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Using SANs and NAS W Curtis Preston
Published by O'Reilly
ISBN:0-596-00153-3
218 pages
£ 20.95
Published: 20th February 2002
reviewed by Virantha Mendes
   in the May 2002 issue (pdf), (html)
bookcover  

The emerging trend of using SAN/NAS for storage requirements is evident everywhere. Large companies that have to deal with mounting amount of data are increasingly looking into SAN and NAS technologies as a solution. But, what are SAN (Storage Area Networks) and NAS (Network Attached Storage)? The answer can be easily summed up by looking at the two animals used on the cover of the book.

O'Reilly has used two very similar looking animals (hyrax and pika) but genetically vastly different to each other. SAN and NAS are the same in the sense that they are deployed in very similar circumstances but have very different technologies behind them and are also managed differently. SANs are primarily based on fibre channel architecture wheres NAS is based on NFS or CIFS (Common Internet File System from our friends at Redmond).

The author of the book, Curtis Preston is trying to demystify the aura behind these two solutions. For each of the solutions he has devoted three chapters: Architecture, Management and Backup Recovery. Each chapter is packed with diagrams and easy to read wealth of information. The style of writing makes the understanding of complex issues, especially surrounding SANs, very easy.

My only criticism is the lack of any vendor specific solutions in the SANs section. Had the author included a few examples of SANs he has designed in the past with vendor specific information, it would have given the reader a much greater perspective of the subject.

The focus of the book are new comers into this arena and the practising professionals who will find this a valuable reference book. I can say this book is a must for any person engaged in storage administration.

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