Your article, "NAS vendors switching to Windows" (see InfoStor, May 2001, p. 1], is quite Microsoft-biased, and the information about Linux maturity and features set is dated.
The Linux-based NAS operating system is an up-and-coming contender. Products, which are soon to be announced, will be comparable to Microsoft's SAK and will have advanced features that will keep pace with, and even surpass, Microsoft's network-attached storage (NAS) implementation.
Most Linux-based NAS is feature-for-feature comparable to Windows-based NAS, with the exception of Windows' Active Directory and clustering, which are on many Linux-based NAS vendors' road maps. There are several implementations of Linux-based clustering software. Regarding Active Directory, I know at least one company that is licensing Active Directory and kerberos for Linux. Also,
- There are Linux-based NAS operating systems that have implemented snapshot capability;
- Linux-based NAS with the XFS File System is more powerful and scalable than Microsoft's NTFS;
- There are Administration Browsers that are more intuitive, easier to use, faster, and smoother than Microsoft's; and
- Stability tests we have run with Linux-based operating systems show them to be very stable across heterogeneous environments and workloads.
Keep in mind that the Compaq TaskSmart, Dell PowerVault, and Maxtor MaxAttach NAS products all have very different target markets and price points and, therefore, vary in feature sets to accommodate different customer needs. Especially in the entry-to-mid-level markets, Windows' advanced features set is often not needed.
I do agree that, at the time Windows was being evaluated for the TaskSmart and PowerVault series, Linux wasn't ready. But Linux is coming up fast on Windows' heals. If Linux was that far behind, Dell and Compaq wouldn't have made Linux a strategic initiative.
Senior Director, Technical Marketing, Connex Inc.- a Western Digital company