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Hardware Thread, Using SAN as a Fileserver in Technical; Hi all; I've recently taken over a network and right now looking at the equipment in the server room. The ...
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    Using SAN as a Fileserver

    Hi all;

    I've recently taken over a network and right now looking at the equipment in the server room.
    The previous network manager had bought a SAN ( QSAN P300Q D212) QSAN P300Q-D212 - QSAN - NAS Data Storage specialists - SQS Network Attached Storage - (Powered by CubeCart) it has total of 12TB 7200K Disk Drives of storage. Reason being he was going to migrate the aging 5 x fileservers to this device.

    At the moment it is linked via iSCSI Gigabit onto one of the aging fileservers, serving one of the year groups profiles and work areas. students and staff are mapping to this SAN via //servername/sharefolder.

    I have heard that this is quite an inefficient way of accessing data and have thought of the idea of migrating all the older fileserver data into the SAN and using CIFS integrated with Active Directory and letting all year groups and staff to access drives via//SAN/Folder

    Is this a sesnible solution? Issues I could think of include AntiVirus? Backup to Tape? Performance of 7200k drives? Does the QSAN have the processing power to handle loading profiles for say 300-400 users etc (total approx 900GB of data spread over 5 servers.)

    Otherwise I could just spec a High IO performance server to replace the 5 aging ones (there's a cost implication though) and use the QSAN for DPM 2007 Backup instead?

    Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Happy Christmas all !

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrWu View Post
    At the moment it is linked via iSCSI Gigabit onto one of the aging fileservers, serving one of the year groups profiles and work areas. students and staff are mapping to this SAN via //servername/sharefolder. I have heard that this is quite an inefficient way of accessing data
    It adds another layer of networking infrastructure, and adds to the round-trip time in your data actually getting from the disk to where it's meant to be. A funny lot of people do seem remarkably keen on doing it like this, though.

    and have thought of the idea of migrating all the older fileserver data into the SAN and using CIFS integrated with Active Directory and letting all year groups and staff to access drives via//SAN/Folder
    Is this a sesnible solution?
    Yes - user files simply go direct from the server to where they'll be used.

    Issues I could think of include AntiVirus? Backup to Tape?
    If you've paid for a file server, you'd hope that such features would be included. You could always get your antivirus software to log in to the root share on the server as a user with permissions to view all folders and scan for viruses once a day. I wouldn't bother with tape backup, I'd back up to a second file server.

    Performance of 7200k drives? Does the QSAN have the processing power to handle loading profiles for say 300-400 users etc (total approx 900GB of data spread over 5 servers.)
    Again, with a purchased file server you'd hope that decent disk performance was taken care of. The I/O limitations of slower drives can be evened out with a decent RAID structure and a good-sized cache. Our QNAP server doesn't seem to have a dedicated hardware RAID card of any kind, it simply has an Atom processor to do what looks like standard Linux software RAID on, and performance from that is absolutly fine. I doubt you'll need to service 400 simultanious users - as long as you have the disk space for the total number of users you have, you only need processing / network for the maximum number of people who will actually be using the file server at the same time.

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    MrWu (31st December 2011)

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    We run our fileservers off a SAN via frontend fileservers, works fine as the latency to the epic fast SAN is less than the latency created by shoddy local storage with a piddly 6-8 drives. It all depends on how you want it structured. 7200rpm SATA is painfully slow though in comparison to SAS, unless your looking at 36 spindles (drives) or more SATA is still rubbish in comparison to even a trivial SAS setup, SSDs are another option, dual port SATA is also a bunch quicker.

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    MrWu (31st December 2011)

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    Thanks guys, i will take a look.

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