Should you store your data on a NAS or a SAN?

Making a storage technology may be a daunting task. Have to determine whether SAN or NAS is the best platform for your business requires having some insights about the two products that are currently available for host connectivity and data storage. Additionally, when building a storage network, your basic understanding of NAS and SAN will come in handy. Your choice will impact greatly on how you access your data. Thus, you have to think about the following: speed, remote locations, size, flexibility, and security.

Selecting the right platform is critical in providing the right level of capability without overburdening your organization. In fact, the hardware you choose does not define your network options. Nonetheless, matching capacity and speed criteria with both the choices allows you to maximize your return on investment. In this article, therefore, we discuss the basic network options NAS and Sand and which platform is the best for your business. Read On!

Network Attached Storage NAS

Network Attached Storage refers to a file-level storage device that is attached to the TCP/IP network. Usually, over the Ethernet. Typically, NAS uses either CIFS or NFS protocols. Although other protocols like HTTP are available.

Generally, NAS is considered to be a light technology. In fact, to most people, NAS looks like a server. When using NAS technology, employees can access files on the NAS as if they were stored locally on their machines. While in terms of usage, this network technology is fasters in terms of file transfer, however, it is not as efficient as SAN.

Due to its structure, A Network Attached Storage has limited scalability capability. Besides, it is LAN dependent. However, on the other side, NAS is easier to deploy in an existing network and is usually on expensive as well. In summary, NAS is a single device/appliance/server sharing its own storage over a network. Chances are, in your organization, you have a number of NAS systems already in use.

NAS works best for the following types of applications

  • File serving
  • Peer-to-peer data sharing
  • Users’ home directories
  • File sharing
  • Metadata directories
  • PST files and E-mail repositories, such as enterprise.
  • Content archiving
  • GRID computing

Pros of NAS

It is easy to use. Metadata in NAS is readable and hierarchical. Thus, users can use a simple file system to browse and organize the files easily in folders. Ease of collaboration. With NAS, users can easily share data regardless of the location. NAS makes it easy to access folders and files from any network connected device Low cost. Compared to SAN, NAS provides high capacity at a lower cost. It supports consolidated storage in one place, thus, data management and file protection is easy.

Storage Area Network SAN

SAN is considered to be a high-level performance network that is consolidated for block-level storage. They usually have automated data recovery options, by re-allocating bad blocks in a smart way. Additionally, the network interconnects storage hosts, switches and other devices across your organizations. Due to the fact that SAN is a complex network technology, it is quite more expensive to deploy in most cases since it requires specific equipment. Likewise data recovery is more complex from SAN solutions.

Usually, SAN connects to a network via an Internal Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) or Fibre Channel. In SAN, users’ access blocks of data as opposed to files in NAS. In summary, a SAN appears to users as a local storage, however, it can be managed centrally. Additionally, a SAN technology works best in an environment that requires fast input/output such as a database and e-commerce websites. Also, compared to NAS, it has better scalability and redundancy. Besides, it is LAN independent. In a nutshell, a SAN technology is a dedicated network of devices that work together in order to provide block level storage.

In most instances, SAN network technology works best in the following applications

  • Server clustering
  • Backup
  • Databases
  • Data replication
  • Data warehousing
  • GRID computing
  • Recovery archives
  • Messaging applications


Faster data access and transfer. Due to its high redundancy and scalability level, SAN allows IT managers to access the resources centrally making its management easy.

SAN systems are highly resilient and scalable. These systems are designed with no single point of failure and high availability of switch components and disk arrays that have redundant critical components.


Both NAS and SAN technologies suit different scenario as explained above. In fact, in some case, organizations resort to using a combination of both technologies. Nonetheless, if you are looking of a system that is easy to access from any point as long as you are network-connected, then you should deploy NAS, while our recommendation is SAN due to high resilience, scalability and redundancy level.