The ActiveRAID is a low-level block storage system. If not connected via a Fibre Channel network to a Storage Area Network, it can front-ended by a
fibre attached server which then reshares the storage to users via Ethernet using common filesharing protocols such as AFP, SMB/CIFS or NFS.
Most often this is done using an Apple Xserve or an Apple Mac Pro. These
servers run the sophisticated Mac OS X server software and provide the highest level of performance and
security serving data. Ethernet user storage sharing connectivity by storage systems is provided by
embedding a server into the RAID system, which in turn reshares the storage to users on the Ethernet
network. This is commonly called NAS or Network Attached Storage. This approach can be cost-effective
in smaller installations, but often with more sophisticated and higher capacity installations cannot provide
the level of security or performance a dedicated server can provide at the same cost. Dedicated “filers” do
a good job of providing this, but often come with much higher maintenance costs and are slower to
provide compatibility in an ever evolving Mac OS X environment.