I have worked in shops where there are a significant number of  high end technical workstations deployed throughout the enterprise all needing to share the same application related data.  Most open systems shops seem to only service one, possibly two platforms and all the related data is only accessed by a single host.  Fifteen years ago NAS appliances became of age and provided for better ways for managing data apart from just consuming it and dealing with both the logical and physical limits that localized block storage provided.

Advantages of NAS:

  • Centralized data management consumed by all hosts on the network.
  • Backups can be offloaded onto other hosts than where the data is being consumed.
  • Component for supporting a disaster recovery strategy.


Disadvantages of NAS:

  • Potential for less performance.  This has been highly debated.  There are trade-offs here in that you at the end of the day, you have a pipe and multiple layers between physical storage and the presentation of a file system in some form.  An example from the past that is applicable here is that of a sound system.  If any component (microphone, cables, sound board, speaker) from the source to the speaker is inferior, so will the sound quality.
  • Consumption over a network is configured by a set of rules for what host and which user can access the data.  It is harder, though not impossible, to manage where that data is being consumed.


The advantages outweigh the disadvantages in my book.  The performance degradation (I've actually seen better performance when tuned correctly) is minuscule.  Managing data is a universal issue that takes good architectural design to provide a system for defining responsibility and accountability beyond how the data is consumed. 

Tuesday 7th of April 2020 -  Copyright 2016 Allan Wolfe