Last Updated: May 5, 2022.
Windows storage technologies can be a very challenging and overwhelming experience for beginners. If you are wondering what kinds of storage technologies are involved and how the Windows operating system and its file system can work together to create all of the storage available to users, then you have come to the right place.
In this post, we will dive into the basics of Windows storage technologies.
Storage capacity has always been a huge problem for Windows systems, but now with all the free and easy-to-use Storage Management Tools that are available, the issue is solved once and for all.
Users have multiple options for storing their data and assets in different ways. One can choose from storage area networks, network-attached storage, and direct-attached storage. Each solution (DAS, SAN, and NAS) comes with its own features and specs.
Let’s check in so that you know what you are getting.
Table of contents:
- DAS (Direct Attached Storage)
- SAN (Storage Networks)
- NAS (Network Attached Storage)
- Difference Between SAN and NAS
DAS (Direct Attached Storage)
As a Windows system grows and becomes more powerful, we tend to forget about the storage problem. After all, there is no longer any need to back up the system. So we often turn our minds to new things and forget about the original ones.
Fortunately, even though the original problem is a hard one to tackle and solve, we still can see some interesting Windows storage technologies that you can consider if you have a hard time managing the storage space in your Windows system.
For example, there is now a storage technology called direct-attached storage (DAS). What is it, and how is it used to store your files?
DAS stores all your data right on the hard drive or partition of the PC it is being used in. So if you store some data on the hard drive that’s dedicated to DAS, then you will not need to worry about how much disk space you have as the DAS will take care of that problem for you.
DAS storage also includes the capability of sharing storage space and all the files stored on it with the other PC that is using it. When you start up a PC that is having DAS, it will check whether there is any other PC that’s already using the DAS drive.
If there is another PC using the drive, then the other PC will be automatically disconnected. However, you have the option to connect the other PC again if you’re sure there is no other PC using the DAS.
So this way, you can easily share files among the PCs without having to manage the storage space as this all gets automatically shared and synchronized to the other PC using it.
This is really useful, especially if you have a bunch of PCs in the office. Each of the PCs can use the shared DAS disk drive to store the files that are shared with others.
SAN (Storage Area Networks)
We typically think of storage that is attached directly to our computer and called a storage device. However, a large amount of storage capacity has moved to the cloud for offsite, redundant data storage.
There are two types of storage devices that are used offsite: server storage and SAN. Server storage can only be accessed locally on a computer’s server and is not accessible offsite.
According to Statista, Revenue from enterprise server storage area network (SAN) storage in 2021 is $16 billion and is projected to reach $28 billion in 2026.
But what is SAN, and what is the practical side of it? More companies are implementing SAN storage systems on-premises instead of off-site, saving money while increasing capacity.
There are three possible reasons for this.
- One of the main benefits of using a SAN is that many different application programs can access the storage device using a single, virtual SAN device;
- Another benefit is that a SAN can be scaled to meet application needs;
- What is more important, a SAN can guarantee additional protection against failures by providing redundant paths.
NAS (Network Attached Storage)
NAS is a high-speed network-attached storage device that provides you with access to storage and can be used for backups.
Like a file server, a NAS connects to a local network, but it is attached to the network and not a dedicated piece of hardware.
You access the NAS by connecting to its IP address from any device on the network. Most of the storage capacity of the NAS is made up of file servers and the operating system used.
NAS can be configured as a centralized shared file server to provide all file services to the client computers. Alternatively, it can be configured as a client-server model where the computer’s central file service is performed by a file server.
It all depends on business needs and an IT setup.
Regardless of the configuration, NASes are an effective way to create a fast backup solution for small businesses. When it comes to a Windows deployment, using a NAS appliance can benefit your network.
A NAS allows you to add more storage on a network that’s already configured to use Windows-based services, or it can be used to provide storage for a new application.
Difference Between SAN and NAS
When talking about NAS vs SAN, the two are basically the same in terms of functionality. The main difference is that the storage area network device will be attached to another storage device, whereas the network-attached storage device will be attached to machines.
The network-attached storage device is used to create block devices on the network. The storage area network device is used to attach these block devices to a server, so you can use them like any other local storage.
But you can not modify their contents without going through a server in the storage area network.
Another argument for SAN vs NAS is that a storage area network is basically a logical representation of several storage devices. You could imagine one disk to a storage area network, whereas a network-attached storage device could be as many as 10 disks on its own.
New technologies and new hardware are making a big difference in how and where Windows stores data. These changes offer the opportunity for a deeper understanding of how to organize information for better system performance, better application access, and better overall system performance.
So choose an option that works best for you.