39728: Will Acronis Files Connect work with a NAS or a SAN?

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Last update: Tue, 2017-07-11 10:18


Will Acronis Files Connect (formerly ExtremeZ-IP) work with a NAS or a SAN?


The key questions for NAS or SAN device compatibility with Acronis Files Connect are, "are you running Windows?" and "do you support NTFS?". There are some NAS solutions that run Linux or proprietary solutions, but most vendors now use Windows in some form; from Windows XP Embedded to Storage Server 2003. If you want to confirm compatibility with your specific NAS or SAN, we recommend that you test Acronis Files Connect specifically with your solution. To obtain a free trial version of Acronis Files Connect please fill out the request form on Acronis website.

Background Information:

Network Attached Storage (NAS) is file sharing technology that uses a dedicated device attached to the network. A NAS solution only allows access to data at the file level. Storage Area Networks (SANs) are implemented at the disk block-level. A SAN connects to one or more standalone servers.

A fundamental difference in these technologies is that NAS can read files, but has no way to read or "understand" disk blocks. In general, because a SAN understands the file structure at the block-level, it will return the data you requested far more quickly than NAS. This is because a SAN uses hardware protocols such as Fiber Channel or SCSI as opposed to a network protocol such as HTTP, SMB/CIFS, or AFP. It is possible to have multiple NAS devices that connect to a SAN using Fiber Channel interfaces.

Acronis Files Connect directly accesses the NTFS file system, therefore it is only compatible with devices that allow block level access to a disk. While this would appear to prevent Acronis Files Connect from being used with a NAS device, Acronis Files Connect can be installed if the NAS is using an embedded version of Windows. In fact, a number of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) license Acronis Files Connect for use with NAS in this context.

Our recommendation is that you test Acronis Files Connect with your solution. There are currently no known incompatibilities with SAN storage. Many of our customers are currently using the following solutions successfully:

NAS Systems Compatible With Acronis Files Connect

  • Windows Storage Server
  • Windows Powered NAS
  • Windows XP Embedded (WinXPe)

SAN Systems Compatible With Acronis Files Connect

  • Dell PowerVault
  • EMC
  • IBM FastT
  • ADIC
  • Apple XSAN (when accessed from a Windows Server and formatted as NTFS)