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Vol. 2 No. 3 May 2003

Shared file systems: a mixed blessing

Seamless, consolidated and efficient management of storage through an advanced shared file system has long been a promise of storage area networks (SANs). Shared file systems--which let hosts share files on a SAN--promise to simplify the management of storage and save money by consolidating storage resources. So, how close are we to that dream? The short answer: There's some progress to report, but to date, not many companies have employed shared file systems. If you have multiple hosts that need to access a common set of files on a SAN, a shared file system is necessary to coordinate between those hosts. Otherwise, if two systems try to read and write from the same file, it's likely that data corruption will occur. A shared file system coordinates access to a file, and ensures that reads and writes are consistent between the hosts. And if the two hosts use different operating systems, you'll also need a shared file system to handle normalizing file operations between multiple operating systems. File sharing product roundup ...

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