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With the Advent of 10G Network Adapters…

I think it actually makes a lot of sense to build a diskless multimedia desktop now.  One NFS server hidden somewhere in the garage, then a desktop that has a silent power supply and cooling system (read: Zalman), and the computer will emit zero noise!  Perfect for watching movies, listening to/producing music and stuff.  And it will automatically centralize daily backups too!

The trick would be to find a cheap gigabit switch with at least one 10G port.


Uhh... I haven't seen a hard drive that's capable of saturating even a gigabit connection!

And sure, you can use mirrors, or parity striping, but I wouldn't be surprised if you hit a bottleneck elsewhere.

Don't forget latency is still an issue, too!
Yup, that's why a GigE switch with a 10G port will suffice: Clients only needs a 1G connection, and the server will be able to serve multiple clients over the 10G port.

Yes, latency is another issue, but it usually doesn't make that much of a difference, especially if frequently accessed databases (such as /etc/{passwd,group} and friends) are centralized onto the file server and clients refer to them over LDAP, NIS+ or some other means.
Yes, but I still think the 10G port will be wasted on the server. Unless you are planning some high-throughput array, in which case, I will have to ask what in the hell you are doing. :)

And latency I mean in the context of braindead software that insists on making blocking file accesses all the time. Like, say, CIFS. ;)