‘NAS for Dummies’—guidance or puffery?

Wiley Books and Avere Systems free booklet is more marketing spin than science.

A new publication from Wiley Books, Network Attached Storage for Dummies, authored by Allen Taylor as an ‘Avere Systems’ special edition purports to offer a guide to network storage in the age of the cloud. The 40 page booklet (a free download) describes various levels of storage and discusses their merits and drawbacks. The focus is latency—of disk drives, storage filers and CPUs, which leads naturally in to Avere’s key offering, the core/edge filer. This divvies up the storage system into relatively slow, conventional ‘core’ filer and a fast ‘edge’ filer architected to optimize the use of expensive and limited quantities of solid state memory and high end disk. This handles read/write requests from clients at the network edge. Such systems are required to counter what has become an established trend. Although disks are getting much bigger, they are not getting any faster. Gone are the days when it made sense to throw a large number of disks at a performance problem.

So does NAS for dummies provide any useful guidance beyond its marketing role for Avere? We would argue not. Its discussion of RAID is minimal and avoids the use of RAID arrays and high end network cards to provide performance. One has to question Wiley as to the wisdom of letting such blatant marketing material masquerade as a ‘book.’ But as we have previously observed, there are no ‘free’ lunches or books.

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