It's the 'iceberg analogy.' Transactional data may be above water and get your attention, but the tremendous amount of unstructured data makes up that vast majority of the iceberg that rests underwater -- it's not visible because it's not used very often. Moving unused data off of the San [storage area network] onto Nas [network attached storage] systems makes a lot of sense from a storage cost and performance standpoint.
Clustering is another trend in Nas. We're seeing companies enjoy great success with 'N-way' clustered Nas architectures in which users can just scale systems as they need to. Scaling is accomplished simply by adding more processing power and more memory, resulting in a single effective storage system to the end user.
We need to think about limitless file systems. There are now 16 TByte file systems, and that's a lot. But now that single files are 50 TBytes or 100 TBytes, you need Nas file systems that can handle those enormous files. We're seeing file systems that can support petabytes and beyond.
And there are other emerging issues. We've seen data deduplication technology in backup environments, but now we're seeing it in primary environments, particularly in Nas. Compression certainly isn't a new technology, but applying compression to the primary and secondary storage is something you'll see much more of. Indexing and search are growing in importance. You'll also see the consolidation of file- and block-storage services, eventually making file and block services more cooperative with one another.
Check out the entire Nas FAQ guide.