Storage Management suggestions anyone?

We have about 20 servers with about a combined 1.6 TB of "usable" free storage space. Is there a software product out there that can combine all of the free space into one easy to manage console? Ideally I would want the users to map to say \\fileserver and they would not know which server the files actually go to. I would like to backup files from this console instead of from the actual server that is holding the information. I would also like it to be somewhat fault tolerant meaning if a physical server went down it wouldn't make those files unavailable, kind of like RAID 5 except from a file level.

I have read about some high end products but I am wanting something cheap since it is just for user files not application or production data.

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Duncan MeyersConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You're looking for Global Namespace software. There's plenty of options out there. The tricky bit is 'cheap'. I've just  had a trawl through Sourceforge and it looks like a new global namespace project's been started, but there's no code - only project specification docs.

EMC Rainfinity will do exactly what you want as does Quantum's StorNext ( - StorNext might be the nearest thing there is to an affordabke option.
Gerald ConnollyConnect With a Mentor Commented:
The most obvious answer is to consolidate your storage into one place, then what you have is one item to manage. e.g a using either a SAN or a NAS server.

If you carry on with your current config you have 20 items to manage and 20 orphaned storage locations to look after and as you rightly point out, what happens if a server goes down (what happens to its storage? NB it goes offline)

As you say its JUST user files then put it all on a cheap NAS box. But with 20 servers (and growing?) then you need to be planning a storage domain that gives you Business Continuity in the event of server/storage failure or  site disaster. Start looking at a SAN with RAID for all your production data with a NAS head using the same SAN for the servers that don't warrant the cost of a FC HBA.
DisorganiseConnect With a Mentor Commented:
For knitting your space together you can probably use DFS - I think you might need windows enterprise edition for some of the more funky options. but it'll alow to logically knit various shares together.
It also allows replication using FRS to provide redundancy in case a server dies.  There are some limitations though - about 400GB I think, but maybe this changes with windows 2008.

In years past, we had 50 odd servers presented via a single drive letter to the users with DFS (no replication).  we abandoned it after discovering the root server is always connected to first - we had the 50 server spread out over  a WAN in various branch locations - we wanted them to share files when needed but realise it's be slow, but have fast access to their local stuff.  like I said, all access went via the root server which made everyone slow so it was abandoned.  But if your 20 are all on a LAN, you wouldn't have that issue.
peerlesspumpAuthor Commented:
I think we are going to use a Datacore solution that seemed almost like the StorNext.

Thanks to all
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