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When things work but there's no support

We have five MAC servers and a Compaq SAN. We would like to introduce the MAC servers onto the SAN. Some vendors like NetApps/Compaq/EMC are pushing me towards a NAS-based solution using NFS. I am not comfortable with this. On my initial research I have found JNI has adapters that support the MAC OS. What is the main issue in introducing MAC systems on a SAN if you have HBA that supports the OS even though the Compaq Web site on StorageWorks does not support MAC.

This is a very good and interesting question.

When putting all the parts together to create a SAN you may find, especially if you are acting as your own integrator, that many things will actually work, but the vendors will not "support" what you are trying to do.

This all comes down to the problem that your storage vendor puts its name and reputation behind solutions they are selling you and they want to be darn sure it all works as advertised especially under load and during faults. A lot of testing needs to be done on almost every conceivable iteration of how the pieces may be put together. If you ever saw the step-by-step process that vendors go through to test equipment against a particular OS, you would be amazed at the effort involved.

The MAC OS in the past did not have the bits in the operating system to enable support for SAN based I/O. If I were you, I would ask Apple if they would support what you are trying to do. I know Compaq currently does not support this.

What I have generally seen in most customer shops using MAC, is an NT cluster serving out files for the MAC clients. The file shares become highly available, because the NT servers are using the external SAN for cluster disk resources, and the shares fail over to the surviving node in case of host failure. Putting and extreme client load on an APPLE server for file/print is simply not what most people are doing. The NT SAN drivers are mature and the cluster is reliable.

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