In this blog I’d like to discuss the differences between using a Storage Area Network (SAN) and Network Attached Storage (NAS). As the benefits of the RightFax Shared Services Module, or as it is more commonly known the “RightFax Collective” the question of whether to use a SAN or NAS comes to the forefront in discussions. I recently found a great video on YouTube the discusses the differences between a SAN and a NAS, you can view the video yourself by following this link.
What does the difference mean between these two solutions for RightFax administrators? Basically it boils down to the size of your RightFax environment. A small RightFax environment with say, 8 to 16 channels and less than 100 users can easily get away with using a NAS whereas a large RightFax environment with 48 or more channels, 500 users and a high-volume of constant fax traffic will need to use a SAN to store the shared files and images. It is been my experience that a NAS just can’t handle the amount of I/O traffic that RightFax creates when sending and receiving faxes. Another issue is access speed to the data files in a NAS. RightFax really wants its shared files to be stored on the same physical hardware (or virtual hardware) as the RightFax application, this is where most SANs shine because the data can show up to the operating system as a local drive and not a networked drive.
So when you’re looking to implement a RightFax collective or to expand your current environment, when it comes to shared disk access: Size really does matter.