Q

Making it a simple transition from NAS to SAN

We want to set up a SAN in different phases. At this time we're still using DAS, but want to go to a SAN. We purchased a tape library and are going to implement NAS first, and then move over to a SAN in the future.

Is it possible to use a SAN switch as a normal network switch while waiting to move to a SAN? What do we need to keep in mind to have a simple move from NAS to SAN in the future?
It is possible to run the TCP/IP protocol over the SAN fabric, but it may be simpler -- and cheaper -- to use a standard TCP/IP switch. You need to compare the cost and complexity -- including HBAs that support TCP/IP stacks -- of a Fibre Channel switch vs. a simple TCP/IP switch.

As for a simple transition, or integration of NAS to SAN, you can look for a NAS solution that can also be used as a gateway to a SAN array. This would enable you to attach your NAS appliance to your SAN once you purchase it.

I have no idea how scalable your solution needs to be, but have you considered using your existing servers to share out their internal disk storage as NAS? Once you buy the SAN, you can move to server clustering for your file services being offered through your existing nodes from SAN-based storage.

To use your existing servers for file services, simply create a directory with your existing internal storage, and share it out over the network. For Unix servers to share out storage for Windows clients, you can use SAMBA for the CIFS shares. If your Windows servers need to share out NFS file services for Unix clients, simply turn on Unix services under Windows 2000.

Chris

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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 June 2004
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