NAS Performance is HOT

By Jim Bahn, Senior Director of Product Marketing


As the long-time gold standard in SAN performance monitoring, Virtual Instruments just recently got into the NAS space.   And even MORE recently, our NAS Probe won Gold in the SearchStorage/Storage Magazine Product of the Year Storage and SAN Management Tools Category.  We knew that there was some pent up demand because our customers told us so.  But I’m surprised at the tremendous level of interest in NAS performance.  A few of us figured that if someone was really interested in performance, they’d probably be using block access and specifically, Fibre Channel.  And a look at Google Trends bears this out … for every search on “NAS performance” there are approximately 4 searches for “SAN performance”.

But as a marketing guy, I’m always looking to see where people are landing on our website.  Within a couple of months of announcing our support for NAS, our NAS Performance landing page is our #3 most visited page, and the #1 product page.  And we’re getting a ton of requests for demos.

So I asked around and discovered that NAS environments aren’t so different as I thought.  The issues people have with SAN performance … access errors, flow control, permissions, and resource bullies, exist in NAS.  Of course, there are a lot of monitors out there for NAS, so why are there still problems?

Why?  Probably the same two reasons that exist in SAN.  First, performance troubleshooting is usually hard, and it’s often easier to throw hardware at the problem … faster hosts, bigger pipes, faster media, bigger caches, etc. Second, performance problems are really hard to find with today’s tools, and flash media has only served to expose the real bottlenecks.  You can find a lot of problems with today’s software monitors, but they simply aren’t granular enough to find the toughest problems.  So people continue to search for solutions.

I’ll continue this thread in future blogs, as we uncover the most common NAS performance problems and how to uncover them.