Will virtualisation become a major selling point for SMB/home NAS, asks Edward Lin, Qnap Systems marketing director.
Of all the trends and technologies that the IT industry has produced in the last 20 years, few have had the instant and lasting impact of virtualisation.
From empowering data centres to providing centrally-managed thin clients for large businesses/ organisations, virtualisation is now one of the most important technologies throughout the industry - and now it's coming to a home/SMB network-attached storage (NAS) near you.
With the constantly increasing power of CPUs matching their equally diminishing power requirements, virtualisation services once reserved for large enterprises are now slowly becoming available to end users with consumer-grade hardware.
It is not uncommon to find users running VirtualBox on their desktop instead of dual booting, and many a MacBook owner relies on Parallels for running Windows-exclusive applications.
In modern NAS, Intel processors are starting to replace traditional ARM-based processors, and this is leading to the situation where a home/SMB NAS is more than capable of running multiple virtual machines (VM).
In these scenarios, we envision that virtualisation will become a major selling point for home/SMB NAS. Whether it be in a household or small office, virtualisation can provide a vast number of services on top of the standard and routine functions provided by NAS and, combined with personal/private cloud services, provides a potentially limitless landscape for home and small office use.
We envision a scenario where a small office can be centralised into a single affordable NAS. With each team member allocated their own VM coupled with NAS file-sharing functions you have the perfect solution for small businesses.
Legacy applications can also be maintained by using dedicated VMs that run older operating systems such as Windows XP.
Small offices can also be empowered by using VMs to create dedicated printer and email servers, all the while using the personal/private cloud service of the NAS for complete and secure remote access.
This empowerment extends to home scenarios. Imagine having a VM for each member of the family, each of them running on a single NAS and accessible through numerous devices via the personal/private cloud.
With this setup, one NAS could be the cornerstone of a family's digital household, with parents being able to monitor their children’s access to the VM, and their data secured by the innate redundancies and data protection of VMs.
Virtualisation is a technology that found its calling in the data centre, but will soon be in the household and small office. With near limitless applications and functionalities, and as the power of home/SMB NAS grows, expect to see more from this technology in a NAS near you.