[rescue] Total corporate madness (

Joshua D. Boyd jdboyd at celestrion.celestrion.net
Wed Aug 6 13:20:04 CDT 2003

On Wed, Aug 06, 2003 at 12:44:33PM -0500, Jonathan C. Patschke wrote:

> You know, a neat hack would be a small FC-AL box (like the Sun 611
> form-factor) with either an FC-AL<->FDDI or FC-AL<->Ethernet "bridge"
> board that has an IP stack and talks NFS/AFP/SMB.  Even neater would be
> a way to stack or daisy-chain them for RAID.  At that point, you could
> go nuts and make the multiple Ethernet ports (as a result of stacking)
> talk EtherChannel for a fatter pipe to workstations.
> I don't know how efficient such a product would be, but it'd be damned
> cute, and probably easy enough for Joe Luser to use.

The stacking request makes things harder.  

A few thoughts come to mind.  If the vendor sells this as a closed box
system, it would make more sense to use IDE for economy of scale
reasons.  Given the cost of high speed embedded controllers, it's cheaper
to add the smarts to overcome IDE's weaknesses than it is to use SCSI or
FC-AL disks.  That sucks, but that's the way life is.

The next thought is that the easiest way to do this would be with either
embedded linux or embedded NetBSD.  That gives you a file system, TCP/IP,
NFS, CIFS, and whatever Macs used to use for free.  There are lots of
dirt cheap microcontrollers that can run these OSs for very little
money.  Sparc, PPC, and Renasas SuperH come to mind as likely sub $30
candidates that either OS should run on nicely.

A third thought is build in a system for NetApp style snapshots.

A forth thought.  Enterprise storage is a market with very hot
competition right now.  The hardware is easy, but the main selling
points seem to be software and managability.  Essentially, people don't
seem to care what the hardware costs if the software for it will allow
them to fire a few admins.

A fifth thought.  The home market probably sucks because anyone who
realizes why they might want this will also know that they can very
cheaply by a Dell with two 200 gig IDE disks extremely cheaply, and that
they can then set it up to do file sharing pretty easily, and thus, they
don't want to spend extra money on use.

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