What is IP Expo and what has it got to do with NAS in 2017 and 2018?
Originally started as a simple information technology (IT) trade show promoting hardware and limited software for businesses to house their ever-growing stacks of date, over the years it has evolved into a twice annually held event that takes place in both London and Manchester and is heavily attended by both home and business users alike from people all around the world. WHat started as a means to show off enterprise level hardware has now evolved into 6 combined events under one roof. These include and cover innovations in hardware and software from Cloud development, Infrastructure improvements, International data networks, Cyber Security Europe operations, Data Centre evolution in Europe, Data Analytics and tools to refine it, DevOps and new apps and Unified Communications throughout europe. it genuinely is one of the biggest expos for those with an interest (business or pleasure) in the ever evolving world of data, where it lives, how to keep it safe and what are the big guys at Google, Microsoft and Amazon are doing with their data.
NAS versus the Cloud – which should be your primary investment?
Although the focus has shifted significantly over years for business to no longer keep their data on local machines, it is still always going to be a choice for many whether to keep their data on a network attached server or the cloud. Many, many companies were there at IP Expo to make the push, promoting their services as cloud service providers. You cannot deny that the temptation is appealing. Almost all the providers I spoke with would go to great length to highlight that their Cloud service certainly had a number of user-friendly features, low start-up costs compared with in-house hardware (servers, rackmount storage, cables, IT guy, etc), 24×7 support, faster deployment, worldwide access, encryption, unparalleled service, etc, etc.
I do not disagree with them, a good solid cloud platform is always going to be of tremendous use to a home or business based user who needs access to their data, without the hassle and footprint of hardware. Alongside these service providers, a smaller number of hardware providers were on show. Some much more well-known, like QNAP and Synology, but others were up and comers with 1 or 2 units to their hardware portfolio and almost all of them were at lengths to highlight a similar view to my own – Cloud is good, NAS is better, but why not have BOTH!
Although this blog is largely dedicated to NAS based hardware, it is always worth highlighting that the best form of data backup has at least 2 backup containers in play! If you are backing up multiple devices to a single NAS or Cloud platform, that is not a true backup, as if that service or device fails – your data is in multiple locations and alongside the horrendous downtime of setting everything up again, all those devices are presumably still in use. NO, having a 2 tiered backup strategy is much, MUCH smarter.
Backup all your devices to a cloud, but migrate that data via the internet to a cloud service provider. One of the many at IP EXPO 2017 supported this, as do Google Drive, Amazon S3, Dropbox and more. Likewise you can have the Cloud as your primary backup and a NAS replicating that data daily (2am perhaps when the world sleeps a bit). Either way it this strategy, with sufficient time management and total image backup, your data safety is as safe as it could possibly be. So let’s discuss the highlights of IP Expo and what the hardware brands have in store for 2017 and 2018.
NAS and DAS Storage at IP Expo 2017
As mentioned, though the primary focus of IP Expo has changed in favour of Software and Service Providers in recent years, there are always new and old hardware names present at the trade show promoting their wares. Below are a few highlights from those old and new faces that stood out to me:
Tegile Systems is pioneering a new generation of persistent-memory storage solutions that deliver exceptional performance and economics for a wide range of enterprise applications. With Tegile’s line of unified all-flash and hybrid storage arrays, enterprise customers are transforming their lines of business by consolidating and accelerating applications for transaction processing, analytics, databases, virtualization and file services.
The company now branded under HGST was acquired by Western Digital and are able to store both Big Data and Fast Data on a single storage platform. Tegile flash storage systems also natively support SAN (iSCSI, Fibre Channel) and NAS (NFS, and SMB 3.0) storage protocols, creating true unified storage. Run your entire business at the speed of memory. Tegile arrays combine persistent memory with high-density storage to deliver the fastest performance at an incredibly low-cost per Gigabyte.
QNAP have been a little quiet on the hardware front for the last few months, choosing to promote a lot of their NAS devices earlier in the year and highlighting their software improvements and new apps throughout the summer. This has changed significantly in the last month and at the Expo with their showing of a couple of really up and coming NAS devices for 2017 and 2018. The biggest focus points for me were the appearance of the AMD Ryzen powered TS-877 8 Bay (6x HDD and 2x SSD) Gold series NAS and the hopefully-soon-to-be-released QNAP TS-453BT3 4-Bay Thunderbolt NAS. Both of these units were heavily featured at the first half of the year and it is great to see them receiving much more exposure now. Alongside these we saw a lot of the other popular mid-range to enterprise level NAS devices and even the rather quirky TVS-882BRT3 was there – the both optical bay and Thunderbolt 3 enabled NAS device.
