The best information generally available for performance on Network Attached Storage devices is available on the Web site http://www.specbench.org/osg/sfs97/results/. This is information posted as a result of running the independent SPECBENCH and in this case the SFS. You can go the specbench.org URL to get more detailed information about the testing. For all customers, the real performance numbers are what they get in their own environment so we always recommend getting a performance guarantee from the vendor that the product they are being sold will meet their needs. Sun does not list the 8600 as being currently available but has information on the 8200 product.
For the second part of the question, comparing a NAS product with a direct attach of SAN attached storage system is more of a usage environment issue than a performance issue. The storage systems listed provide block-level access to data over high-speed interfaces directly to the server or host. A NAS product is a remote file system providing file-level access over Ethernet type of networks. There's significant performance differences and issues with guaranteed response time, bandwidth, etc. You don't normally look at it that way, but examine the choice based on the environment of type of accesses, data sharing required, and application demands regarding response time and throughput considered as a whole. There are places of applicability for both NAS products and direct attached or SAN attached storage systems. Comparing only on performance is an inadequate analysis for what fits best.
This was first published in March 2001