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If SAN storage support isn't a requirement, a NAS appliance with a NAS front end and back-end storage integrated into one unit may suffice. It may be much easier to configure an integrated product than a gateway product because there are no SAN configuration issues. The following integrated NAS appliances are typical of products in this category:
- BlueArc Corp.'s Titan SiliconServer supports up to 256TB of NAS storage with a single file system, and offers enterprise-class capabilities such as replication and mirroring.
- EMC's NS500 and NS700 NAS series are limited to only 64TB. The NS500 has file-system size limits compared to the NS700 and NSX gateways (8TB maximum file system). Aside from configuration and aggregate performance limitations, NS700 and NS500 capabilities are very similar to the NSX gateway system using Clariion back-end arrays.
- Sun's StorEdge 5310C is an integrated NAS appliance with 64TB of capacity (for FC storage). It also supports file system-level and back-end replication and mirroring, depending on the hardware configuration.
There are three non-traditional approaches to NAS consolidation: clustered file systems, parallel file systems and NAS aggregators. Many vendors tout their NAS gateways as a means of providing independent performance scaling for both the back- and front-end. Some non-traditional alternatives take this a step further by allowing not just a scale-up of performance in the front end (by increasing node horsepower), but a scale-out of the front end by adding multiple independent nodes that can access the same single namespace.
This was first published in December 2005