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Integrating with AD

Are you grappling with Windows 2000 and Active Directory (AD) migrations? Do you wonder if network-attached storage (NAS) could make your life easier or harder? This reader was. He recently asked SearchStorage.com NAS expert Randy Kerns for his thoughts on AD migrations and the merits of non-Windows-based NAS solutions (such as EMC's Celerra) vs. NAS appliances powered by Microsoft's Windows-based Software Appliance Kit (SAK). Read the full question and Randy's response.

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A SearchStorage.com reader recently asked the following question:

Our company is in the middle of an NT/AD Windows 2000 migration but they are having issues with disk space and would like to put up a NAS. EMC is the preferred storage vendor for our SAN environment and they have recommended using their Celerra solution.

Personally, I've never been a fan of NAS because of the known shortcomings such as backups, anti-virus and lack of disk attached storage but many of today's NAS products have overcome those issues, including Celerra.

The issue I have is that it doesn't seem to make sense to move file services off the Windows platform onto a Linux/DART platform especially when AD and Windows 2000 components such as DFS and FRS, off-line folders, EFS and other file services are strategic to our Windows 2000 deployment.

Although I feel EMC has done a good job architecturally with the Celerra and they provide some compatibility and functionality with AD and Windows through APIs, it just doesn't seem to strategically align with an AD/Windows environment.

My position is we should be looking at a vendor using a Windows powered NAS (SAK) solution or just use SAN-based storage with our existing Windows 2000 servers.

Am I missing something?

Randy's answer:

You've summarized it pretty well. If you want to integrate with AD, you need a solution that supports it in the way you expect. Certainly, the Windows-based (SAK) solutions do but there are other solutions that claim they do as well.

The extent with which they do (and that will meet your requirements) is detailed information you need to get from the vendor. In addition to the explanation of the details, get a guarantee from them (in writing) that it will meet your needs or they will pay a penalty of some type. That should separate the vendors committed to AD support from those that aren't.

By the way, integrating with AD is a good idea for NAS in your environment. It adds a level of security and management that most people don't do (and are at risk because th ey didn't).

Randy Kerns
Evaluator Group, Inc.

Editor's note: Do you agree with this expert's response? If you have more to share, post it in one of our .bphAaR2qhqA^0@/searchstorage>discussion forums.


This was first published in March 2003

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