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Using SAN or NAS for data warehousing

Hi Christopher,

Can you please advise if there are any and how many organizations are opting to use NAS or SAN technology for data warehousing? Is this a sound architecture for this type of application?

Many thanks.

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Using NAS for data warehousing would be determined by the actual database you are planning on using. Microsoft, I believe, pulled support for NAS on SQL Server so that's out. Oracle does support the use of NAS for databases but you need to be careful on how it is set up and be sure your network connections are robust enough to handle the load. As for DB2, Sybase, Ingress, Informix, etc., I'm not sure of support so you should ask them directly.

Remember that NAS uses file based I/O rather than block based I/O so the maximum frame sizes for any write operation must conform to IP standards. Block based I/O using SCSI protocol can have a varying payload size. Data warehouse applications tend to be more "high throughput" rather than "high IOPS" in nature, which means the ability to move a large quantity of data is important. SCSI (over Fibre in a SAN or standalone) tends to be the better method for these environments.

As for how many organizations are using SAN or NAS to do data warehousing, well, I have been involved with MANY implementations, using all the various flavors of databases and have yet to see a single data warehouse solution done via NAS. I'm sure they are out there but in my personal experience, I've yet to be involved in one.


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This was first published in May 2002

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