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Nathaniel CooperOct 10, 2019 8:08:17 AM1 min read

SAN vs NAS: Centralize Storage Differences


SAN and NAS systems Are Both Designed To Centralize Storage


SANs usually use iSCSI or Fibre Channel protocols to connect storage to workstations.  Sometimes called targets and initiators respectively.


A layer of software is put on top of the SAN to manage traffic between the storage and workstation.  Think of it like a traffic light, but for your data.


Most SANs use a 2nd network, often called a metadata network, to separate out high performance traffic and metadata, which is basically all of the permissions.

This SAN type design allows for higher performance as it puts the high performance traffic on its own dedicated connection.  A SAN is typically more complete and more expensive and used for very specific needs


A NAS is a much more common type of network design.  In fact you can turn any Mac, Windows or Linux workstation into a NAS by enabling file sharing on your storage.


NAS systems use native file sharing protocols like AFP, SMB and NFS to share storage from a single user or server, to many.


NAS systems use ethernet, which is typically 1GbE or 10GbE to connect users.

NAS systems are generally less expensive and more simple.  Performance will depend on how the network is set up and what hardware you have.


Nathaniel Cooper

As Chief Operating Officer of ProMAX Systems, Nathaniel Cooper, runs ProMAX Systems day to day operations. Cooper has been working with Storage, Backup and Media Management for video and creative professionals since 2001. Cooper has lead the design and deployment of some of the largest media systems in the world including a range of customers from NFL, MLB & NBA teams, US Military operations, and many of the worlds largest PR agencies and consumer brands. Cooper has spent the last 9 years as part of the ProMAX team and specializes in translating complex technical issues and options into easily understandable concepts.