Ask the Expert

Your solution does not have to be ATA to be cheap

We currently have a SAN with an HDS 9200 array, Emulex HBAs and Brocade 9200 switches (2). We are looking at attaching some inexpensive storage to the SAN in order to stage backups and for test databases. The storage needs not be fast or HA. Can you suggest any companies that produce an inexpensive (maybe serial ATA) disk arrays that can be SAN attached?

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Almost everyone has ATA now. Just do a Google or AltaVista search for ATA disks. Since I always try to be vendor neutral in my responses, I normally do not recommend solutions from particular companies.

That being said, you can start with the usual suspects: HP, Sun, IBM, EMC, HDS, Xiotech, etc.

Since you are going to use the disks to stage backup, make sure it supports RAID. Using JBOD (just a bunch of disks) will be risky for disk class backup storage.

By the way, your solution does not HAVE to be ATA to be cheap! You may be surprised at the cost of low-end SCSI or Fibre Channel-based solutions out there that not only support RAID but also use dual controllers and mirrored cache.

Chris

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This was first published in August 2003

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