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What Is Cloud NAS (Network Attached Storage)?

Learn more about Cloud NAS and what benefits it can bring to your projects.

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what is cloud nas


According to Technavio, Cloud NAS is gaining traction in the marketplace. But we still see a lot of confusion when people hear the terms "Cloud NAS" or "Cloud-based NAS." So what is Cloud NAS? A cloud NAS works like the legacy, on-premises NAS currently in your data center. But unlike traditional NAS or SAN infrastructures, a cloud NAS is not a physical machine; it's software-based and designed to work in the cloud.

Cloud NAS is a "NAS in the cloud" that takes advantage of cloud computing to simplify infrastructure and reduce costs. Most cloud NAS products work on cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. Cloud NAS uses the cloud as the central source for all data, but still provides common enterprise NAS features.

Why do you need a Cloud NAS? The way we work has evolved, but data storage hasn’t changed substantially in over two decades. It’s time for storage to catch up. With the right set of capabilities, a cloud NAS shortens the amount of time it takes to migrate from an on-premises NAS to the cloud. It’s also much easier to manage than legacy, on-premises NAS systems.

A Cloud-Based NAS Provides Significant Benefits Including:

  • Eliminate legacy NAS Systems: A cloud NAS works with public cloud providers, so you'll no longer need an on-premises NAS. Once you're done migrating to the cloud, you'll finally be able to unplug your legacy NAS and end your expensive maintenance renewal contracts.
  • No More Local Backups or Tapes: Cloud providers, such as AWS and Microsoft Azure, automatically backup and archive data, so you can consolidate backup and tape archive operations from multiple sites to the cloud.
  • Built-in Disaster Recovery: A cloud NAS uses the cloud as the central data source, letting you consolidate all of your backup and DR under one roof. Because cloud providers use redundant copies of data and multiple data centers to architect system durability in to their service, your data is always recoverable. Your data is already stored off-site across multiple sites, so you don’t have to worry about tape backups. Snapshots provide point-in-time recovery for as long as you need it.
  • Pay as You Go: You only pay your cloud provider for the storage you need. With cloud storage becoming cheaper, you can instantly scale your cloud instances to best suit your needs and not worry about costs.

Use cases for a cloud-based NAS include:

  • On-premises to cloud backupReplicate and backup your data from your VMware datacenter to the cloud. Eliminate physical backup tape required by business compliance and archive data in inexpensive S3 object storage or send to cold storage like AWS Glacier for long-term storage.
  • New apps and proofs of concept (POC): A cloud NAS lets developers quickly stand up storage infrastructure for a new application or proof of concept project without any storage hardware. Developers can easily create a storage infrastructure with just a few clicks.
  • File services for S3 object storage: Object storage systems provide a lower-cost, more durable and scalable alternative to traditional NAS and SAN hardware storage systems. However, they're optimized for performance with object I/O, but do not perform as well with file I/O and often lack the robust capabilities of traditional NAS filers. Frequently, object storage solutions have limited or low-performing files services. Cloud NAS enables customers to take advantage of the scalability, durability and low cost of object storage. Replace expensive on-premises SAN and NAS equipment, while still providing file services for existing enterprise applications.
  • Docker persistent storageDocker cannot natively share volumes across multiple Docker hosts. If data is not in a volume, the data disappears when you delete the Docker container. With a cloud NAS, you can share persistent storage between Docker containers and hosts. Share snapshots of your data to S3 or elsewhere for use even after your Docker container has exited.
  • SaaS-enabled applicationsThe growing trend from on-premises to software-as-a-service (SaaS) deployments is undeniable. Traditional applications typically do not support block storage or object storage. Converting your client/server applications to support block or object storage requires application development and is usually slow and costly. For legacy applications with incompatible file protocols, cloud NAS offers file services and support for NFS, CIFS/SMB, iSCSI, and AFP protocols with Active Directory and LDAP integration to SaaS-enable your existing applications for the cloud with ease.

We hope you found this post helpful as you learn more about cloud NAS. Leave a comment and let us know what we should write about next!

This post was originally posted on SoftNAS. Taran Soodan can be reached at tsoodan@softnas.com.

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Topics:
cloud ,object storage ,nas ,legacy ,cloud providers ,systems

Published at DZone with permission of Taran Soodan, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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