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Within the last five years, enterprises have adopted LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stacks to deploy both internal and external Web applications. This new approach has dramatically reduced the costs of application management and deployment for not only these organizations, but their customers, employees and partners.

However, an underlying issue to this framework is the lack of an adequate storage infrastructure to support exploding data requirements. Traditional file servers and storage systems are simply not built to handle the high data demands and scale required by enterprise Web applications. Consider the retail operations of Walmart.com handling more than half a million unique visitors daily, the customer-facing tracking options for FedEx with more than a quarter million daily visitors, or the collaboration and Intranet requirements of a company as large as General Electric. These types of applications drive unprecedented needs for fast, economical and scalable file serving.

Enterprise Web applications require a new and innovative approach to file system infrastructures to enable simple scalability and reliable application performance. This article will outline the enterprise challenges inherent in legacy storage and file systems and give real-world examples of the key benefits resulting from the use of distributed file systems that are optimal in supporting cloud-scale applications.

Challenges and Requirements: Enterprise Scale-Out Deployments

Enterprises continually struggle to match file serving and storage costs, performance and feature sets that can keep up with unpredictable and rapidly expanding workloads. Since today's applications differ significantly from those of just a few years ago, there are a new set of challenges and requirements facing enterprises.

In 2009, Enterprise Strategy Group conducted a study on scale-out network attached storage solutions. The results showed the most frequently mentioned considerations including:

- Faster storage provisioning times
- Improved scalability
- Easier to manage
- Improved data availability
(Source: http://www.enterprisestrategygroup.com/2009/01/esg-report-scale-out-nas-driving-value-for-rapidly-growing-file-based-storage-environments/)

Rapid provisioning and scale

Whereas applications that served only a small set of users had moderate needs for rapid provisioning and scale, today's Web applications reach unprecedented levels of data growth-both in terms of overall capacity and the number of files or objects managed. This causes significant pain for IT administrators, who must constantly provision new capacity and performance. If provisioning requires the deployment of new systems, and then the manual oversight to load balance across those systems, it will be impossible to keep up.


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