Instead of buying new file servers, many small and midsize companies are turning to lower-cost NAS appliances to fulfill their storage needs. Until recently, however, this meant a trade-off: Most workgroup-class network-attached storage appliances cannot be scaled easily and lack the redundancy found in file servers.
Now, a pair of NAS products—Dell Computer Corp.s PowerVault 755N and Tricord Systems Inc.s Lunar Flare—break new ground in this area.
The PowerVault 755N, basically a Dell PowerEdge server running Microsoft Corp.s Server Appliance Kit 2.0, is the first NAS appliance eWeek Labs has seen that taps SAK 2.0s advanced features, previously available only in large-scale NAS offerings. The Lunar Flare offers impressive clustering capabilities, something we havent seen in other products in this class.
Our tests showed the PowerVault has a higher upfront cost but offers immediate performance gains and can scale to a higher capacity (7 terabytes) down the road. The Lunar Flare, on the other hand, costs less and offers more storage at the low end but quickly becomes expensive as it scales to accommodate growth.
In tests using Ziff Davis Media Inc.s NetBench 7.0 benchmark, which measures file server performance, the Lunar Flares performance scaled linearly, besting the PowerVault in performance—if not price—with a 16-node cluster. The PowerVault bested the Lunar Flare in smaller cluster performance.