Q

MACs and SANs

Are there SANs that are specifically designed to interoperate well with Macintosh clients?

My company has 27 Win2k servers and 575 Mac clients. Before virtualizing our storage, I want to insure the solution is not a Macintosh afterthought.


Connectivity support for MAC clients seems to be an afterthought in today?s SAN's. This may change soon since Apple introduced their new OS that is based on open source Unix. Fabric drivers from Apple have been non-existent in the past. Most of the customers I visit tend to use standalone or clustered WinNT servers connected to the SAN, with the NT cluster servers sharing out file services for the MAC clients. Since most MAC machines I have seen are used as Graphic workstations, they can get by with NAS.

There are some NAS vendors that support MAC connectivity natively, but most use CIFS and NFS. Hitachi has a solution that can provide NAS and SAN from the same pool of storage, so this may be an option for you. My suggestion today would be to provide MAC file services via a SAN connected NT Cluster. This gives you high availability, SAN connectivity, and flexibility on which storage vendor to choose.

Have the MAC clients connect to the NT Servers over GigaBit Ethernet. This should provide enough bandwidth for your needs.

Chris


This was first published in August 2001

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