We have around 10 users accessing our Linux-based RAID-5 SATA 2 TB storage server at a time. They import approximately 1.5 MB of more than 200 to 300 frames (TGA files) into their application and then render the same to the same storage. Our I/O latency is pretty high, sometimes their application barely responds and all the users connecting to this server feel the slowness. We would like to implement a better storage system and are looking at a SAN. Some dealers are pushing iSCSI, which we don't feel would suit our purpose, what would be your advice?
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So, if you are doing lots of large writes and updates, you may want to look at not using RAID-5 given its parity overhead impact on performance. You might consider RAID-0+1 as well as look at migrating to higher performance SAS disk drives. While a NAS server may be a good fit, if you are using your Linux server for file serving that would accomplish the same purpose. However, take a look to see if you have adequate network bandwidth to your clients. iSCSI could be a good fit. However, if your users are accessing a shared volume, than NAS could be a good fit. On the other hand, iSCSI storage with SAS disk drives attached to your Linux server would be a good solution as well.
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This was first published in April 2006