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We are looking to rip-and-replace our N3700 from IBM (NAS/SAN rebranded Netapp box).

The problem:

  • expensive annual maintenance around $7k
  • FC only drives that have been discontinued
  • only 4TB of raw space

Although the box is "high end" for what it can do (iscsi/san/nas/nfs/etc.) it is just too much annually to justify keeping it around for our basic file storage needs.

So, can you recommend (from actual experience) NAS products catered to the SMB crowd (around 300 employees using it)?

List pros/cons/pricing please.

EDIT: budget for me is around $15-25k

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closed as too localized by Mark Henderson Jan 14 '12 at 3:32

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6 Answers 6

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You may want to check out SmallNetBuilder as they regularly benchmark and review NAS offerings. A link to their NAS charts can be found below. You can select the different tests for individual abilities. Good stuff.

NAS Rankings

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I'm accepting DHayes' answer because it will help people in the future with the link to SmallNetBuilder. In the end, for us we went with a Lacie 12Big NAS. –  TheCleaner Jan 25 '10 at 19:21

We have 2 new Nexenta based boxes from Pogo. We like them and they cost less than HP and IBM.

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We have two Qnap NASs. Currently we have the 409U, which hold 4 drives, up to 2TB per drive. I believe the bigger brother to ours can be used as an iSCSI target. We really like this unit, it can be expanded to do more than just host files too. We use one of them to as an iTunes host for our hold music.

Here are some you can look at for prices and other info:

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In my opinion, you get what you pay for. I've worked with a few different NAS/SANs and I keep coming back to NetApp as an ideal box if you have variety of needs. The multi-protocol nature of the box makes it extremely versatile and the software (SnapManager) makes it flexible. If reliability and flexibility are critical to you, you're going to find that similarly equipped hardware is hard to find. Have you considered just upgrading to the latest NetApp box with SAS drives? Perhaps you don't need all the software which should significantly reduce its price.

That all said, we're entering a time right now where "Consumer level NAS" has some relatively impressive features for the dollar. For example, a Synology DS1010+ could be linked and scale to the size you're requesting. It should have excellent performance and should be able to handle the traffic you're discussing.

http://www.synology.com/us/news/us/2010/1_20_10_DS1010_Launch.php

Without knowing your budget, it's hard to make a recommendation though.

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added pricing to OP –  TheCleaner Jan 21 '10 at 18:57

Are you people comparing Qnap/Synology NASs with enterprise grade SAN/NAS offerings from NetApp et al?

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Can you outline some usage scenarios? The kind of box you need will differ depending on your usage.

If it's host hosting SMB file shares the kind of array you require is going to be very different to hosting VMFS VMWare LUNs for 300 users...

If you want a very customisable solution that scales well, you can build a SAN system from components, like so:

  • 1 x HP DL360 G5 with 2Gb RAM
  • 1 x HP MSA70 bundled with drives
  • 1 x SAS card
  • 1 x Quad-Port Gigabit PCIe NIC
  • 12 x SAS 146Gb disks for hosting VMWare LUNs
  • 12 x SATA 300Gb disks for hosting flat files
  • 1 x copy of OpenFiler

The system will take a variable number of SAS cards/shelves. Each MSA70 can be daisy chained with a second one, and each card has 2 SAS ports. So 2 cards in the server = 8 shelves with a max capacity of 60Tb RAW, and you can scale all the way down to a single card with an MSA bundle deal that'll yeild the 4Tb you need.

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There's a disadvantage to doing it this way. You don't have a single vendor you can bitch and moan at when it all goes horribly wrong. At least if you bought a NetApp or 3Par device, you could have some serious words with your Account Manager when it all goes screwy and nothing works. –  Tom O'Connor Jan 21 '10 at 22:39
    
True, although the flipside of that is running on hardware that's proven in a much wider set of scenarios with more generic standards and compliance, rather than being stuck on a single vendors product all wrapped up on itself. I tend to find that when I have to call up a vendor and bitch, it's because of something highly specific to that vendors product. There's good and bad sides to this. If you're not doing anything on the high performance end of the scale and without special requirements, I think DIY SAN setups are an idea that are starting to gain some respect in that niche. –  Chris Thorpe Jan 22 '10 at 12:24

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