More on Clustered NAS

Clustered NAS is gaining in popularity, and makes the administration of multiple NAS systems streamlined and easier. The difference between NAS and clustered NAS is that a clustered NAS appears to the administrator as one mount point. Previously with traditional NAS, one would have to administer an additional data mover for each NAS added – creating more workload. Imagine having at least 10 data movers. Clustered NAS is often used in very large environments where user demand is high, such as in the “entertainment music industry… uses clustered NAS quite a bit because it allows you to share workflows” (Staimer, 2009). Clustered NAS is primarily targeted at unstructured storage such as documents, music files, and presentation material in contrast to structured data such as databases and application data. According to Staimer, clustered NAS could grow substantially within cloud computing. Clustered file systems enable modular (pay as you grow) storage growth… and scaling in storage capacity (Schultz, 2008). As for cloud computing, clustered NAS and cloud computing “seem tailor made for each other because cloud=based services have the need for massive scaling and moderate performance while being very cost effective: (Crump, 2008). Cloud computing, a distributed nature, fits clustered NAS very well due to the replication nature within each technology. Traditional NAS is usually not replicated automatically (it is an add-on), but clustered NAS is – the answer to cloud computing storage demands for dynamic storage growth.


Staimer, M. (2009). Using clustered network-attached storage (NAS) to manage unstructured data. SearchsmbStorage. Retrieved June 28, 2009 from,295582,sid188_gci1360165,00.html

Schultz, G. (2008). Clustered NAS gaining in popularity. Retrieved Jun 28, 2009 from,289483,sid5_gci1301588,00.html

Crump, G. (2008). Clustered NAS in the Cloud. Information Week. Re Retrieved Jun 28, 2009 from;jsessionid=1CFK3DLDN20MUQSNDLOSKH0CJUNN2JVN

Clustered NAS

Clustering will enhance continuity of applications as well as storage systems. Back-end storage clusters within IP networks are attached via IP storage switches that are in a mesh topology with Gigabit switches on the Ethernet LAN, which creates redundant links. In the event of a failure in a link or server, switch firmware will activate the redundant link. This can happen within fiber storage also, by an IP storage switch being used in place of a fiber channel switch fabric; which bridges the fiber storage arrays to the Gigabit ethernet switches.

Clustering within storage can take various forms. A basic form of clustering can be created within the same midrange storage system; by creating a RAID of at least level 4, from disks residing on separate shelves or DAE’s (Disk Array Enclosures). This will enable a higher level of continuity as the cluster spans numerous channels.

NAS clustering is a recent technology in which clusters of NAS systems appear to the administrator as one mount point. This is a modular storage technology that supports cloud storage and pay-as-you-grow storage scaling capacity. This is also a distributed nature. Traditional NAS is not replicated automatically (it is an add-on), but clustered NAS is – the answer to cloud computing storage demands for dynamic storage growth. Check out an article on clustered NAS from InformationWeek: