What Is Scale-Out NAS?
Scale-out network-attached storage (NAS) addresses the explosive growth of structured and unstructured data and the 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. The dynamic data center is able to quickly commission and decommission applications, provision and reprovision resources, and nondisruptively 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 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 easily be 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, nondisruptive 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 and eliminate management complexity by 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's time to evaluate scale-out vs. scale-up storage architectures. Scale-up is 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 addresses 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, because adding nodes is nondisruptive, adding capacity and performance to the array doesn't require downtime.
Scale-Out NAS vs. Object Storage
Object storage gained popularity with its method for storing data, metadata, and a unique identifier. This method was ideal for unstructured data that is written but not read. And because of the unique identifier, the physical location of data was no longer important, making it is easy to support geographically distributed back-end storage clusters. However, object storage was not designed as a replacement for transactional data; it does not support the locking and sharing mechanisms needed to maintain a single accurately updated version of a file.
Scale-out NAS blends the benefits of both traditional NAS and object storage. Using a single namespace, scale-out NAS provides a highly scalable file system that enhances performance and simplifies management for both structured and unstructured data storage.
Scale-out NAS simplifies storage management, increases capacity, and improves performance. Capacity can be easily added and configured nondisruptively, as needed.