hoggoth writes "As a common everyman who needs big, fast, reliable storage without a big budget, I have been following a number of emerging technologies and I think they have finally become usable in combination. Specifically, it appears to me that I can put together the little brother of a $50,000 NAS/SAN solution for under $3,000. Storage experts: please tell me why this is or isn't feasible." Read on for the details of this cheap storage solution.
Get a CoolerMaster Stacker enclosure like this one (just the hardware not the software) that can hold up to 12 SATA drives. Install OpenSolaris and create ZFS pools with RAID-Z for redundancy. Export some pools with Samba for use as a NAS. Export some pools with iSCSI for use as a SAN. Run it over Gigabit Ethernet. Fast, secure, reliable, easy to administer, and cheap. Usable from Windows, Mac, and Linux. As a bonus ZFS let's me create daily or hourly snapshots at almost no cost in disk space or time.
Total cost: 1.4 Terabytes: $2,000. 7.7 Terabytes: $4,200 (Just the cost of the enclosure and the drives). That's an order of magnitude less expensive than other solutions.
Add redundant power supplies, NIC cards, SATA cards, etc as your needs require.