Always a recognized name in encrypted data, iStorage has been taking advantage of growing capacities in HDD and SSD, but upgrading their 2017 DiscAshur series with bigger and better storage. Luckily these drives all still include some truly breathtaking levels of military grade protection, as well as in many cases arriving very well protected. Products arrived in a large range of capacities and physical size and with concerns over data security, hacks and protection at an all time high, it is nice to see a company like iStorage continue to produce possible the safest external HDD in the world!
Already featured here on NASCompares and on our YouTube channel, they always get a fine seal of approval from me as there are few companies out there that can complete on the sheer depth of knowledge available in the iStorage team
Although they have really been promoting themselves at their own Synology 2018 London event and continuing to do so worldwide at the moment, it is certainly apparent that they still have more to say on both software and hardware. We saw more mentions and hands on demonstrations of their updated office, communication and file control applications, with many team members on hand to guide hands as needed. Unlike the guys at QNAP who focused more on hardware, Synology used IP Expo to give a greater focus on their new software advances. They had several bits of ’17 and ’18 series kit on show, but the real point of interest for me was the DSM 6.2 Beta that was available for experimentation. Running from a DS916+, the new software update already featured new programs featured at their previous event, such as the vastly improved Chat 2.0, Synology Moments picture arrangement/sorting application and Synology Drive – their one access, open all tool for Synology NAS users that give them the kind of simple fluidity that the likes of Google Drive offer to their 3rd party cloud providers. THey indicated that a Synology DSM 6.2 public beta is due very soon indeed and I am genuinely looking forward to seeing how synology NAS users take to this smart-media collection application
Scale Computing at IP Expo
A company I had yet to encounter till today was Scale Computing, which integrates storage, servers, and virtualization software into an all-in-one appliance-based system that is scalable, self-healing, and as easy to manage as a single server. Using industry standard components, the HC3 appliances install in under an hour, and can be expanded and upgraded with no downtime. High availability insulates the user from any disk or server failure and a unified management capability driven by the patented HyperCore Software™, efficiently integrates all functionality. The result is a data centre solution that reduces operational complexity, allows a faster response to business issues, and dramatically reduces costs.
This fast acting deployment and reduced cost thanks to the combining of services by combining the servers, storage and virtualization into a single architecture, they remove the complexity associated with traditional virtualization deployments.
Rarely featured here on NASCompares, Buffalo always seems to fall short of the top-tier NAS server providers. The majority of these shortfalls have been due to poor UK distribution, Hardware heavy-software light history and never quite breaking through the market coverage of the likes fo Synology, QNAP and Drobo, However big changes appear to be afoot with them and a mixture of software improvements and new SMB units greated me at their stand. For a start there was a nice balance between NAS and DAS. The Terrastation and Linkstation series were very much in evidence and available to play with. Their software, which may appear a little bare bones, is designed with simplicity and 1st party applications in mind. Alongside this there was an improved range of USB Encrypted DAS devices that featured rather business based advantages like military grade hardware encryption and more. Likewise the safety of the data on your Buffalo NAS arrives with an impressive optional fail safe switch in the operating system. If you delve into the software menu, you will find the option for the device to completely encrypt itself, preventing ALL connections to the data, if the login is incorrect three more times. upon the third incorrect attempt, the system fully encrypts the contents of the Buffalo NAS and then prevents any access (even admin). Neat little add ons like these are things that even the big boys at Synology and QNAP could introduce.
A brand a had little or no interaction with until today was Lenovo. A manufacturer with an already long history in hardware, they promise easy-to-use, affordable network-attached storage (NAS) with advanced capabilities to integrate into your existing infrastructure, or start a new one. Built on ThinkServer innovation, features Windows Storage Server devices, traditional NAS devices in both rackmount and desktop and large-scale SAN solutions as needed.
Lenovo tower servers deliver powerful performance and versatile storage configurations in a small footprint for SMBs to large institutions. Upon further research, they seemingly provided the reliability you expect from a data center class device, as well as delivered in a package optimized for office environments. I hope you will be hearing about them more on NASCompares in the coming weeks.