Hmm...one thing I make a point of in all my responses to questions on the site is to stay as vendor neutral as possible. This means I do not make specific recommendations of one company's solution vs. another. Every solution out there has its advantages and disadvantages.
The best approach you should take is to get a hold of the analyst reports for the different vendors' products. Storage products in the range you are looking at require ease of use to be one of the major drivers. Most companies have demo labs where you can go and "kick the tires" of the modular type solutions. For the bigger boxes, some of the vendors will let you do a "try and buy", where you get to try out the product from both vendors with no commitment and choose the one that works best.
If I were you, I would give both companies my requirements and ask them to have one of its systems engineers look it over and make a recommendation on which of its products would be best for you. This will give you a pretty good idea of what is the best approach for you and it's free! Then, ask them to price it out. Don't base your decision just on price though. I know a lot of folks driving cheap cars, when they run.
As for using pooled SAN storage for NAS, if your requirements are minimal, it may make more sense to buy a complete NAS solution. If you also have requirements for a large SAN, then pooling NAS into the SAN begins to make sense. There are VERY inexpensive NAS devices on the market today that may meet your requirements without the investment in SAN infrastructure.
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This was first published in February 2003