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Factors That Impact Remote NAS Performance

by Matthew Mister, on May 20, 2020 11:53:48 AM

Storage is one of the most critical requirements in any business or organization. Different types of storage find their applications in different scenarios, and Network-attached storage (NAS) is among them. NAS performance is way faster than conventional storage solutions, making it a preferred choice among several video marketers.

When you have a NAS setup, multiple hard drives are involved, and they are linked to a network. In this case, there is a transaction of data between different computers, and it is essential always to keep the performance of these systems in check to ensure seamless functioning.

Here we have put together some factors that impact NAS performance and maintain a pristine NAS system with outstanding performance.

NAS Performance Monitoring

NAS has been a traditional file server because of its speed advantage. It is no news that data access in a NAS platform compared to file servers is better suited for network file sharing. With the increase in the usage of NAS systems, it is essential to keep track of the performance of the said system now and then.

The following steps define the NAS performance program that will help assess the speed of any NAS system.

  • Step 6:You can run the selected test and allow the system some time for the test to finish.

 

  • Step 1: Open any Web browser application and lookup for websites that provide NAS performance test programs. There are multiple options out there like Intel NAS Performance Toolkit, SysGauge, NetBench, and NAS Performance Tester available for download.
  • Step 2: Download any one of the applications mentioned above and get it installed on your computer. After the download, launch the program.
  • Step 3: To select the NAS drive that has to be tested, you need to check the “Configure” function in the application and choose the required drive.
  • Step 4: You can select the different types of tests you want to run on your NAS drive and proceed to the test preparation phase. You might have to wait for a while until the test preparation is completed. 
  • Step 5: Choose the required test from the list of Application tests available
  • Step 6: You can run the selected test and allow the system some time for the test to finish.

There is a provision for viewing log files, too, if it is required. Some of the parameters involved in these tests include Data Transfer Rate, Read Transfer Rate, Request Rate, Open File Count, Pending Requests, Average Request size, etc.

Besides, most of these applications even have a GUI module that can show you graphs and charts of the insights. This way, data monitoring and extraction of specific data are made a lot easier. There are provisions for downloading the test results in different formats, including Excel, Word, PDF, SQL database, HTML report, etc.

Factors that Affect NAS Performance

NAS uses IP network, bandwidth, and IP-related latency problems to affect NAS performance. Network congestion is one of the most critical latency sources in the NAS environment. Additional factors affecting NAS performance at various levels are:

  • The number of hops - The number of hops used in a NAS system can affect the speed and performance. As you increase the number of hops, latency also increases as there is a requirement for IP processing in every hop. This will eventually cause a delay at the router and affect the overall performance.
  • File/directory lookup and metadata requests - The NAS device files are accessed by NAS clients, and the process that leads to the correct file or directory in the system can affect NAS performance and cause delays. This delay can happen because of various reasons, including deep directory structures or bad file system layout. If the disk system is over-utilized, you will witness a considerable degradation in the performance. If you look to get past these issues, you must consider shifting to a flattened directory structure.
  • Over utilized NAS devices - When multiple clients are working on a NAS platform and try to access multiple files simultaneously, the utilization levels of the NAS device shoot up and slow down the entire framework. The utilization statistics will aid you in understanding the levels in which you are running. This issue is also a result of a flawed file system.
  • Authentication with a directory service such as LDAP - Bandwidth is a very pertinent factor to be considered when it comes to the authentication service. The authentication requests cannot be accommodated if there is a lack of adequate bandwidth and other vital resources. The overall process can lead to an increase in latency, especially when the authentication takes place.
  • Active Directory, or NIS - It is essential to have at least a single machine to take up the role of a NIS server in any network. The system could face bandwidth issues, and there will be an increase in latency in the case of Active directories or NIS.

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  • Retransmission - Sometimes, in NAS systems, sets of data that do not reach the respective destination get retransmitted, and this is one of the main reasons for the increase in latency. Retransmission can be attributed to several reasons, such as buffer overflows, link errors, and flow control mechanisms. One of the best ways to avoid this is to pay attention to the initial configuration of parameters, especially the ones related to speed and duplex settings.
  • Overutilized clients - Overutilization of clients in CIFS or NFS systems is again a parameter that adds to latency. In these cases, the client might require more time for processing the transmissions from the server. This issue can be fixed by monitoring the utilization parameter facilitated by specific performance monitoring tools available in the market.
  • Over utilized routers and switches - Considering overutilized clients, the devices involved also get overutilized. Such a network takes more time to respond than a device that is functioning optimally. The best way to combat this problem is to study the utilization of switches and routers and add additional devices to the network if the present ones are overutilized.
  • Issues and solutions of NAS performance in the business - It is not relatively easy to see Network-Attached Storage getting implemented in business-critical scenarios as SAN-based storage infrastructure took over most enterprise data centers in the past decade or two. However, some use cases where NAS is imparted in a business setup, and there are specific issues faced here.
  • Metadata bottlenecks - NFS systems feature issues around metadata, and communication bottlenecks are prominent ones. This happens between nodes in a cluster system where access to files must be handled using metadata commands. In a typical production NFS environment, almost 90 percent of the I/O command stream can be just metadata, bringing about scalability issues. This problem can be resolved by finding out metadata issues early and scaling the system per the capabilities.
  • Rogue clients and noisy neighbor issues - Rogue clients can be a major complaint, especially when hanging file locks are involved. This can cause the system to slow down or even stop. Having such potential rogue clients will ensure seamless performance. The “noisy neighbor” issue is also pervasive in a NAS context where a rogue virtual machine monopolizes I/O resources and causes pervasive effects. If the VM density per host is more, then things can get worse.
  • Server/VM latency issues - It is no news that high I/O latency can compromise storage performance. It is pertinent to monitor latency for each data flow from the Virtual Machine to the file system. Load balancing has to be done effectively to avoid this sort, and consistent monitoring is the way to go.

Conclusion

It is not entirely practical for any network system to function with 100 percent efficiency, and performance drops are bound to happen now and then. Besides, not all devices are designed for beyond local network usage, and this gap leads to latency issues in NAS networks. With that said, the best way to get the maximum efficiency out of a NAS system is to monitor the system parameters consistently and make changes as and when required.

Finding the right NAS solution for your business can be a bit tricky. However, suppose you deal in large files and need easy options to collaborate in real-time. In that case, you’ll realize that having massive storage and streamlined throughput in a centralized NAS will provide you with huge benefits over any other storage solution.

Building a NAS setup from scratch is complicated, and you’ll need deep technical expertise. However, you can get it all done by subscribing to a pay-as-you-use model such as ProMAX Systems that offers fast shared storage for video editing workflows.

Get in touch with a ProMAX expert to learn how your video marketing team can access, edit, and save multiple files simultaneously without the need to be physically present in the office.

Topics:access NAS remotely

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