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File Systems Boost NAS

Virtual file systems offer more than global namespace and unified management of storage networking gear. They actually improve its performance.

Though NAS vendors might downplay their role as throughput helpers, suppliers like Acopia Networks Inc., NeoPath Networks, NuView Inc., Rainfinity, and others are helping customers avoid bottlenecks.

Ibis Consulting, for instance, is using Acopia's ARX switches with two BlueArc Corp. Titan NAS systems to help avoid performance problems. Ibis analyzes and transfers huge amounts of electronic data required in legal proceedings.

During the legal discovery process, as information is added to a client's file, Ibis's 150-plus servers might clamor for a "share" or portion of space on a disk in the NAS all at once, causing throughput to slow.

"We collect multiple-terabyte data sets. If we get a particularly large data set, it can physically create a bottleneck," says Ibis CTO Cliff Dutton. He won't quantify the performance lag, but says that adding Acopia headed off a significant potential problem.

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