I really hope this question doesn't come across as trolling or asking for buying advice. It's not intended.
I've just started working for a small ad agency (40 employees). I actually quit being a system administrator a few years ago (too stressful!), but the company we're currently outsourcing our IT stuff to is doing such a bad job that I've felt compelled to get involved and do what I can to improve things.
At the moment, all the company's data is stored on an 8TB external firewire drive attached to a Mac Mini running OS X Server 10.6, which provides filesharing (using AFP) for the whole company. There is a single backup drive, which is actually a caddy containing two 3TB hard drives arranged in RAID 0 (arrggghhhh!), which someone brings in as and when and copies over all the data using Carbon Copy Cloner. That's the entirety of the infrastructure, and the whole backup and restore strategy. I've been having sleepless nights.
I've just started augmenting the backup process with FreeBSD, ZFS, sparse bundles and snapshot sends to get everything offsite. I think this is a workable behind the scenes solution, but for people's day to day use I'm struggling.
Given the quantity and importance of the data, I think we should really be looking towards enterprise level storage solutions, high availability and so on, but the whole company is all Mac all the time, and I cannot find equipment that will do what we need. No more Xserve; no rack storage; no large scale storage at all apart from that Pegasus R6 that doesn't seem all that great; the Mac Pro has fibre channel, but it's not a real server and it's ludicrously expensive; Xsan looks like it's on the way out; things like heartbeatd and failoverd have apparently been removed from Lion Server; the new Mac Mini only has thunderbolt which severely limits our choices; the list goes on and on. I'm really, really not trying to troll here. I love Macs, but I just genuinely don't know where I'm supposed to look for server stuff.
I have considered Linux or FreeBSD and netatalk for serving files with all the server-y goodness those OSes bring, but some the things I've read make me wonder if it's really the way to go. Also, in my own (admittedly quite cursory) experiments with it, I've struggled to get decent transfer speeds. I guess there's also the possibility of switching everyone off AFP and making them use SMB or NFS, but I understand that this can cause big problems with resource forks and file locks.
I figure there must be plenty of all Mac companies out there. If you're the sysadmin at one, what do you use? Any suggestions very gratefully received.