So, thinking about the previous NAS related posts we come to the following conclusions:
- We like using Xserves as front ends because of the superior AFP performance
- The Xserve front ends also do a good job providing window shares
- It is easier to emulate cifs with third party software (samba) than it is afp (netatalk)
So the question would be can we use the Apple infrastructure to front end the storage solution.
We have not done this but the Queensland Brain Institute has done some interesting work front ending a SUN SAM/QFS HSM with Xserves to give afp functionality.
The interesting trick from the QBI document is NFS mounting large chunks of sun filestores and then using the xserves to re offer the user specific shares.
The NFS solution doesn't have to be Sun, it could be a BlueArc or NetApp box, and the storage backend doesn't have to be SAM/QFS, it could be something like honeycomb if we want persistent storage, or possibly just storage we don't want to ever backup, or it could just be come classic storage, or something like thumper with additional inherent resilience from using ZFS.
Some experimentation may be necessary.
This post references the following posts: