Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Case Against Unified Storage

Unified storage, a “single” storage solution that handles both file-level and block-based storage, has become more common in data sheets in recent years as manufacturers compete to complete every checkbox on the speeds and feeds charts. I see the advantage behind the reduced device count and simplified management interface; however, I believe that unified storage only serves to place ink in a checkbox.

Most storage solutions that offer “unified storage” are the same block-based storage with a software component bolted on to present a volume on the network using NFS or CIFS/SMB. With this scenario, it is not uncommon to get a block-based storage array with a NAS head-unit that provides the NAS features; while this typically brings integration of the two within the management interface, they are still two separate devices—with the NAS head-unit leveraging a block-based volume on the array.

Now the integrated management of the block-based and file-level components is pretty awesome. Who does not dream of that mystical Single Pane of Glass? The downside is the limited NAS features typically offered with a unified storage solution. Your corporate environment is most likely heavy with Windows devices. What serves CIFS/SMB shares to Windows clients better than a Windows Server? Storage manufacturers are forced to lag behind on features and fault resolution as they attempt to play catch-up as Microsoft releases new features into the Windows File Services. Alternatively, some storage manufacturers offer their NAS head-units as Windows Storage Server devices - is this still “unified”?

Windows Server integrates much better with your backup solution than a unified storage solution. In fact, to protect your file-level data a unified storage solution requires Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP). NDMP is a networking protocol, as such errors can occur. Troubleshooting faults in NDMP is a nightmare. Many backup vendors have built proprietary versions of NDMP that mask the original error message. Scouring online discussions turns up frequent posts of sysadmins trying to resolve an error only to end with, “had to reboot the server to resolve the issue.” Maybe I am a little conservative on this front, but I need to trust my backup solution and be able to easily verify the restorability of my data.

A final thought before I ramble on about this all day …

Virtualization is a given nowadays; there are no valid excuses to not be virtualized. What if we virtualized our file servers to increase availability and reduce maintenance? Why would we not deploy file servers, be it Windows or Linux based, as virtual machines that leverage block-based storage? Now, for the crazy bit, what if we clustered these virtual machines to create always online network shares for our users?

Many dedicated NAS solutions include numerous features that are unique and provide much sought after capabilities, but unified storage solutions only over promise and under deliver with their “jack of all trades” design.

-Ryan M. 

Ryan M. has over six years of experience architecting and implementing SMB and enterprise data center solutions. Currently a Solutions Architect at Great Lakes Computer, Ryan is focused on using modern virtualization and storage technologies to reduce OpEx, increase business continuity, and improve performance for customers.  


  1. Thank you for excellent article.You made an article that is interesting.
    Digital marketing course in Bangalore with Live Projects. 100% placement, 20+ modules, 10+ certifications, Great discounts on course fees.


  2. 2 of 65

    Tuhin Pabna
    Nov 28, 2019, 9:29 AM
    to noyon0461

    2 Attachments

    keep up the good work. this is an Assam post. this to helpful, i have reading here all post. i am impressed. thank you. this is our digital marketing training center. This is an online certificate course
    digital marketing training in bangalore /

  3. Very useful for and effective blog for us..I always read your all blogs..
    For any Testing and Measuring Instruments in India
    Leakage Current Tester
    Check here.

  4. Appslure is a high rated Mobile Game development company in Delhi. We are no 1 company for IOS & Android games.
    Game Development company in Delhi

  5. We are amongst the Best Mobile App Development Company in Mumbai that offer IOS, Android Mobile Application Development services that look Great and act Smart.
    Mobile app development company in mumbai


  6. It's very useful blog post with inforamtive and insightful content and i had good experience with this information.I have gone through CRS Info Solutions Home which really nice. Learn more details About Us of CRS info solutions. Here you can see the Courses CRS Info Solutions full list. Find Student Registration page and register now.Find this real time DevOps Training and great teaching. Join now on Selenium Training online course. Upskill career with Tableau training by crs info solutions. Latest trending course is Salesforce Lightning training with excellent jobs.

  7. You've totally summoned my sweet tooth haha! I've never had caramel corn before, but it looks so good . 123movies

  8. I feel very grateful that I read this. It is very helpful and very informative and I really learned a lot from it.
    Data Science Certification in Bangalore

  9. I have bookmarked your website because this site contains valuable information in it. I am really happy with articles quality and presentation. Thanks a lot for keeping great stuff. I am very much thankful for this site.
    Data Science Course in Bangalore

  10. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the good work. I have been meaning to write something like this on my website and you have given me an idea.
    Data Science Training in Bangalore

  11. App Development Company in Delhi - One of the best Android App Development company in Delhi. We offer best Android application development services
    app development company in delhi

  12. The ultimate goal of descriptive essay help services is to provide Descriptive Essay Writing Services and descriptive essay services since descriptive essay writing help seekers lack time to complete their custom descriptive essay writing services.

  13. This article is well formulated. I particularly like the way how you have delivered all the major points about the topic of the content in petite and crisp points.
    SAP training in Kolkata
    SAP training Kolkata
    Best SAP training in Kolkata
    SAP course in Kolkata

  14. Nice post found to be very impressive to come across such an awesome content along with a unique content. Lots of appreciation to the blogger who took an initiative to write this particular blog. Thanks for sharing and keep posting such an informative content.

    360DigiTMG Cyber Security Course

  15. Fantastic post found to be very impressive to come across such an awesome blog. I really felt enthusiast while reading and enjoyed every bit of your content. Certainly, since this blog is being more informative it is an added advantage for the users who are going through this blog. Once again nice blog keep it up.

    360DigiTMG IoT Course

  16. wonderful bLog! its intriguing. thankful to you for sharing.

    data science course in delhi

  17. Very interesting blog. Many blogs I see these days do not really provide anything that attracts others, but believe me the way you interact is literally awesome.You can also check my articles as well.

    Security Guard License
    Ontario Security License
    Security License Ontario
    Security License

    Thank you..

  18. I am highly overwhelmed to read this perfect piece of writing. It has really enthused me to read more on this topic.
    Data Science training in Mumbai
    Data Science course in Mumbai
    SAP training in Mumbai

  19. If all the writers who pen down articles would give a thought to write topic specific articles like you, then more number of readers would read their content.
    SAP training in Mumbai
    SAP course in Mumbai

  20. This content is very considered and well-thought. You are a distinctive thinker. You have put up the unique points to bring up specific points. Please continue doing such good work.
    SAP training in Kolkata
    SAP course in kolkata

  21. Hey, you published an awesome stuff for the tech and computer users and lovers. I just now ensured my entrance into your resources and amazed with the huge information you place in this post very brilliant way. This was so so useful read for me. My walking online was to discover about hugdiy and its variety of custom usb devices. But I was happy to get me into this focus.

  22. Wow! Such an amazing and helpful post this is. I really really love it. I hope that you continue to do your work like this in the future also.

    Spark and Scala Training
    Apache Spark Online Course

  23. It was a very good post indeed. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it in my lunch time. Will surely come and visit this blog more often. Thanks for sharing.
    business analytics course

  24. I am glad to discover this page. I have to thank you for the time I spent on this especially great reading !! I really liked each part and also bookmarked you for new information on your site.
    Data Science Training in Chennai

  25. Thanks for posting the best information and the blog is very marketing institute in hyderabad

  26. This is additionally a generally excellent post which I truly delighted in perusing. It isn't each day that I have the likelihood to see something like this.. data science course in chennai