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What Is NAS

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Huawei uses machine translation combined with human proofreading to translate this document to different languages in order to help you better understand the content of this document. Note: Even the most advanced machine translation cannot match the quality of professional translators. Huawei shall not bear any responsibility for translation accuracy and it is recommended that you refer to the English document (a link for which has been provided).



Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a mechanism that uses devices directly connected to network media to implement data storage.

Generally, NAS supports the access to shared files using protocols such as Common Internet File System (CIFS), Network File System (NFS), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).

NAS Storage Features

  • Easy installation

    The NAS storage has built-in simplified operating systems and network protocols dedicated for data storage and can be directly mounted to the network.

  • Cross-platform use

    NAS is independent of the operating system platform and supports various operating systems such as Windows, UNIX, and Linux.

  • File sharing

    File sharing is the most basic application of NAS. An administrator can access the shared directory to store data.

  • DR and backup

    Many NAS storage systems support the snapshot technology in which snapshots are taken periodically for file systems to support quick data recovery without occupying large space. In addition, NAS supports the Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP), making data backup and recovery faster and easier without occupying network resources.

  • User quota

    Different space sizes and restrictions on file quantities can be configured for different directories to achieve efficient storage resource utilization.

    Figure 1-1 Quota setting

    A storage system uses hard quotas (including hard quotas of capacity and files) to restrict the maximum number of resources available to each user. The process is as follows:

    1. In each write I/O operation, check whether the accumulated quota (Quotas of the used capacity and file quantity + Quotas of the increased capacity and file quantity in this operation) exceeds the preset hard quota.
      1. If the accumulated quota does not exceed the preset hard quota, the follow-up operations can be performed.
      2. If the accumulated quota exceeds the preset hard quota, the write I/O operation fails.
    2. After the write I/O operation is allowed, the incremental capacity and file quantity are added to the previously used capacity and file quantity. Update the quota (the latest sum of the capacity and file quantity) and write the quota and I/O data to the file system.

    The I/O operation and quota update succeed or fail at the same time, ensuring that the used capacity is correct in each I/O check.

    If a directory quota, user quota, and group quota are concurrently configured in a shared directory in which you are performing operations, each write I/O operation will be restricted by the three quotas. All types of quota are checked. If the hard quota of one type of quota does not pass the check, the I/O will be rejected.

  • User permission control

    You can assign different user permissions for the same directory. The directories that can be accessed by different users can be different.

    Figure 1-2 User permission control

    Users with the full control permission can not only read and write directories but also have permissions to modify directories and obtain all permissions of directories. Users with the forbidden permission can view shared directories but cannot operate on any directory.

Access Protocols Supported by Huawei Storage Systems

Huawei storage systems allow application servers to access shared files using different protocols, such as Common Internet File System (CIFS), Network File System (NFS), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).

Introduction to File Access Protocols

  • NFS

    A file system share protocol in Linux, UNIX, Mac OS, and VMware operating systems.

  • CIFS

    A file system share protocol primarily used in the Windows operating system.

  • FTP

    A member of the TCP/IP suite of protocols, used to copy files between two computers on the Internet.

  • HTTP

    An application-layer protocol used for transporting hypertext from web servers to the local browser on the Internet.

Protocol Comparison

Table 1-1 describes the protocol comparison.

Table 1-1 Protocol comparison


Application Scenario


Operating Mode


Linux and UNIX environments, including a non-domain environment, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)a domain environment, and network information service (NIS)b domain environment

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or User Datagram Protocol (UDP)

Client/Server architecture, requiring client software


Windows environments, including a non-domain environment and active directory (AD)c domain environment


Client/Server architecture, with client software being integrated into operating systems


No restrictions on operating systems


Client/Server architecture, with client software being integrated into operating systems


No restrictions on operating systems


Browser/Server architecture

a: LDAP is a domain environment in Linux and is used to construct a user authentication system based on directories.

b: NIS is a domain environment in Linux and can centrally manage the directory service of system databases.

c: AD is a domain environment in Windows and can centrally manage computers, servers, and users.

Authentication Specifications for File Access

Table 1-2 describes the authentication specifications supported by a storage system.

Table 1-2 Authentication specifications

Authentication Mode



User/User Group Management

Network Group

Local authentication

Not supported



Not supported

AD domain server authentication

  • Access using node name.AD domain name: supported
  • Access by using other methods: Not supported


Not supported

Not supported

LDAP domain server authentication

Not supported

Not supported

Not supported


NIS domain server authentication

Not supported

Not supported

Not supported


a: Kerberos is a computer network authentication protocol. This protocol is used to authenticate user identity in an open network environment and automate user authentication every time a logged in user accesses resources on networks.

b: NT LAN Manager (NTLM) is a security protocol proposed in Microsoft Windows NT and is used to protect user names and passwords during authentication.

  • You can add a storage system to an AD domain, LDAP domain, or NIS domain simultaneously. However, you cannot add a storage system to multiple domains of the same type.
  • NFS shares support LDAP/NIS domain authentication but do not support Kerberos authentication.
  • For FTP and HTTP shares, the storage system uses User/User Group Management for local authentication.

Implementation of Huawei Storage

Huawei OceanStor series storage systems integrate both Server Area Network (SAN) and NAS capabilities. Figure 1-3 shows how Huawei storage is used on an integrated SAN and NAS network.

Figure 1-3 Use of the storage system on an integrated SAN and NAS network


  • NAS provides a file operation and management system, while SAN does not.
  • NAS can control the permissions of different users to access different files, while SAN cannot.
  • NAS supports quota control, while SAN does not.
  • SAN focuses on high-speed data storage, while NAS emphasizes on file sharing.
  • SAN is an exclusive data storage pool, while NAS can be either a shared or an exclusive data storage pool.
  • SAN is efficient and scalable, while NAS is simple and flexible.
Updated: 2019-07-31

Document ID: EDOC1100096893

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