Where will NAS storage market head in future

International Data Corporation (IDC) in its recent survey suggested that file based data storage will have a thriving market in year 2016. The survey also suggested that spending on file based storage solutions is expected to increase to more than $34.6 billion in this year and will account to two thirds of the total storage capacity shipped each year.

“This clearly suggests that NAS appliances and NAS software will survive around despite the hype,” said Mo Tahamasebi, CEO & President of StoneFly, Inc. He added that NAS in its diverse implementations will proceed to thrive, despite being declared dead by those who are offering Converged, Hyper Converged and object storage, as it is an enabler for those technologies to plug into existing storage environments.

According to senior industry analysts, NAS has changed a lot over the last few years. The market has matured to such an extend that more vendors with NAS related appliances and systems, as well as software defined, cloud, and virtual solutions supporting NFS, CIFS/SMB protocols have flooded the market.

On an additional note, NAS enabled tools are coming packed with dynamic point-in-time snapshots, replication, thin provisioning, dedupe and compression as well as faster speeds and large capacities. Moreover, NAS providers are offering solutions which can scale-up and out in a fluidic way.

Presently, NAS market is witnessing existence of the following variants-

Cloud NAS- The demand for NAS has made mega cloud providers such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon embraces it on full scale. They clearly see a place for NAS and are incorporating it into their cloud storage architectures. Similarly, the open source community is also getting magnetized towards Cloud NAS storage.

Unified Storage- Two years ago, SAN and NAS storage solutions were completely different worlds. But now, time has changed as vendors are offering Unified Storage solutions which can support NAS (NFS, CIFS/SMB) protocols; as well as, SAN( iSCSI and FC) protocols. In this solution, a single hardware appliance can serve for both purposes.

The reason, why Unified Storage Solutions are witnessing a great demand from storage market is that NAS has its own distinct disadvantages. Means, its right for certain circumstances, but doesn’t fit into one-solution-fits-all bracket-especially for databases where file systems do little but get in the way. Therefore, it is important to strike a balance between a NAS and block storage resources.

Hyper convergence shakes hand with NAS- From past few months, the influx of Hyperconvered infrastructure has propelled a wrong notion that NAS market is going to see its end. Technically speaking, hyper convergence incorporates NAS, SAN and many other facets of storage, compute and networking. But the application of hyper converged infrastructure is seen more in virtual environments and not for enterprise user data. This is where the presence of NAS is strongly needed for IT admins.

Scale out NAS- Companies generating unstructured data from content creation, transformation, production and archives are relying on large Scale Out NAS appliances such as StoneFly Super Scale Out(SSO) NAS to satiate their growing enterprise data storage needs. StoneFly SSO allows users to add server nodes on the fly as well as add CPU horsepower and storage capacity from additional SSO nodes. This linear scalability provides predictable performance and allows users to pay as they grow and to only buy what is needed. Scale out NAS appliances simplifies the storage of media and is ideal platform for consolidation onto a shared resource implementing higher utilization.

What’s in future?

The future of NAS still has a bright future ahead. It will continue to be a compliment to block storage, where performance is not a big factor and easy access is biggest criteria.


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