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SANs or NAS? O'Reilly Author Sheds Light on the Subject of Storage

February 20, 2002

Sebastopol, CA--Understanding the distinction between storage area networks and network attached storage is a challenge at best, unnecessarily exacerbated by the use of terms that are palindromes: SANs and NAS. Added to the difficulty of remembering which technology is which, network and storage administrators need to sort through the comparative strengths and limitations of each technology to decide which is appropriate for their network. In Using SANs and NAS (O'Reilly, US $29.95), author W. Curtis Preston distinguishes between the two technologies and provides the information that storage administrators will need, not only to make the right choices, but to actually build the data center that meets their requirements for size, speed, and reliability.

Modern data centers have extremely demanding requirements. Multi-terabyte data stores are common and petabyte data stores are not unheard of. Given these massive quantities of data, storage administrators are challenged with ensuring that their data is always available, that access times and throughput are reasonable, and that the data can be backed up and restored in a timely manner. Storage area networks, or SANs, and network attached storage, or NAS, are two different approaches to solving these challenges. As Preston explains, "Which storage architecture is appropriate for you depends heavily on your environment. What is more important to you: cost, complexity, flexibility, or raw throughput?"

Using SANs and NAS is a practical book that gives storage administrators the tools and understanding they need to maximize their investment in SANs or NAS, or a combination of the two. Beginning with an overview of SAN and NAS architecture, the book covers the daily management of SANs and NAS, with a special emphasis on backup and recovery. A vendor-neutral approach makes the information applicable for a wide range of administrators as they navigate the market of competing SAN and NAS products.

"I wrote this book for several reasons," says Preston. "The first is that I found a good bit of confusion in the industry as to what SANs and NAS are. The second reason is that I've done a lot of really interesting backup and recovery projects with both of them and wanted to share the experience with everyone." Preston has specialized in designing backup and recovery systems for more than eight years and has designed such systems for many environments, both large and small.

Whether readers are seasoned storage administrators or network administrators charged with taking on this role, they will find all the information they need to make informed architecture and data management decisions. Using SANs and NAS also covers technologies such as RAID and other forms of monitoring that complement the data center. And, with an eye on the future, the author explores other technologies, such as iSCSI and DAFs, that might affect the architecture and management of the data center. This is sure to be an essential volume in any network administrator's or storage administrator's library.

Online Resources:

Using SANs and NAS
By W. Curtis Preston
ISBN 0-596-00153-3, 205 pages, $29.95 (US), $44.95 (CAN)

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