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RE: Linux as MS/Mac Fileserver?


Depending on your storage needs, I would look at building a storage server
array or Network Appliance Filer.

As for IDE or SCSI, determine the throughput speed you need. IDE is a great
technology for desktop systems where speed is important but limited to 1
user. SCSI shines in its higher throughput when it has to handle multiple
request at the same time.


If IDE is you need, look at some of the NAS boxes available from Snap
(Quantum) and Maxtor. The Snap Appliances 4100 has a 300 gig model for
$4,500 (210gig usable with Raid 5)
http://www.buysnapappliances.com/searchresults.asp?search_id=8 . There are
several other models that are smaller if that is your need. 

SCSI: Building your own "Network Attached Server w/ Storage"

The storage server array should be from a name brand mfg with a support
contract. Dell and IBM have some excellent hardware that has Linux drivers.
Don't use software raid. Invest in a Raid card with at least 16mb of memory
if not much more. I most often utilize Raid 5 for my storage array and when
it is done at the hardware level (utilizing the Raid Card) the entire array
appears as one "drive" to the OS keeping things nice and simple.

If you are moving large files over the network, I would look at adding a
multi port network card (utilizing FastEtherChannel or Teaming) (Intel makes
a nice one) that will allow you to scale to 4 100MB connections to 800mb
Full Duplex or add a single 1 Gig card if you current switch support either

For ease of use, high performance SCSI storage, look at Network Appliances
Filers. Once you get over the cost factor, the performance and reliability
are superb. You won't have to worry about drive failures as the box "phones
home" to notify NetApp that a drive has failed and they will come out to
replace it. This is what Yahoo uses for storage for their website. They have
several Terabytes running on NetApp Filers and according to the NetApp sales
rep that pitched me the product, Yahoo is very happy with them.

As always, do your homework and evaluate before you buy. The Snap NAS box
should be easy to test as its an off the shelf product with a 30 day return
warranty. If your interested in the NetApp Filer, call them and they will
bring one out for you to test for 15-45 days if needed.

- David

-----Original Message-----
From: Ashley M. Kirchner [mailto:ashley pcraft com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2001 8:33 PM
To: Red Hat Mailing List
Subject: Re: Linux as MS/Mac Fileserver?

    Funny, after posting the layout, suddenly the thread dies.  I hope I
didn't scare people off.

    Anyways, next issue to tackle: Storage Device

    We transfer large files across our network, some 80 to 85% of our
work lies roughly between 50Mb and 1Gb worth of information, per job
(with an average of some 30 to 50 jobs sitting on the system at any
point in time.)  So, we need to be able to retrieve and save these large
files fairly fast.  Now, I realize I'm restricted by the network speed,
that's fine.  I'm not worried about that, however I don't want to have a
bottle neck on the server because it's not saving/reading data fast
enough.  Keep in mind that data retrieval, or saving might be coming
from between 1 to 5, and up to 10 machines at the same time.  (yes, a
lot of data transfer at the same time)

    How do you folks feel about the following:

    a) SCSI versus IDE
        - First, we like speed, however, I don't like the cost
          involved with SCSI, certainly not for a big file server
        - Second, I keep hearing that SCSI's outlast IDE's.  I don't
          have any concrete info on this and I'm hoping someone can
          give me some idea here.

    b) RAIDs
        - How do you feel about IDE RAIDs versus SCSI ones?  Again,
          keeping cost in mind, IDE seems to give more bang for the
          bucks, however, longevity becomes a concern.

    We've had RAID SCSI's for the past 7 years now, and we've already
run into trouble with it, when one of the drives died.  The system uses
a striped, 2 channel setup which I would like to do away with and setup
a mirrored RAID.  However, how much of a performance hit will I take if
I went with an IDE setup?  Also, don't IDE's tend to change faster than
SCSI's (in terms of how long one is able to last on the market, before
having to go find a replacement when it dies)?

    Right now, I can not find Seagate, 4.5Gb narrow SCSI's anymore, so
if any one of the eight drives in that old machine were to go right now,
we're screwed.

    I'm open for suggestions here.

H | Hi, I'm currently out of my mind.  Please leave a message.  BEEEEP!
  Ashley M. Kirchner <mailto:ashley pcraft com>   .   303.442.6410 x130
  Director of Internet Operations / SysAdmin    .     800.441.3873 x130
  Photo Craft Laboratories, Inc.            .     3550 Arapahoe Ave, #6
  http://www.pcraft.com ..... .  .    .       Boulder, CO 80303, U.S.A.

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