DAS: Still Useful After All These Years

DAS

In the nascent days of corporate computing, there was only one kind of storage configuration—hard drives within workstations and servers or hard drives in enclosures that were directly connected to workstations and servers. Being the only storage architecture, this approach did not warrant a name. But networks and applications grew larger and more complex, and network-attached storage (NAS) and storage area networks (SANs) emerged to meet the needs. These advances in storage prompted the initial configuration to be named—direct-attached storage (DAS). NAS allows multiple devices across a network to access a storage platform and SANs provide multiple networked devices with block-level access to multiple storage platforms. Both have proven very useful in enterprise networks, but DAS can still play an important role for organizations.

DAS can offer some performance benefits because the server does not need to cross the network for reads and writes. This makes DAS useful for supporting demanding applications like Microsoft Exchange, audio and video streaming, digital video recording, and media servers. Another advantage is DAS is much simpler to deploy and maintain than NAS or SANs. NAS and SANs require network planning and the acquisition and installation of gear like switches, routers, cabling, and connections. By avoiding these costs and complexities, DAS remains a viable choice for small businesses or for branch offices where only one physical server is deployed.

A knock on DAS is its limited scalability, but using a RAID array for the storage platform can deliver substantial storage capacity. Well-engineered RAID solutions offer much of the fault tolerance, availability, and data protection provided by NAS and SANs with such features as disk, controller, and cooling redundancy. Moreover, they allow JBODs to be connected to them, greatly increasing capacity. The bottom line is when storage does not need to be shared or virtualized, DAS, particularly when anchored by RAID platforms, offers a cost-effective solution that is easy to own and manage.

HYBRID FLASH STORAGE

HYBRID FLASH STORAGE

Flash Hybrid Storage

IT departments are struggling to keep up with the massive growth in data as well as the complexity in the types of data stored. From digital text files, to videos to machine-generated data, a storage solution has to be able to handle not just the volume, but the variety of data. With all of that data, inevitably there becomes the IO (input/output) bottleneck.

Flash technology is the most widely accepted solution for addressing the IO bottleneck, but even Flash arrays differ greatly. Depending on your business needs, investing in server-side flash or all-flash arrays can be justifiable, but is generally at a much steeper price.

That’s where the hybrid flash storage solution comes into play. For businesses looking for low latency, high IOPs performance, and high storage capacity, a hybrid flash fits the bill. The top advantages of a hybrid-flash solution include:

1. Cost

2. Performance

3. Reliability and error reduction

4. Data protection

5. Scalability

Hybrid flash arrays benefit many environments by balancing performance and capacity needs at a lower cost than most all-flash systems.  Learn more about AC&NC’s Flash Hybrid solutions for your business.