be developed as a whole and then separated into pieces later. , data protection, and other time-consuming storage maintenance activities.
* Network-based Unix and Microsoft NT integration. Leading NAS appliances can support storage of both Unix and NT files in the same device. The most sophisticated systems provide simultaneous CIFS/SMB (for NT) and NFS (Network File System) The file sharing protocol in a Unix network. This de facto Unix standard, which is widely known as a "distributed file system," was developed by Sun. See file sharing protocol and WebNFS.
NFS - Network File System (for Unix) file sharing protocol A high-level network protocol that provides the structure and language for file requests between clients and servers. It provides the commands for opening, reading, writing and closing files across the network and may also provide access to the directory services. support, as well as integration of Unix and Microsoft file system semantics to address file system-level compatibility. Network-based applications data can be shared among either Unix or NT clients; storage facilities can be dynamically reallocated; and, after installation, the NAS device can support data from any network-based application or client workstation. This dynamic support of Unix and NT file storage with minimal-to-zero administrative management provides IT with the highest degree of storage flexibility and the lowest TCO (1) (Total Cost of Ownership) The cost of using a computer. It includes the cost of the hardware, software and upgrades as well as the cost of the inhouse staff and/or consultants that provide training and technical support. See ROI. .
Delivering Unix/NT NAS Capability
For many organizations, storage requirements are almost doubling annually, fueled in part by electronic mailboxes (whose capacity requirements can double every three months) and data with increasing levels of video and graphic content. In response to explosive demands for storage, computer manufacturers will, over the next year, introduce a variety of NAS appliances aimed at every size and segment of the IT market. Many will include file systems with the ability to simultaneously support Unix and Microsoft Windows See Windows.
(operating system) Microsoft Windows - Microsoft's proprietary window system and user interface software released in 1985 to run on top of MS-DOS. Widely criticised for being too slow (hence "Windoze", "Microsloth Windows") on the machines available then. 95/98/NT. Administrators will be able simply to attach the appliance onto the network, redirect applications to NAS-maintained storage resources, and assign the appropriate user access. The NAS appliance will seamlessly manage the file security, integrity, and semantics of Unix and NT file systems.
The management of Unix/NT-capable NAS appliances is so simple that its technical sophistication so·phis·ti·cate
v. so·phis·ti·cat·ed, so·phis·ti·cat·ing, so·phis·ti·cates
1. To cause to become less natural, especially to make less naive and more worldly.
2. may not be immediately apparent. Unix/NT-capable storage appliances must incorporate all the network connectivity of their application server counterparts and must deliver performance fast enough to satisfy network-connected clients. They have to incorporate design elegance for scalability, modularity, and integration with other network-based applications, such as backup, hierarchical storage management See HSM. , and virus protection. They must insure reliability and often support fault-tolerance capability. And they must provide storage without imposing additional user complexity--in order to truly serve as just another stop on the network neighborhood The source of network information in Windows 95/98/NT4. See Win Network Neighborhood. .
To minimize system administration, one of the most important technical capabilities of a NAS device is the way it handles Unix/NT data sharing The ability to share the same data resource with multiple applications or users. It implies that the data are stored in one or more servers in the network and that there is some software locking mechanism that prevents the same set of data from being changed by two people at the same time. . Merely supporting the CIFS/SMB and NFS file sharing protocols limits the level of transparency for supporting NT and Unix data and, accordingly, the level of data sharing that can be achieved. Major file system semantic distinctions that exist between Unix and NT--in the way Unix and Windows/NT handle semantics for filenames, file attributes, shared file-locking techniques and their respective file security subsystems--are not resolved by CIFS/SMB and NFS file-sharing protocols. For truly transparent, seamless Unix/NT data sharing, the NAS appliance must include file-system-level capabilities that manage these semantic differences.
Windows Vs. Unix Filenames
Considerable differences exist between Windows filename semantics and Unix-style filename semantics, and NAS devices should provide the appropriate interface to the client accessing the system (Windows or NT) and should in all cases avoid compromising data security and integrity. Within the Windows environment (1) (upper case "W") Refers to computers running under a Microsoft Windows operating system.
(2) (lower case "w") Also called a "windowing environment," it refers to any software that provides multiple windows on screen such as Windows, Mac, Motif and X Window. , NAS devices must transparently support 8.3 short name aliasing In computer graphics, the stair-stepped appearance of diagonal lines when there are not enough pixels in the image or on screen to represent them realistically. Also called "stair-stepping" and "jaggies." See anti-aliasing. features to manage the differences between filenames created with earlier releases of Windows and those created with current releases of Windows and Windows NT, which support up to 255 characters.
Implementing filename interface support at the file system level gives the NAS device the ability to prevent different client environments from creating files with duplicate names, thus avoiding a blatant security hole in the file system. Another filename issue is case semantics. In Unix systems, all filenames are case-sensitive. In Windows systems, filename case is preserved when the file is created, ignored for all other operations, and disallowed if it will create two files whose names differ solely incase In`case´
v. t. 1. To inclose in a case; to inclose; to cover or surround with something solid.
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Similarly, NAS devices must be able to maintain the file attributes associated with the data they are storing and have the intelligence to manage the differences between Unix, NTFS (NT File System) An optional file system for Windows NT, 2000 and XP operating systems. NTFS is the more advanced file system, compared to FAT32. It improves performance and is required in order to implement numerous security and administrative features in the OS. , and Windows FAT file attributes. The Windows FAT file system, for example, was designed as a single-user file system for desktop workstations and does not incorporate concepts of users and permissions necessary for networking and/or shared data access associated with NTFS and Unix. To support the file system attributes of standalone Windows-compatible FAT systems, NAS systems must preserve Windows FAT file attributes for read-only, hidden-file, system-critical, and archive status.
Tim Williams is the president and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. and Sue Smith is the corporate director of marketing at CrosStor Software, Inc. (South Plainfield, NJ).