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Achieving secure data storage for shared read/write I/O operation

Storage expert Greg Schulz answers a reader's question: "How can we achieve concurrent write access to our SAN without corruption?"

We have two load-balanced Web servers, both active, trying to access the same LUN of a storage area network (SAN). Both Web servers need to read, as well as write, to the same LUN. We use Windows 2003 Standard Edition for our operating system and an EMC SAN. How can we achieve concurrent write access to the SAN without corruption? An answer specific to the EMC SAN would be highly appreciated.

In general, to achieve safe, secure data storage access for shared read/write I/O operation while maintaining data consistency requires some form of data sharing software. Software includes shared SAN file system from Quantum (formerly ADIC) and SGI among others, as well as distributed or networked file systems that support NFS and Microsoft Windows CIFS-based access. For example, most network attached storage (NAS) solutions from vendors, including BlueArc, EMC, HP, IBM, Network Appliance (NetApp), as well as other vendors' solutions based on Microsoft Windows Storage Server (WSS), would enable your Web servers to access data for concurrent shared read/write access while maintaining data consistency.

From an EMC-specific perspective, generally speaking you would be looking at a Celerra NAS appliance or Celerra NAS gateway type solution. However, consult with your solution providers to determine the exact make and model that would be best for you. Also consider alternatives, such as a server with either direct-attached SAS, iSCSI or Fibre Channel network attached storage running Microsoft WSS configured as a NFS and CIFS file server to complement your existing Windows-based Web servers.

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