What is the difference between NAS and SAN storage?

What does a storage engineer take into account when deciding between NAS or SAN storage?

55 Answers

author avatar
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

NAS: cheaper, slower to access, easier to manage
SAN: more expensive, fast access, needs specialist management skillset.

SAN is generally used when you need lots of storage close to computing power.
NAS when you need storage shared by networked users.

author avatar
Top 20Real User

There can be MANY things to be considered here, but it can also be simple. As with most IT infrastructure things, there are plenty of variables that might apply in some scenarios and not in others. Given the limited about of information we have to work with, I'd say it mostly boils down to a few things:
(1) Is this data to be accessed and manipulated by a human user, or by another computer (such as an application server or data base server).
(2) Are the files in question large files that are sequentially accessed (video, audio, etc) or are they "small-block RANDOM" in nature - or is it a mix?
(3) Do you have specific network constraints between the storage and the systems accessing it?

author avatar
Real User

Depending on Requirements & what workload defined for NAS vs SAN
NAS - Fabric -tcp/ip- File Level -Performance - lower -Scalability - limited -Manageability - easier to manage - Price - less
SAN- Fabric -FC Networks - Block Level -Performance - Higher -Scalability - scale up-scale -out -Manageability - more complex to manage Price -More expensive

author avatar
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

The type of usage has first to be taken into consideration.
Most work can be done on a NAS as disks have grown faster.
However, high performance DB should be on SAN.
In the longerterm, NAS can suffer as some users have the tendency to put DBs there because of the relative ease of use

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