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Is SAN implementation more expensive than NAS?

Is SAN implementation more expensive than NAS?

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Costs associated with creating a SAN or NAS solution are relative. For example, you can create a simple cost-effective SAN solution by using inexpensive Fibre Channel hubs connected to modular storage. The Fibre Channel arbitrated loop- (FC-AL) based parts have become cheap over the past few years. You may even be able to get used equipment to use for your solution.

A simple fault tolerant NAS solution can be created by clustering two Windows servers together via MSCS, which then share out file services to simple shared SCSI disk shelves attached to the cluster nodes. Appliance-based NAS solutions come in may sizes, from many different vendors. You will usually pay according to reliability, scalability, and capability.

The same holds true for SAN solutions. A simple FC-AL shelf of disks with a single controller can be had for a few grand. Larger multi-terabyte SAN storage arrays can cost upwards of $1M. Clustered NAS heads with locally attached shelves can cost upwards of $1M as well, depending on the software included. You get what you pay for.


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The views and opinions expressed by Christopher L. Poelker are his alone and not necessarily shared by Hitachi Data Systems.

This was first published in May 2004

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