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Last week’s blog went into more detail on one of the primary differences between a Storage Area Network (SAN) and Network Attached Storage (NAS). We wrote about the retrieval process and how retrieval is automatic in a SAN. Data is available as though it were located on the workstation, itself. This is very different than in a NAS. A NAS is set up to enable manual file transfers from storage to workstation.

Now we are going to take a more positive look at one of the more exciting features of a SAN, which is a natural consequence of the retrieval type: real-time collaboration.

In addition to the facility of collaborative efforts, a SAN also greatly reduces the amount of work required to organize security and authentication. Active Directory is a program, which allows an administrator to organize the authentication process, and it cannot be applied to a NAS.

Active Directory

Under Active Directory, an administrator can set up groups of users. Then, when files are created, access to that file can be given to the entire group. New employees can also be added to the group when they come aboard, which gives them access to all the files of the group.

In each case, both with file sharing and hiring, a SAN saves time and reduces administrative tasks. With file creation, most companies of 20-50 employees might save a few moments per file. Not a huge difference. But onboarding new employees is much, much easier.

The time savings add up over time. As more employees are added, and projects involve more stakeholders, Active Directory gains value, allowing IT administrators and employees to pursue more useful tasks and projects. The value of real-time collaboration on files and folders gains value too.

For a more detailed explanation of how real-time collaboration saves time, see our blog next week, which looks at the annoying length of business email strings and how real-time collaboration converts useless work into product.

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