What is NAS?
Network Attached Storage (NAS) refers to storage that can be accessed from different devices over a network. NAS environments have gained prominence for file-based workloads because they provide a hierarchical structure of directories and folders that makes it easier to organize and find files. Many enterprise applications today are file-based, and use files stored in a NAS as their data repositories.
What is Cloud NAS?
Cloud NAS is a relatively new term – it refers to a cloud-based storage solution to store and manage files. Cloud NAS or cloud file storage is gaining prominence in 2020 and several vendors have recently released cloud NAS offerings.
Cloud NAS Access Protocols
Why is Cloud NAS gaining in importance?
While the cloud was initially used by DevOps teams for new cloud-native applications that were largely Object-based, the cloud is now seen as a major destination for core enterprise applications. These enterprise workloads are largely file-based, and so moving them to the cloud without rewriting the application means file-based workloads need to be able to run in the cloud.
To address this need, both cloud vendors and third-party storage providers are now creating cloud based NAS offerings. Here are some examples of cloud NAS offerings:
- AWS Elastic File System (EFS) – A file system by AWS that runs the NFS protocol.
- AWS FSx – Windows File Server running on AWS, for SMB based workloads
- NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP (CVO) – NetApp ONTAP based file system on AWS, Azure and Google
- Qumulo Cloud NAS – Qumulo NFS and SMB running in the cloud
- Azure NetApp Files – High-performance NFS based file storage running NetApp in the Azure cloud
Cloud NAS Tiers
Cloud NAS storage is often designed for high-performance file workloads and its high performance Flash tier can be very expensive.
Many Cloud NAS offerings such as AWS EFS and NetApp CloudVolumes ONTAP do offer some less expensive file tiers – but putting data in these lower tiers requires some data management solution. As an example, the standard tier of AWS EFS is 10 times more expensive than the standard tier of AWS S3. Furthermore, when you use a Cloud NAS, you may also have to replicate and backup the data, which can often make it three times more expensive. As this data becomes inactive and cold, it is very important to manage data lifecycle on Cloud NAS to ensure you are only paying for what you use and not for dormant cold data on expensive tiers.
Intelligent Data Archiving and Intelligent Tiering for Cloud NAS
An analytics driven data management solution can help you get the right data onto your cloud NAS and keep your cloud NAS costs low by managing the data lifecycle with intelligent archiving and intelligent tiering.
As an example, Komprise Intelligent Data Management for Multi-cloud does the following:
- Analyzes your on-premises NAS data so you can pick the data sets you want to migrate to the cloud
- Migrates on-premises NAS data to your cloud NAS with speed, reliability and efficiency
- Analyzes data on your cloud NAS to show you how data is getting cold and inactive
- Enables policy-based automation so you can decide when data should be archived and tiered from expensive Cloud NAS tiers to lower cost file or object classes
- Monitors ongoing costs to ensure you avoid expensive retrieval fees when cold data becomes hot again
- Eliminates expensive backup and DR costs of cold data on cloud NAS