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Does NAS have what it takes for me?

Rather then add/replace drives in our Linux systems and W2K servers, we are looking into possibly using a NAS. Question is this. Can NAS chunk up the drives/volume to be used for multiple systems and O/S? For example, a 300GB NAS with 100GB to W2K and 200GB to Linux/NFS? How is performance affected if NAS is used for Oracle DB purposes?

Finally, is NAS with ATA/133 drives going to give us the performance we need or is SCSI still the better option?


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There are several questions here that have complicated answers. For the first, yes there are NAS devices that can serve a variety of host operating systems and can handle the different remote file system protocols, usually CIFS and NFS. The NAS devices list the servers supported and the protocols supported so it's a fairly simple exercise to figure that out.

The performance of different NAS devices ranges greatly and those that have TCP/IP accelerators or where the accelerators are installed in the accessing servers is a big factor. The network is usually the limiting factor. You need to know your requirements and then try and determine if the NAS device will meet them. The best thing is if you can get a performance guarantee from the vendor.

The disk drives used are somewhat of a performance difference but a small factor compared to the network issues. Lump it in with the earlier answer.

Randy Kerns
Evaluator Group, Inc.

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This was first published in April 2003

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