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Scale-Out NAS


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Scale-out network-attached storage (NAS) addresses the explosive growth of structured and unstructured data, and performance demands of today’s workloads. A scale-out storage architecture takes advantage of the superior price and performance of clustered components, facilitates nondisruptive operations, and employs policy-based management for improved efficiency and agility.

Combining a scale-out storage architecture with server virtualization capabilities results in a dynamic enterprise data center that can rapidly adapt to changing business requirements—with the ability to quickly commission and decommission applications, provision and re-provision resources, and non-disruptively migrate applications and data.

The value delivered by scale-out NAS makes it a cost-effective storage option. Instead of overprovisioning from the start, you can simply add new capacity as your storage needs increase. And with streamlined management and reduced data center space requirements, scale-out NAS solutions help to contain IT budgets.

How Scale-Out NAS Works

Scale-out NAS supports heavy concurrent ingest workloads—blending capacity, performance, and simplicity to provision storage. By scaling within a single cluster, memory and network resources are optimized across operations.

In a scale-out architecture, new hardware can be easily added and configured to support changing business requirements. When a scale-out system reaches its storage limit, simply add another array to increase the capacity and performance required by the application. Users administer the cluster as a single system and manage the data through a single, global namespace—allowing multiple nodes, across data centers or geographies to work as a single logical unit, regardless of the physical location of the data.

Benefits of Scale-Out NAS

Scale-out NAS supports high-performance, high-capacity, and high-file-count workloads with low-latency, non-disruptive operations, and superb storage efficiency in a single scalable namespace.

  • Massive capacity without limitations. Build an optimal storage platform, without silos, in a single namespace that scales to PBs and beyond and supports billions of files.
  • Meet performance demands of key workloads. Deliver predictable, consistent low latency and high-throughput performance with the same storage container.
  • Simplify deployment and management. Easily provision a massive single namespace in a matter of seconds to keep pace with growing data requirements—eliminate management complexity using one interface.
  • Increase user productivity. All data is presented to users as if it were in the same location.

Scale-Out NAS vs. Traditional Scale-Up

With the rapid pace of data growth, it is now time to evaluate scale-out vs. scale-up storage architectures. Scale-up has been the most common form of traditional block and file storage platforms. Consisting of a pair of controllers and multiple shelves of drives, the scale-up architecture is restricted to the scalability limits of the storage controllers. When you need more capacity, you must add another shelf of drives.

Scale-out storage address the limitations of older scale-up architectures with the flexibility to respond to changing business needs, contain costs and complexity, and optimize resources. Scale-out storage systems use a group of servers to form a clustered storage array and provide LUNs or file shares over a network—just like a traditional array. However, as the capacity of a scale-out array increases so does its performance. And, since adding nodes is non-disruptive, it does not require downtime to add capacity and performance to the array.

Why NetApp for Scale-Out NAS?

NetApp®NAS solutions simplify data management and help you keep pace with growth while optimizing costs. Our NAS solutions give you nondisruptive operations, proven efficiency, and seamless scalability within a unified architecture. Having built the NAS industry 27 years ago, we continue to innovate scale-out NAS for unstructured file-based data management at speed and scale across your hybrid multi-cloud.

NetApp ONTAP scale-out NAS leverages the massive ONTAP ecosystem, with a significant innovation lead and vision for aggressive future innovation. Every day, we’re future-proofing our customers’ investments by allowing them to build their own unique data fabric weaving on-prem All-Flash AFF, hybrid flash FAS, and software-defined ONTAP Select to AWS, Azure, Google, IBM, and more. Integrated replication, backup, tiering and caching support ONTAP on any endpoint. We’re proud to be the leader for cloud-connected flash across the hybrid multi-cloud for scale-out NAS and across our entire portfolio.

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