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Asking the toughest question for SAN/NAS

Hello Randy,

When does one consider moving a database to a SAN/NAS environment? Are there any "best practices" for how large the database should be where a SAN/NAS would be most suitable? What would the recommended size be for a SQL/Oracle database if it were moved into a SAN/NAS?


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You've asked the toughest question for NAS. You need to know what your performance requirements are first. In general, the rule of thumb has been if you have a performance requirement for your online transaction processing (OLTP) application you don't use NAS because of the overhead in the TCP/IP implementation and with the variables in Ethernet networking. Improvements have been made with DAFS (direct access file system) that provides outstanding performance and with TCP/IP accelerators.

Both these require different NICs (network interface controllers) and driver software. Size does have something to do with it but I think you may not even get to the size question if you make the decision about basic performance. SAN should be no different in the decision making for direct attached storage regarding performance and size.

Randy Kerns
Evaluator Group, Inc.

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This was first published in July 2002

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