Shared file systems: An overview

At their core, shared file systems let multiple users access the same files at the same time. Learn about the different products in this space and the categories they fall into.

If your organization needs more performance and scalability than you can get from using NFS and CIFS file servers,...

you're in luck. Some vendors have developed what is known as shared file systems. The idea behind a shared file system is simple: multiple users can access the same files over different operating systems at the same time.

The shared file system approach provides many benefits. For starters, it can offer a single global namespace that allows files to be located by multiple servers and sets the stage for policy-based management and large-scale consolidation. Shared file systems can also help to reduce the latency associated with sharing large files across a network, such as those typically found in industries like broadcast media, graphics, medical research and scientific communities.

Proponents of these systems have also said that shared file systems can help address compliance issues by letting you quickly and easily locate files when necessary.

Despite the above benefits, shared file systems may not be for everyone, although some have found them to be a great help at reducing the time spent managing data.

The resources listed below, and in our accompanying feature, Solve file-sharing headaches, should help you explore the different products available. They should also provide you with some useful advice on how best to implement shared file systems in your current networked storage environment.

In his recent webcast, Yankee Group senior analyst Jamie Gruener discussed three types of shared file systems: SAN file systems, clustered file systems and application file systems. The following list of shared file systems focuses on the first two categories only. (Application file systems -- such as those provided by companies like Oracle Corporation -- can also help you deal with file-sharing issues that arise within applications, such as Oracle databases. For more about these types of shared file systems, please see Gruener's webcast.)

Use the listings below as a springboard for further research about the shared file systems that might be best for your environment. These lists include a sampling of vendor products found in each category as well as links to further resources about each product.

SAN file systems

SAN file systems let you share files across SANs or in a converged SAN/NAS environment. Products in this category include IBM's long-awaited SAN File System (code-named StorageTank) and they are rapidly growing in number. Sample products in this category include:

  • ADIC StorNext
  • EMC Celerra HighRoad
  • IBM SAN File System
  • IBM Tivoli SANergy
  • Sanbolic Melio FS
  • SGI CXFS

    Clustered file systems

    In clustered file systems, all nodes understand the file system structure and the full file system is shared across all nodes. Sample products in this category include:

  • Spinnaker Networks SpinCluster
  • Panasas
  • Isilon IQ with Isilon OneFS
  • PolyServe Matrix Server
  • Sistina Global File System
  • Veritas SANPoint Foundation Suite/Cluster File System


    MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

    Featured Topic: Solve file-sharing headaches

    News: IBM unveils SAN File System

    Webcast: IBM's StorageTank -- It's finally here. Now, what?

  • This was first published in October 2003

    Dig Deeper on NAS management

    PRO+

    Content

    Find more PRO+ content and other member only offers, here.

    0 comments

    Oldest 

    Forgot Password?

    No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

    Your password has been sent to:

    -ADS BY GOOGLE

    SearchSolidStateStorage

    • Tintri VMstore T5000

      Like all of its VM-aware storage systems, Tintri’s first all-flash array -- the Tintri VMstore T5000 -- allows admins to bypass ...

    • SolidFire SF9605

      The high-capacity SolidFire SF9605 uses SolidFire’s Element OS 8 (Oxygen) to deliver new enterprise features such as synchronous ...

    • HPE 3PAR StoreServ 20850

      HPE 3PAR StoreServ 20850 holds 1,024 solid-state drives (SSDs). Hewlett Packard Enterprise claims it can deliver more than three ...

    SearchVirtualStorage

    SearchCloudStorage

    SearchDisasterRecovery

    SearchDataBackup

    • Asigra Cloud Backup Version 13

      Asigra Cloud Backup Version 13 provides an AWS Elastic Block Store Snapshot Manager and the ability to support Docker container ...

    • Veeam Availability Suite v8

      Veeam Availability Suite v8 offers several key backup software components in one package, including Veeam Cloud Connect, Snapshot...

    • Druva inSync 5.5

      Druva inSync 5.5 endpoint backup software stands out with its proactive compliance, cloud app integration, full text search and ...

    Close