JBOD vs. Scale out NAS

Enterprises using ‘Just a Bunch of Drives’ in their storage environments are now showing more interest in moving towards NAS appliances. The companies which earlier used to depend on JBOD resources are now showing much interest in either file based or block based appliances. With block based appliances cost i.e. IP SAN prices a bit high, SMBs prefer to go for much cheaper storage appliances like Network Attached Storage.

As per Gartner, it is estimated that the over all sales of NAS appliances in the past couple of years has grown by 46% which was just 13% a couple of years back. And most of the storage upgrades to scale out NAS were possible due to the decision of SMBs to dump JBODs.

JBOD is nothing but single or number of disks which are grouped together and presented to the operating system as a single volume. Since, there is no resilience applied in such a storage set up, if one looses data on a single drive, then there is a high probability that the user may also loose data on other drives. If in case the user has no backups on hand, then the data on the corrupted drives is gone forever.

With NAS prices coming down and the demand for JBODs decreasing, the sales of NAS appliances is said to shoot up in next couple of years. Earlier, basic controllers and hard drives were cheap. So, installing JBOD architecture in an SMB was less expensive. But with NAS vendors pushing appliances which are low in cost and are enriched with a myriad of advantages, the competition in between JBOD vs. NAS has turned in favor of NAS market on a complete note.

Appliances such as StoneFly Scale Out NAS are offering enterprise IT groups more superior advantages than their JBOD counter parts. These scale out NAS appliances are distributed file systems which can scale up to several Petabytes all while thousand of clients are connected to them. So, no question of downtime arises when the upgrade of NAS appliance takes place on hardware or a software note.

Moreover, with these NAS appliances protected with RAID numbers in order to attain redundancy, their superiority over JBOD grows to new levels.

Getting into performance point of view, it is a fact that JBOD can actually affect overall performance where multiple drives are in play, as it is more difficult for drives to be used sequentially. But when it comes to NAS architecture, this doesn’t imply at all, as the user can scale out capacity on par with performance.

On a conclusion, this article has just show how both the technologies have evolved and has also provides some very simple architectural overviews of possible usage. The final decision to use either of the storage techniques rests completely on the enterprise IT admin. Based on the application needs and particularly on the budget, the rest of the implications are driven further.

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