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So my company is looking to switch to a DAS San storage system for our internal fileshare. I'm wondering if there are any great tutorials detailing how to set this up and what kind of equipment I'll need to buy?

Edit

My question was conflicting so let me make it a little more clear. I'm needing to build a direct-attached storage system for our internal fileshare. We're currently using an XServe and the AFP protocol. It works great, but we're running out of room and the idea of a San-esque service was appealing because I could (in my mind at least) keep adding drives to it as we needed and it would expand the virtual volume.

Any suggestions on where to go from here?

Thanks!

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Which is is, a DAS or a SAN - they're very different and therefore your question is currently invalid - we need more information. This question may also be moved or closed for a number of other reasons, please read our FAQ and revise as required. –  Chopper3 Sep 8 '11 at 16:34
    
Sorry, I've updated my question. –  Jesse Bunch Sep 8 '11 at 20:37

4 Answers 4

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I agree with Sven- don't use apple hardware for storage. Now you're talking about "SAN-type" storage, however that means different things to different people. I'm going to assume you like the fact that it's centralized, highly available, high performance, and expandable. I'm not going to assume that you need disk level access to it because that's something you see in the requirements of databases, not macs.

Your best bet would be a NAS. Avoid AFP and go with NFS, which mac OSX uses perfectly. The advantage of NFS is that it opens you up to a wide array of NAS vendors that could do the job.

NAS hardware comes in a spectrum from grungy little 4 drive garbage cans to Netapp filers. The more you spend, the more expandable and highly available it'll be.

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As long as your environment is something else than "just a few Macs only", I would seriously recommend to not use OS X Lion Server, and especially not with XSAN.

  • XSAN requires fibre channel interfaces, but you can't buy XServes anymore, and MacPros are no substitutes for servers, but this is the only Apple hardware left in which you can put in a FC controller
  • The XSAN technology appears to be a dead end. Apple doesn't give a roadmap, but I doubt they will do any more updates to it since they bundled it into the $50 joke that is Lion Server (which has an uncertain future of it's own).
  • Lion Server can't act as a (Samba) Domain Controller anymore, therefore restricting the usefulness of OpenDirectory to Mac clients.

Given the change of focus for Apple in recent years, I won't trust them anymore for anything on the server side and you can rest assured that the little bit they still offer will be discontinued without any respect to their customers and the investments in hardware, software and knowledge they made if it doesn't fit Apple's plans anymore.

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Thanks, that helps. –  Jesse Bunch Sep 8 '11 at 20:33

The right system for you is going to be based on a lot of factors. Do you need NAS or SAN? How much performance? How many files (approx) and how much storage capacity?

I agree with SvenW, do NOT invest in XSAN - the product is on its way out.

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Xsan is not on its way out and is included for free with Lion (10.7) and Mountain Lion (10.8)

Setting it up with a Mac Pro or a Mac Mini Server with Promise SANlink works very well. A Fiber Channel switch is an expense, but not having to pay $1K per client for Xsan licenses is a major improvement.

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