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Need advice on an NAS Solution - want 80Gig, RAID 0, Act Dir, Tape backup

Posted on 2003-10-29
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I'm looking for a good solution to add NAS to a client's network.  The amount of data to be stored is only aout 50 Gigs, and is not likely to grow beyond 80 Gigs.  The network is managed by active dirctory, so I need a solution that is active directory compliant.  RAID Mirroring is required, and integrated tape backup is desired.  Also (least important) HDD scalability is an issue - though it likely won't ever need more than 80 Gig, it might be necessary at some point to upgrade to 120 Gig.  Any suggestions on hardware that will fill this need for me are greatly appreciated.  I will also post my findings as well, maybe they'll help someone else in the same boat.  

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Question by:BuildingITC
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durindil earned 125 total points
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This would suffice and be least expensive

MS file and print or SAMBA on Linux (you just have to map uid's to users in AD)
IDE to SCSI array
four to 6 36gig Western Digital 10K rpm Serial ATA drives
Server with single P4 2.4 processor
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by:b_vishwajit
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I suggest you to read as many reviews as possible before you spend anything on a specific product.To get started I am posting this link:
http://www.pcmag.com/category2/0,4148,677853,00.asp
Got that by googling. You can do same thing and find reviews about different NAS products. Hope this helps.
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by:andyalder
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If you find a NAS box with in-built tape backup off the shelf I'd like to know as well, been looking for one for months. NAS tapes and NAS disk arrays a'plenty but unless you build a normal fileserver or add an external tape to a NAS box I don't think there is one.
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by:chicagoan
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NAS is primarily sold into the medium sized market to reduce administrative and support costs.
The appeal of an appliance to management which doesn't want all these geeks running around tinkering with things is huge, labor accounts for the vast majority of IT budgets.
Micro$oft  and AMI maket NAS operating systems (for winddoze and BSD) for the do-it-yourselfer that are highly optimized for file sharing in an enterprise situation, (as does Novell, but that's not a word one utters in an AD shop, is it?) but in a small to medium sized business, the 80-120 gig capacity in an AD environment you're talking about might well be better served by a regular old windoze server. An attached tape drive is going to be your fastest removable media backup method and will allow you to install one of the various "One Button" disaster recovery options offered by HP, CA, Veritas, etc. and be very scalable.

A decent box with a DLT160 and SATA raid is going to hit $7-10K depending on warranty, onsite support options, backup software, redundant power supplies, etc. while you can certainly find a NAS device of that capacity for $1000.
You then, though, have to  potentially learn a different administration system or spend some time integrating it into the exsisting infrastructure. Now add your backup... if there is an exsisting network backup system if might be as easy as adding a tape drive for and backing up a share, if not you have to create that system.

So, I think it really depends on the existing infrastructure, the amount and level of technical support on hand and how scalable a system you want to build.

As far as printing goes, the Micro$oft system has some administrative advantages in that drivers for multiple operating systems can be pushed out when want to connect to a printer, folks can browse for things in a familiar environment and you can keep the help desk kids from printing the football pool sheets on the color laser in the presidential suite pretty easily. Some of the low end NAS devices have more primitive LPD type facilities.
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by:BuildingITC
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Thanks for the responses, everyone.  Durinder and Chicagoan, I think you may be right.  It's starting to look like building a sata raid windows box to use as a file server might be my best bet, given the monetary constraints set forth by the client.  I'm leaning that way, but would still welcome any input that might lead to a nice solution implementing NAS.  
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by:chicagoan
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If you want dedicated NAS OS and tape support  - check out
http://www.megatrends.com/products/product.cfm?CatID=9&SubID=21&ProdID=158
$300 - no client licenses necessary
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by:durindil
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Or you could just do Linux with SAMBA but it requires more configuration than "boxed" solutions.  If you are not really Linux savvy, then maybe something like the above might be better.
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