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  • Affordable and simple NAS or SAN

    Hi all, I'm looking for a 1TB or more network hard drive that will function as my file repository. Not sure what the difference is between NAS or SAN as it seems interchangeable but I need 10 users to access the files from the network drive as a mapped drive on their workstations. Think file server minus the server stuff. Any suggestions?

    Thank you in advance.

  • #2
    Re: Affordable and simple NAS or SAN

    A NAS will be much cheaper -- SANs are used to emulate local drives on a server.

    I recently got an Iomega Storcentre iX4-200d which offers a lot of functionality -- price was about GBP 200 for a 2TB version

    You need to look into prices in your country and think about storage capacity required.
    Tom Jones
    MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
    PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
    IT Trainer / Consultant
    Ossian Ltd
    Scotland

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    • #3
      Re: Affordable and simple NAS or SAN

      Gotta love Synology. I have a DS1511+ at home.
      ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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      • #4
        Re: Affordable and simple NAS or SAN

        Originally posted by xAOx View Post
        Hi all, I'm looking for a 1TB or more network hard drive that will function as my file repository. Not sure what the difference is between NAS or SAN as it seems interchangeable but I need 10 users to access the files from the network drive as a mapped drive on their workstations. Think file server minus the server stuff. Any suggestions?

        Thank you in advance.
        First, the distinction between NAS and SAN is being blurred with devices and software that allows for block and file level access on the same unit. It's called "Unified Storage." Traditionally, SAN's referred to block level storage as well as a dedicated backend network that only serviced storage traffic. Nowadays with unified storage boxes, you get block (iSCSI for example) and file (NFS and CIFS for example) level storage on one unit. Small shops are tempted to put it on the same data network as users... and often do.

        I am biased as I do not trust low end all-in-one NAS boxes. Usually it's a matter of quality control as well as crappy management software. I would much prefer to build my own. I strongly recommend OpenFiler as the filer OS. It is built on BSD and uses ZFS as the underlying file system. It uses softraid which seems to do better with low power drives that have timeout circuitry. Any box with an i3 or better will yawn at the parity workload.

        Grab some Western Digital Green drives, toss three or four in a case and drop OpenFiler on it. You'll then have the ability to provision block and file level chunks of storage. If you need Active directory integration, I'd just as soon carve out an iSCSI LUN from the box and then present it to users via a Windows Server. Much fun is to be had.
        Wesley David
        LinkedIn | Careers 2.0
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        Microsoft Certifications: MCSE 2003 | MCSA:Messaging 2003 | MCITP:EA, SA, EST | MCTS: a'plenty | MCDST
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        • #5
          Re: Affordable and simple NAS or SAN

          while nonapeptide's post is fantastic... it's not always ideal for people to build their own.. for us, it's great.. and if you can build it, sell it, and support it, it's great too.

          but some places, just want something little. I worked with a HP micronas or something like that.. i forget the exact model, but it could have up to 4 drives, and had a cut down version of, i thnk, Windows Home Srver on it.
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          • #6
            Re: Affordable and simple NAS or SAN

            Personally, I would not be buying any Hard drives at the moment with the prices what they are (I have seen 500% price increases latly).

            Wait 2-3 months and the prices will be drasticlly lower.

            Also, building our own is the cheapest way to get a good setup, as there are quite a few Linux Distros that will make great SAN/NAS setups, and then when you want to expand its just a hard drvie, and possible a RAID card, rather then a whole new encloser.

            Wofen
            Good to be back....

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            • #7
              Re: Affordable and simple NAS or SAN

              Originally posted by Wofen View Post
              Personally, I would not be buying any Hard drives at the moment with the prices what they are (I have seen 500% price increases latly).

              Wait 2-3 months and the prices will be drasticlly lower.
              A lot of the price hikes are centered on Western Digital as much of their manufacturing is Thailand based and Thailand has had some natural disasters that shut down production lines. Samsung and Hitachi are largely unaffected from what I know. Which is awesome since Spinpoints and Deskstars are pretty darn good consumer-level drives. A stack of F1s on a FreeNAS box ain't bad at all.

              Originally posted by Wofen View Post
              Also, building our own is the cheapest way to get a good setup, as there are quite a few Linux Distros that will make great SAN/NAS setups, and then when you want to expand its just a hard drvie, and possible a RAID card, rather then a whole new encloser.
              Thumbs up. Although for a self-made unified storage box, I'd avoid a RAID card and rely on the filer's soft RAID - especially if lower RPM drives are used or ones that have energy saving circuitry. The only "detriment" is that the CPU will be used for parity calculations but virtually any CPU that was made in the last five years will yawn at most workloads that a small office of less than 50 would put it through.
              Wesley David
              LinkedIn | Careers 2.0
              -------------------------------
              Microsoft Certifications: MCSE 2003 | MCSA:Messaging 2003 | MCITP:EA, SA, EST | MCTS: a'plenty | MCDST
              Vendor Neutral Certifications: CWNA
              Blog: www.TheNubbyAdmin.com || Twitter: @Nonapeptide || GTalk, Reader and Google+: [email protected] || Skype: Wesley.Nonapeptide
              Goofy kitten avatar photo from Troy Snow: flickr.com/photos/troysnow/

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              • #8
                Re: Affordable and simple NAS or SAN

                Then you're lucky Wesley I can't find a decent 2TB harddisk for my QNAP below 200 euros. Most are even around 250 or so. The current prices are madness right now since the flooding in Thailand. I've one drive failed in my QNAP RAID 6 and a second one is also giving some issues at the moment. I might turn it off while I wait till the prices drop.

                Anyhow at the OP;
                SAN is indeed block level storage which includes ISCSI, FC and FCoE. NAS delivers NFS and CIFS traffic.
                In you're case, depending on the required capacity, workload and the amount of $$$ you can spend I would look into Synology, QNAP, GreenBytes, EMC VNXe or a NetApp FAS 2020 or something like that. The latter 2 are basically the smaller Unified Storage systems from the current Market Leaders.
                Marcel
                Technical Consultant
                Netherlands
                http://www.phetios.com
                http://blog.nessus.nl

                MCITP(EA, SA), MCSA/E 2003:Security, CCNA, SNAF, DCUCI, CCSA/E/E+ (R60), VCP4/5, NCDA, NCIE - SAN, NCIE - BR, EMCPE
                "No matter how secure, there is always the human factor."

                "Enjoy life today, tomorrow may never come."
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