Ask the Expert

The SAN/NAS storage consolidation approach

I have been running Oracle 8i as my business critical application but want to consolidate my storage. Is a SAN or NAS approach recommended for this? What are the primary reasons for you recommendation?

Thanks for your help.


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Either can be effective depending on your requirements. Certainly there have been many companies that implemented storage area networks with the primary reason being storage consolidation. There is a wealth of understanding about this now and many vendors can give you references. Some companies have consolidated their Oracle implementation to NAS but there needs to be a good understanding of the performance and security requirements you have. Using IP networks have additional concerns that must be looked into. The overhead and latency is much higher leading to some performance considerations.

If you understand your performance needs and the NAS solutions fall into your expectations, then NAS is a viable alternative. Using a TCP/IP accelerator (a/k/a TOE HBA or NIC) really makes a performance difference for NAS. Keep in mind from a security perspective, that TCP/IP on networks is relatively insecure unless you take additional efforts in using special hardware-enabled capabilities like IPSec. You could use a software-based implementation but that might create an unacceptable performance impact.

Making a relatively blind recommendation is not a good idea. It's best for you to explore your requirements first and then look at the solutions (both SAN and NAS) from vendors that meet your requirements. Otherwise, it's just a shot in the dark.

Randy Kerns
Evaluator Group, Inc.

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This was first published in May 2003

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