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We are looking at implementing network attached storage to host some our DFS shares. Who are the good / bad vendors? Has anybody already tried this and did it work for them are there better alternatives? Are there any gotchas that we should lookout for. Thanks

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I'll comment rather than answer because I haven't actually tried one of these babies out, but if I had the monthly budget I would totally grab a Zettabits box: -> no hardware costs, automatic encrypted backup to S3, dang it. – Ben Dunlap Jun 18 '09 at 22:51
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If you use Netapp and the RAID4 WAFL filesystem be aware that your I/O performance will plummet if your disk volumes get nearly full (i.e. > 90% used). I had this problem on several clustered filers and was told by Netapp that my only solution was to buy more Netapps. This led to us replacing our Netapp filers with EMC arrays.

Having said all that... I love Netapps. They are very easy to use and work great for situations where they fit.

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I like NetAPP filers, they're good value, pretty fast and have great functionality but they're really not cheap and they don't perform as well under heavy load as a decent SAN.

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I have heard great things about Netapp, but I haven't had the cash to pick one up.

I have had two SNAP! appliances, and the performance was horrible on both. One has been junked, the other relegated to near-offline of probably-useless data.

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If you're looking to absolutally max it out, and run RAID, you need to look at the quality of the RAID controller.

A basic, or older, controller will use smaller logical block addressing, which often gives you a maximum of 2TB per array. Avoid these if possible, because you will be hating it when you try to upgrade past the 2TB limit.

If you're also going for RAID and plan on using caching, check for backup batteries on the controller. If you use cache and don't have a backup battery, an unexpected power outage will corrupt whatever was being written. A backup battery solves this problem.

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You can look at an IBM Express N3300 NAS as well. Generally they come out cheaper than Netapp and have the same functionality. A lot of the price of a NAS is the software you license with it.

Also the drives on the IBM side might be a bit pricey but you do get what you pay for they very rarely fail however. It could be something to consider if you have the budget for it.

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