The approaches in achieving this are where there are great variations from the different vendors. Here are a few approaches. There are others that are claimed by marketing people with some degree of credibility.
NAS gateway (or head) - a NAS controller function uses storage from a SAN rather than captive (or direct attached) storage. This method centralizes the allocation and management of the storage resources.
Virtualization engines - that have connections for both block and file access where the virtualization software manages the storage resource and serves files or blocks depending on the server connection.
Distributed file systems - that treat all storage, collectively, in a SAN as file systems accessible by all attached servers where the servers cooperate to manage or control access to data.
Evaluator Group, Inc.
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This was first published in July 2002