Hz so good wrote:
The reason I brought up iSCSI and SATA was that I was under the impression that iSCSI was big in the server space, and supported fast transfer speeds, multi-user access, more reliable, and the like. I could be (and probably am) wrong about that.
iSCSI is basically a way of sending SCSI commands across a TCP/IP network. Think of it as turning your Ethernet connection into the equivalent of a parallel SCSI adapter (somewhere between Ultra2 Wide and Ultra3 in terms of speed, but with the risk of contention with other network traffic.) In principle, yes, you can have multiple systems access the same disk at the same time. In practice, though, unless the systems are designed to coordinate with each other (using, for example, Clustered XFS or a similar filesystem), you will
get filesystem corruption, just like you would if multiple systems accessed the same physical hard drive at the same time.
From what you've said elsewhere in that comment, I'd say forget iSCSI, and just go with a plain vanilla NAS.
Hz so good wrote:
I need to know which NAS supports GiGe, what types of drives and RAID levels, and mgmt options available. I'm checking out the Synology box recommended above, but I'm always open to other options.
Qnap is, if I remember rightly, the other big player in the space, and I think Thecus has a few possibilities as well; I can only comment directly on the Synology, though, since that's what I have.
I'm fairly sure every NAS on the market right now will do gigabit ethernet; many (including the DS2411 that I have) will do teaming as well. 10 Gbps Ethernet is harder to find, as that is (as just brew it said) enterprise-grade stuff; it's nowhere near price levels that are accessible to the typical home user, and it will cost. The only NAS I know of (without digging) that will do it is the Synology DS3612xs, and that's a thousand bucks more than the 2411. Doesn't even give you more hard disk bays for that price (although it will take two twelve bay expansion units, where the 2411 will take only one.) And, to add insult to injury, you have to buy the 10 Gbps adapter separately (Synology do list the supported adapters on their website.)
In short: unless you have some pretty serious performance requirements, 10 Gbps is probably more cost than it's worth. That may change in five or ten years, but for now at least ...
I'd definitely advocate the off the shelf approach with Synology, Qnap, or Thecus, rather than doing a DIY solution; the pain in getting the latter set up is (at least for me) more than the money you'd save, especially since these units come with relatively easy web browser interfaces to configure, instead of having to do it all at the command line. (Yeah, I can do it. But this is stuff I [used to] do for a living; I don't particularly want to do it at home as well.)