Breaking the Never-ending NAS Buying Cycle

August 30, 2022By Daniel Collins

Network-Attached Storage (NAS) has become the de facto standard for providing cost-effective centralized file storage and content-sharing on-premises. But what happens when your local NAS reaches storage capacity? You buy another NAS, of course. And when that one fills up faster than the one before? Well, that signpost up ahead isn’t for the Twilight Zone. It’s worse. You’ve entered the never-ending NAS buying cycle.

What is NAS, and what is it used for?

Most IT managers and storage administrators know that when it comes to storing data on-premises, the big brand-name server manufacturers are typically the way to go. But what if you don’t want to spend that money on storage infrastructure or invest in the IT manpower necessary to manage and maintain a storage server? Many small businesses opt for NAS as a lower-cost alternative to servers. Large enterprises typically leverage NAS as a quick-and-easy option for adding storage capacity or for particular use cases, such as video surveillance or backup drives.

While not as performant or scalable as a server storage array, a NAS is straightforward to get up and running–users simply plug in the power and Ethernet cable, follow the software setup wizard, and are up and running in minutes. NAS works by storing unstructured data like audio, video, and emails in a file-based format that users can access and share over the network. Some NAS devices are built with specific features, such as additional security or redundancy for enterprise-level use, while others are designed for home office use. A NAS device can contain one or more storage drives depending upon the implementation.

Entering the never-ending NAS buying cycle

File systems and storage are popular because they are easy to implement and understand. They have hierarchical indexes containing folders, subfolders, and files that end-users are accustomed to. However, file-level NAS systems become more costly and challenging to manage, and performance decreases as the number of files increases. When an on-premises NAS environment runs out of capacity, it forces you to choose between deleting data or purchasing additional NAS storage. When your new NAS reaches capacity, the dilemma of deleting data or buying more storage begins again and again, and again.

Managing data storage growth is a challenge every organization faces. That’s because the amount of data companies generate goes only one way. Up. And there are significant costs associated with purchasing, maintaining, and managing on-premises storage.

Cloud NAS: File storage meets cloud economies of scale

Breaking the cycle doesn’t mean starting from scratch or giving up your on-premises NAS. It means extending your definition of NAS to include cloud object storage. Object storage is the ideal solution for storing unstructured data at scale. Object storage avoids the sizing limitations of hierarchical storage architectures by storing file data and metadata together in a single container with a unique, global identifier. On top of that, the cloud storage consumption model enables organizations to quickly add storage as needed, only paying for what they use.

Cloud NAS combines the ease of use of the NAS file format with the unlimited scalability of cloud-based object storage. The resulting hybrid solution significantly drives down costs and extends the life and capacity of your on-premises NAS by offloading infrequently accessed data to the cloud. If you pick the right cloud service, you can even offload and access warm data without delays or extra fees for egress.

Free up capacity in your existing NAS

Hot data is considered active data often accessed by users and applications. Data is almost always hot when first created, but the vast majority of data cools quickly. Studies show that data that has not been accessed after 90 days is rarely accessed again. In fact, 80 percent of unstructured data stored in a typical organization’s on-premises data center are considered cold and can be offloaded to cloud object storage, freeing up capacity for additional growth.

Beyond extending the life of your NAS, Cloud NAS is an effective addition to your multi-layered data protection plan, offering immediate restores in the event of accidental deletions, malware, or mitigation in the event of a ransomware attack. If your local, on-premises storage fails, the replacement hardware can be repopulated with file stubs from the cloud within minutes. There is no need to wait for all files to be restored. Users can begin accessing their data almost immediately. Cloud NAS services that offer immutable storage add an extra layer of protection by effectively “locking” all files from being accessed, modified, or deleted for a predetermined amount of time. If your local files are deleted or encrypted by a successful ransomware attack, the files in your Cloud NAS are perfectly safe. No one can accidentally or maliciously destroy or alter data stored using a Cloud NAS with immutable buckets or object lock features.

Wasabi Cloud NAS is immutable hot cloud storage

Wasabi Cloud NAS is a software application that end-user customers install on a local Windows Server or PC and pair with a target storage bucket in the Wasabi cloud. Organizations using Wasabi Cloud NAS can automatically set policies to determine which files to move to the cloud. This can be done when on-premises storage capacity hits a specific capacity limit or when files have not been accessed in a certain amount of time. In fact, the breakthrough price-performance of Wasabi hot cloud storage makes it possible for organizations to move all of their data to the cloud as soon as it is saved.

Every terabyte removed from existing primary storage and the associated backup environment generates actual savings by delaying the substantial cost of adding additional primary and secondary storage. This includes not just the hardware cost but also the licensing and maintenance costs, network costs, energy costs, and datacenter costs. Additionally, nearly all organizations today protect their primary storage with a backup solution. When data is removed from primary storage, there is less data on the primary tier to back up, meaning less backup hardware, software, energy, and datacenter costs.

Cloud storage eliminates the mundane and time-consuming tasks of storage management that add little to no value to an organization’s core business focus. Storage array installs, firmware patches and updates, hardware refreshes, data migrations, and similar storage activities drain organizations of precious IT resources.

Wasabi takes the stress out of storage management. It offers organizations the availability, capacity, durability, performance, reliability, and scalability they require, while removing the hidden and overlooked time and costs associated with managing it.

Related Resources:

To learn more about Wasabi Cloud NAS and how to break the never-ending buying cycle, register for our upcoming webinar: The Best of Both Worlds: Combining File and Cloud Object Storage

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