Gartner Research

NAS Platforms: A Crowded Market

Published: 18 July 2008

ID: G00203522

Analyst(s): Nik Simpson


The network-attached storage (NAS) market is characterized by a wide variety of products from multiple vendors, offering a broad range of capabilities, performance, and scalability. This rich set of vendors and solutions leaves storage administrators with many difficult choices, so understanding the pressures shaping the NAS market as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the NAS platforms and the vendors that provide them is important. In this Data Center Strategies report, senior analyst Nik Simpson examines the NAS market and solutions offered by the top NAS vendors.

Table Of Contents



  • Traditional NAS Questions and Concerns
    • Scalability
    • Application Support
    • Protocols
    • Hardware Platforms
    • SAN vs. NAS
  • New NAS Services
    • Virtual NAS
    • Unified SAN and NAS Devices
    • Thin Provisioning
    • Clustered File Systems
    • Snapshots
    • Archive File Systems
    • Deduplication
    • Global Namespace Support
    • Management Consoles
  • Market Impact
    • Scalability
    • File System Features
    • NAS Protocol Support
    • SAN Protocol Support
    • Performance
    • Advanced Features
    • Data Management
    • Availability and Disaster Recovery
    • Overall Ratings
  • Futures
    • Advances in Ethernet Technologies
    • Open Source Developments
    • Microsoft's Next-Generation Windows Storage Server Platform
    • Increasingly Scalable Commodity Hardware
    • NAS Protocols
    • NAS as a Software Application
  • Recommendations
    • NAS vs. SAN Storage
    • NFS vs. CIFS Protocols
    • Deployment of New File-Sharing Protocols
    • Proprietary vs. x86-Based Hardware Platforms
    • Deployment of Clustered File Systems
    • Continued Development of Proprietary Hardware
    • Future Use of Open Source Technologies
    • Benchmarking

The Details

  • SANs vs. NAS: What's the Difference?
    • The I/O Stack
    • Network Layer Characteristics
  • File System Characteristics
    • Maximum File System Size
    • Maximum File Size
    • File Metadata
    • Clustering Capabilities
    • Integration with Client Operating Systems
    • File System Quotas
  • NAS Hardware Platforms
  • Thin Provisioning: SANs vs. NAS
  • Unifying SANs and NAS Storage
    • NAS Gateway to SAN Storage
    • Unified SAN/NAS Device
  • Next-Generation File-Sharing Protocols
    • CIFS 2.0
    • NFS 4.0
    • NFS 4.1
  • Virtual NAS



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