Avoid Hitting Scalability “Brick Walls” With Traditional Scale-Out NAS Architectures By Taking a Modern Webscale Approach to Smart File and Object Storage

The saying goes, “modern problems require modern solutions.” The traditional scale-out Network-Attached Storage (NAS) architecture has been a saviour to enterprises everywhere as its scalable data management model used to be the most cost-effective model out there.

However, in today’s era of interconnectivity and exponential data growth, is it still the most effective way to store and manage enterprise data?

Much like people grow, throughout the years, technology is also developing at a fast rate. It can be said that traditional scale-out NAS has become a flawed fan favourite in the realm of data management. More cracks have been exposed as it ages, and problems can be identified in the current model – issues affecting cost and productivity within businesses regarding security, cost efficiency, cloud integration, data reduction and tiering.

First, let’s talk about how the value of data itself has changed. In the words of Christophe Bertrand, Senior Analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, “Data is the business and [for today’s organisations] any interruption is costly directly and indirectly.”

Realising that data has become a highly prized business asset, it is now a huge target for cybercriminals. Nevertheless, legacy storage systems are prone to security issues such as network device leakage, malware and viruses, command injection and more. As more and more devices connected to the NAS are internet accessible, cybercriminals are continuously devising new ways to infiltrate computers and the NAS they are connected to. Another problem with legacy systems is that they are infrastructure-centric, meaning that enterprises have to pay more to invest in security infrastructures for their system, which adds on cost and burden for their IT teams to manage the ecosystem.

Similarly, as an enterprise’s data volume grows, an infrastructure-centric approach would be fixated on investing in additional storage infrastructure and point solutions – leading to complex silos and the fragmentation of data that would take more effort to manage and increase the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Meanwhile, the architecture of a traditional NAS did not account for the use of cloud and hybrid environments that are commonly found today. Therefore, companies looking to leverage cloud technology using a legacy system would need to depend on cloud gateways and manual processes, adding to more costs, not to mention operational and compatibility issues.

Data reduction techniques are valuable in curtailing the issues that come with exponential data growth. Although data reduction technologies already exist in legacy storage systems, the reduction ratios that they claim are not absolute. Deduplication techniques, for example, differ in their methodologies, where some may only remove files that are wholly duplicated while others look at a range. Cross-volume deduplication is also a problem as duplicated data across volumes is unable to be detected and removed. Some NAS vendors provide low compression ratios, while some don’t support compression at all. These factors in data reduction are essential to observe and are drawbacks in utilising a traditional NAS as they cannot optimise storage space for enterprises efficiently.

In data reduction, tiering is absolutely necessary, but companies will come across specific challenges that make it all the much harder when manually executed.  Challenges such as having to determine which data is more important and would benefit from being in tier 1 and which data must be shifted to a different, less expensive storage tier.

Moving Beyond Traditional Scale-Out NAS

To overcome these problems, enterprises must find solutions that can go beyond scale-out NAS and allow them to take a more data-centric approach. Solutions such as Cohesity SmartFiles that runs on the Cohesity Helios data platform. Cohesity SmartFiles is a software-defined file and object service for enterprises. The solution is a data-centric one that brings apps to the data instead of needing to move data to apps as the solution provides integration of data and apps in one platform.

In terms of security, Cohesity SmartFiles provides antivirus software in the form of ClamAV, a traditional signature-based antivirus. Alongside SentinelOne, an AI-based antivirus software available on the Cohesity data platform. This means you don’t have to invest in additional infrastructure to keep your data safe. Cohesity SmartFiles takes a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity to prevent, detect and analyse threats. The Spotlight application allows for log file analysis that looks for anomalous access to alert administrators to unusual user activity. Allowing administrators to take necessary actions before something wrong can occur.

When it comes to protecting data against the rising threat of ransomware, with Cohesity, you can equip your business with capabilities such as immutable backups, DataLock (Write Once Read Many), encryption, and RBAC, machine learning-based anomaly detection, and rapid recovery at scale. This means that in the worst-case scenario that you do get infected with ransomware, you are able to recover quickly before any harm can be inflicted.

As a single platform solution, enterprises would no longer have to worry about data fragmentation and the management of multiple silos as Cohesity SmartFiles allows data to be viewed in a single pane of glass on the Cohesity Helios data platform. Data reduction would no longer be a problem as this modern solution provides advanced sliding window variable dedupe technology with cross-volume deduplication capabilities, small file optimisation and high compression ratios.

Tiering can now be done with no tears as Cohesity SmartFiles uses policies that determine the frequency of files accessed and automatically stores data on the Cohesity Helios data platform from your tier 1 storage. The process leaves stubs in place of the file reducing the amount of storage used while still allowing fast access to the data when needed. From there, enterprises can choose whether to replicate them to the cloud or a Cohesity box. With native cloud integration, cloud migration is effortless for businesses.

In addition to all the mentioned functionalities, the Insight application allows for searching unstructured data across silos, VMs, backups, data centres, remote sites and multiple clouds. Cohesity SmartFiles creates a “Google-like” enterprise search that enables fast search results to ease processes. What’s more, with a modern solution like Cohesity SmartFiles, most of these added functionalities are available free of charge on the Cohesity Helios data platform, allowing enterprises to create a truly cost-effective choice.

Learn more about Cohesity SmartFiles here.

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