“NAS-up” Your Hyper-converged Infrastructure or SAN with NexentaStor (and get hybrid cloud, too)

By Michael Richtberg, Nexenta Advisory Board Member

It’s a great day when you get a deal on something you really need. Getting the most out of your existing IT infrastructure can really help you afford adding other business critical investments instead of duplicating something you already own. In the case of hyper-converged infrastructure or SAN block storage, you can increase the usefulness of these investments by adding full NAS capabilities without adding more hardware by using Nexenta’s leading storage software solution, NexentaStor.

If you picked one of the excellent options available today to address high performance storage like an all-flash array or the flexible scale out option of hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), then you’ve already got the baseline to enable a full service SAN andNAS protocol storage system. Most of the HCI and SAN options available today provide block only protocols like iSCSI or Fiber Channel (FC). Adding the SMB and NFS protocols normally provided by a separateNAS storage system adds more expense, complexity, and hardware. Nexenta offers a better option that transforms your SAN/HCI investment into a NAS using software only.

Adding the full enterprise-class NAS capabilities to an existing investment in HCI or SAN hardware creates a full service solution to expand your usefulness to applications or users that need file services. Common use case examples include providing user file shares and VDI profiles, centralizing branch office file content, back-up applications, and line of business applications.

Some resourceful IT teams may turn to a DIY option like using a Linux or Windows server to present NAS protocols leveraging block storage LUNs. While it addresses the protocol requirement, it adds the complexity of using a general purpose operating system and all of the lifecycle patching that goes with it. Instead, NexentaStor provides a fit-for-purpose storage system that specializes in providing full-featured enterprise NAS capabilities including all of the advanced data services. By simply provisioning a low overhead virtual machine (VM) for NexentaStor, you get a software-defined storage solution that adds all of the NAS protocol interfaces, plus:

  • Advanced caching algorithms for higher performance
  • Lifecycle management (cloning, provisioning, snapshotting)
  • Full ACL and AD user management
  • Data efficiency services (inline data reduction)
  • Full data resiliency (HA, RAID, replication, copy-on-write file system, & 256 bit checksum on all data)
  • QoS throughput quota control
  • HDD or SSD media options
  • Integrated vCenter management and unified management of multiple NexentaStor VMs using NexentaFusion

NexentaStor uses the physical storage capacity presented via VMware’s VMDK interface. The VM hosting NexentaStor turns this capacity into the useful NAS interfaces presented as SMB, NFS or even iSCSI protocols and operates as a virtual storage appliance. A NexentaStor vCenter plug-in provides a seamless integration interface for VMware administrators for a simplified management experience.


For customers using multiple HCI clusters, such as branch office locations, having separate file services enabled by NexentaStor are easily unified for centralized management using NexentaFusion. The same applies for scenarios where multiple SAN deployments may require separate NexentaStor VMs for NAS services. NexentaFusion provides management consolidation, extensive analytics, and health monitoring from a single pane of glass regardless of location.


As public cloud becomes a common option for off-site data protection or extensibility, Nexenta offers the flexibility to leverage AWS using NexentaCloud. Sharing the same excellent code used in NexentaStor, NexentaCloud runs on AWS to create a private extension of your on-premises SAN or HCI systems. Consider the simplicity this offers for automating off-site replications or snapshots using the standard features of NexentaStor. The option of using NexentaCloud also provides the ability to supplement your on-premises storage with additional capacity via AWS.  NexentaFusion pulls all of the NexentaStor and NexentaCloud capabilities together into a single unified administration tool.

In summary, adding NexentaStor to your SAN or HCI systems provides a cost effective, software-only solution that adds all of the enterprise class NAS features you need without adding additional stand-alone systems. NexentaStor provides all of the enterprise features you expect using an extremely efficient virtual storage appliance that simply occupies a virtual machine on existing systems. Leveraging the capabilities of NexentaCloud, we extend deployment options to the public cloud for greater flexibility with simple unified management.

For more information, please see our NexentaStor Product Page or contact us for a follow-up sales conversation.


Nexenta is the global leader is Software-defined Storage.

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Posted in cloud, NAS, Software-defined storage, Uncategorized, Virtualization

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