We’ve been a big NAS shop for a number of years, actually well before I come on board. We are starting to use SAN more and more nowadays. We have a much more stable SAN fabric (the network side of fiber channel storage for those of you keeping score at home). So I spend several days before the break fighting with various SAN issues. Most of them were my lack of particular experience with our SAN implementation as well as host level tools. The pain of SAN comes largely from the host end. Your SAN device (even in our case with NetAPP) is probably pretty good at doing it’s end and is well documented. But on the linux side SAN is very vendor specific, which always leads to problems. For example if you are using an EMC you have to get supported HBAs then in some cases run a custom kernel to support that HBA and then you probably end up needed vendor specific tools for handling things. In my setup I don’t need a custom kernel, but we do have to support a small vendor package of tools. NetApp is actually pretty good when it comes linux supoprt, they package RPMs in most cases and stay current with versions as far as support.
Recently I just got back from LISA (Large Install System Administrators) Conference in San Diego. Overall I really enjoy this conference. My employer generally doesn’t spend very much on conferences, at least not for people in my position, so it’s nice that I get to go to this one. There are very few Sysadmin specific conferences out there. Velocity seems to have some potential despite it being very Web (2.0) centric. I haven’t been to Velocity so I really can’t comment.