Protecting business-critical information is absolutely essential for organizations of all sizes. For the continued success of the business, data must be protected against human error, hardware or disk failures, and site-wide disasters. Because data loss can happen at any time without warning, all organizations, regardless of size, industry, or geographical location, must have a comprehensive data protection plan that mitigates business risk. We have discussed some challenges of NAS for the remote offices, read HERE.
For many organizations, the default “go-to” option has historically been a network attached storage (NAS) device. When placed in RAID 5 or similar data-redundant configuration, a NAS device provides relatively good data protection for most day-to-day situations. But what happens when a routine day turns into something else? You may be surprised to know that, when things don’t go according to plan, the typical NAS falls short of delivering true data protection.
We all know that to err is human. In fact, human error is the number one cause of data loss. So, when your critical data is at stake, you need protection from the biggest single threat any business faces – its workforce. Employees overwrite data, delete files, or – believe it or not – break the NAS. The overwriting and deletion is probably fairly self-explanatory; when left to their own devices, users make all sorts of errors, not thinking about the ramifications their actions may have to the organization’s storage strategy. Once a file is no longer on the local filesystem, it typically disappears from the NAS, as well.
But another human error issue is one that many organizations don’t stop to consider. Until it’s too late. The problem with the NAS is that it’s a physical device, located on-site, (and at least when it comes to desktop models) often somewhere in the middle of the office, where it can be moved and accidentally dropped. Do you know what happens to an HDD when it’s functioning inside a 20-pound desktop NAS that crashes to the ground? Yep, more often than not, it simply stops functioning. Now, this particular problem isn’t typically a concern for rackmount models, but overheating is. Of course, that’s really more of a sub-topic for the next section.
Like any hardware appliance, the NAS device can fail, putting the organization’s data at risk. Even though the disks are removable, it’s not as easy as popping them into a new NAS device and moving forward; the way the array is built can be hardware-dependent, and it will likely take time to extract the data and rebuild the array on a new platform. In the meantime, the organization is without its data.
Disk failures are an even more significant problem. It’s a well-known fact that all disks will eventually fail, so it’s no secret that any data contained on them is inherently at risk. That’s why nearly every business employs a RAID configuration for their NAS, to avoid a single point of failure. But what if more than one disk fails? After all, most of us populate a NAS with all disks at the same time; since they’re all relatively the same age, it’s not a far-fetched idea that the business could suffer multiple simultaneous disk failures. And if more than one disk fails, permanent data loss will occur, even in a RAID 5 configuration. And don’t take “simultaneous” too literally; a second disk failure at any point before the first disk is replaced and the array completely rebuilt would result in data loss. This, of course, can take as long as 24 hours, assuming spares are readily on-hand; and much longer if new disks need to be ordered!
Even if your NAS is safely contained in a rack in your data center; in a RAID 5 configuration; backed up on a second NAS; and spares are on-hand; fires, floods, and other site-wide disasters can still ruin your day. Even if you use offsite replication to another NAS device, any data that was developed or modified since the last backup will still be lost. Also, recovering all data from the offsite location to rebuild the primary storage can take several days – so days that the business will be down, without its critical data.
Before you trust your business-critical data to a NAS device, you owe it to yourself to question if it’s really the best solution for your business.
Visit www.morrodata.com to learn how cloud storage with instant disaster recovery can help you avoid these common NAS pitfalls to deliver efficient, reliable, cost-effective storage for your business-critical data.