Cloud computing is on the rise, but it does not solve all problems. Many companies have a priority to migrate their applications to some cloud service without correctly understanding the correct size and consequences of this decision.
Hiring a cloud service requires a detailed assessment of internal demand, care in hiring the provider, and does not always bring the desired results. Often buying a NAS can be better and cheaper.
Storage connected to the local area network (NAS) offers many benefits and remains the best alternative, especially when it comes to storing unstructured data.
NAS vs. Cloud
Lower cost per terabyte
The great advantage of incorporating NAS storage into the company’s IT infrastructure is the lower cost per stored terabyte.
Large-capacity public cloud services are expensive, especially if company users need fast and regular access to data.
Although cloud storage is getting cheaper and cheaper, the monthly cost paid will always be higher, especially if the data center space is rented for a long period.
The most complicated issue on this subject is the choice between the two types of expenses, immobilizing the equipment or renting the storage space.
Although there are no initial disbursements with a public cloud, operating expenses will still grow along with storage needs.
A NAS server, on the other hand, will have a high initial cost but a much lower expense in the course of use.
When purchasing a NAS for applications such as backup, cold storage, or data archiving using SATA or NL-SAS hard disks, this account becomes even better.
Even considering the purchase price, energy consumption, cooling, maintenance, and other aggregate costs, in a few months, the system will be amortized.
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A cloud server also needs backup.
It is important to note that even reliable cloud providers also recommend keeping your data backup always up to date.
Assuming that the company chooses to replicate the data to another address (website), the cost of cloud storage would be much higher.
If the corporate need is just to have a large storage capacity, any corporation will get more of its money by purchasing a data storage system.
This is doubly true in large database backup routines, as it reduces storage costs and data transmission.
Expansion cost also matters.
Although private and public cloud providers have easily scalable platforms, their costs keep up with additional storage demand.
Both NAS manufactured by Qnap and Synology support expansion JBODs, easily reaching 576TB of capacity with just 36 hard disks in just 6U of the rack.
And if that expansion capacity is not enough, several midrange systems (such as those manufactured by Seagate) can easily reach several Petabytes of capacity.
Cloud or NAS? What is the real availability of each?
Virtualized cloud environments in modern data centers are very reliable.
Most of these services guarantee 99.99% availability. Even so, this does not mean that the data will always be available, as variables such as transmission lines, hardware failure, software updates, natural disasters, and human error will always weigh in the equation.
The counterpoint is that equipment with sophisticated security features, such as storage systems with dual controllers and automatic failover, disks, fonts, and other redundant components are becoming cheaper, neutralizing one of the great benefits of hiring cloud services, which is a time of activity.
Setting up an enterprise cloud storage system within the company has never been easier, cheaper, and simpler to manage.
Dual controller and component functionality coupled with high-quality hard disks and flash memories make mission-critical applications more secure, minimizing the argument that local systems can fail.
Local processing of a NAS will always be faster.
Another indisputable advantage of the NAS over the cloud is performance. For long-term storage, moving corporate data to cheaper cloud services is almost a necessity.
The problem appears when the company needs to access this information (cold storage) with some regularity.
Even if the option is to hire a more expensive cloud service, it is not possible to compare a storage system connected to the local network with a solution that requires communication and bandwidth services for data transmission.
Except for very high-performance services (and price), no Internet connection will be able to offer the transfer rate that a NAS 10 Gigabits offer.
In addition, services such as link aggregation on communication ports and hybrid storage complete the package, delivering more performance than most applications require.
Companies that need agile, collaborative environments, share large files over the network, collaborate via the cloud, or access content such as videos, work with high capacity equipment, and throughput is essential.
A NAS server configured with RAID arrangements (performance-oriented) provides this speed through the local network and can even have its performance compared to direct storages (DAS) that equip servers and workstations.
A NAS also allows you to create private clouds.
A NAS has resources for creating a private cloud and outside the local network, like any other public cloud service.
So if your company needs to share files on any device and from anywhere, a NAS can also serve as a cloud server.
Creating an online file server is the most sought after cloud storage solution by most companies. Saving and sharing office documents, videos, and images among employees are one of the main services of the public cloud.
Big companies want more than that: They need records like an access log, a hierarchical authentication system, data security, and the definition of privileges controlled by software.
None of this is a big problem for any of the services. NAS and storage clouds perform these tasks well.
Local or cloud backup?
The cloud is a highly rated and intelligent service for maintaining the corporate backup service.
Having a managed storage repository online and off-premises is something that definitely brings peace of mind and ensures business continuity for any company.
As nothing is perfect, any user or company will encounter the same capacity and / or performance issues already discussed.
For users considering hybrid use of the cloud, the recommendation is worthwhile: Making a full backup to the cloud is a stressful task, but recovering this data in the event of a disaster can be totally insane.
If your company has multiple offices, backup systems, and data synchronization in a larger capacity, NAS arrays can provide centralized backup and away from monthly fees.
Another point is that this service can be performed after hours, optimizing the use of communication lines.
Cloud storage and privacy
It is also worth mentioning about sending corporate data to a third-party storage system.
Even if your company is flexible when it comes to data, and the service provider is global, public and private cloud services always offer privacy-related risks.
Keeping data protected is not just a strategic necessity; it is a matter of life and death.
Having transparent and reliable information, being in control of the system, and having a response speed consistent with each situation cannot depend on third party services.
Cloud contracts need to be renegotiated.
As good as any cloud solution is, any company within a data center will always be a tenant with a contract to be fulfilled.
And this situation can be uncomfortable, especially if the landlord has information about the volume of traffic, the importance of the system, and the generation of value that this structure provides.
Although the cloud can provide a lot of flexibility and ubiquitous access, it is not always the perfect solution for all corporate scenarios, as we showed above.
The NAS or cloud issue persists and sparks discussion, but there are clear benefits to buying and maintaining local NAS arrays operating in a wide variety of scenarios.
If your company needs more performance than the cloud can provide or maintain/access a lot of data on a regular basis, a local NAS server will provide the capacity and speed your business needs.
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