NAS Storage Solution

I have just been assigned a project to research, design, and implement a network storage solution for our company.  We are moving towards a paperless office so file servers are greatly needed.  I am looking for suggestions/ideas for a storage solution with the following requirements:

Clustered Drives for redundancy
Terabyte - size drives (probably start with ~2 terabytes of storage)
Integrated windows Authentication (to allow for providing access using shared folders)
Gigabit Ethernet
Upgradeable storage size

Ideally this would be a blade server so it won't take up a lot of space on our racks.  I don't think money will be too much of an issue - i've got a budget of around 30K.

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prof666Connect With a Mentor Commented:
The only Solutions I can advise on are NetAapps and EMC, as thats what I install and support. If you are looking to keep cost under control and minimise rack usage,take a look at using the new 250GB ATA drive in either a Netapps FAS200/250 or and EMC NS600. Both of these will do the job and are easy to configure. Both will take up about 4-8U on a rack. Both also come NDMP backup compatible (ask if you need a description of NDMP). Both can have extra disk trays added later for expansion, and both should come in at about 30K.

Da Proff
patrick24Connect With a Mentor Commented:
You can take a look at IBM FastT storage, it a SAN but and scalable. You can start off small first.

durindilConnect With a Mentor Commented:
First of all, if you want to use ATA drives in either the Netapp or the EMC NS series, then you are a masochist, because speed and throughput is dismal.  It is fine for sequential writes, such as near online storage, but you will only see a real world throughput of about 40 MB/sec max.  It is just a limitation of the drives, controllers, and ATA to FC translation.  Both are somewhat expensive, however, and even though I am an EMC architect, I still prefer the NetApp for ease of use and compatability with Windows.

The IBM FastT series is a reliable platform, but you would use it to back-end a file server for storage, and this would still be expensive.  In that case, you should stick with direct attached storage.  The IBM NAS gateways are just clustered Win2K servers with their NAS code on top, and it is actually cheaper and easier to just create your own clustered Win2K/2K3 file servers.
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nyck6623Connect With a Mentor Commented:
I have an Iomega NAS... Works perfect for what you need... They go in to the terabytes but it is costly... Plus Raid 5 out of the box and all hot swap... so your set for fault tolerance...
I would reccomend looking around for a while comparing many of the different vendors...
rj-smithConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I'll second the NetApp vote, superb boxes and you get great technical support from NetApp. As prof666 mentioned, they'll support just about all your requirements, including adding extra disk shelves as you need them.

They already support iSCSI which is a nice new technology that would be worth looking into also.

More info:

Hope that helps.
mgcITAuthor Commented:
hey thanks for the replies....  I've been doing a lot of research so sorry it's taken me so long to respond.  I've got a question about Netapp - does it use its own OS, or does it run Windows Storage Server 2003?  If it's not a Windows OS, how easy is it to set up and does it easily integrate with our Domain users/pass?
The NetApp Filer's uses a proprietary operating system called Data ONTAP which has many unique features. Data ONTAP had a volume snapshot feature long before Volume Shadow Copy arrived in Windows 2003 for example.

Although there are lots of commands you can use with Data ONTAP's command line interface you can do most things with the web front end which is obviously far easier to get to grips with. NetApp have a number of courses you can attend if you want to learn more about the O/S.

Hope that helps.
PideConnect With a Mentor Commented:
There are many NAS (Network Attached Storage) suppliers.
Clustered drives (RAID 0+1 or 5), Gigabit Ethernet, 2TB Capacity, Win authentication should not be an issue, most of them will offer that.
What do you have to pay attention ?
- 2TB won´t last forever. How easy/expensive to grow ?
- Management tools. If you have few users, no problem. If it takes many screens for sharing a folder and you have many users, it will drive you nuts.
- Performance: ATA/IDE, SCSI or FC ? Again, it depens on how many users you have and what they are doing. You will blow an ATA system with many concurrent users on random files (or a DB). But will waste money on SCSI/FC drives if you have just few users on some "static" or even "large sequential" files (ie audio/video).
- Back-up. There are many ways to perform it. Some NAS come with a built-in tape (and software), some uses the LAN and some can only be restored on the NAS itself (useless for disaster recovery). Choose the one that best fits your purpose.
- Migration. It will be done once, but can be a headache to move all your users/data from current system to NAS. Check tools and support offered.

Good luck.
mgcITAuthor Commented:
thanks for all the advice.. It has helped out a lot with my research.
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