Kevin Blanchard's Biotechnology Blog: Early reviews of Xsan look good

December 30, 2004

Early reviews of Xsan look good

The current issue of Bio-IT World has an early review of Apple's new enterprise-class storage file system Xsan.

Traditionally, file systems like NFS have become the bottleneck of clusters even moderately sized. NFS allows each node access to a portion of the head node's disk space on the RAID for read/write operations. The problem with this is that it does not allow full access to the entire RAID(s), only the head node's portion. Here comes Xsan to fill in those gaps.

This article goes on to explain how the tests were done on the prerelease of Xsan and the improvement achieved when implementing it on the university of Pittsburgh's 125 node cluster.

*You may also note this quote from the article for all the non-mac users running similar setups.

"This is great, but you might be asking yourself, "Am I locked into using Apple's triple-X product offering to deploy this sort of technology on my cluster?" Although Apple might prefer it if you did, the answer is no. Apple has taken an aggressive open-technology stance within this architecture. The underlying Fibre Channel technology is standards-based. You can mix and match Fibre Channel cards and switches from Brocade, QLogic, Emulex, and so on. You can use Fibre Channel storage devices other than the Xserve RAID. Xsan's underlying cluster file system is compatible with ADIC's StorNext file system, so you can even mix in Linux, Solaris, Windows, etc., clients with corollary client software from ADIC."


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