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Performance, reliability and scalability in data-access are key issues in the context of the computing Grid and High Energy Physics data processing and analysis applications, in particular considering the large data size and I/O load that a Large Hadron Collider data centre has to support. In this paper we present the technical details and the results of a large scale validation and performance measurement employing different data-access platforms-namely CASTOR, dCache, GPFS and Scalla/Xrootd. The tests have been performed at the CNAF Tier-1, the central computing facility of the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Research (INFN). Our storage back-end was based on Fibre Channel disk-servers organized in a Storage Area Network, being the disk-servers connected to the computing farm via Gigabit LAN. We used 24 disk-servers, 260 TB of raw-disk space and 280 worker nodes as computing clients, able to run concurrently up to about 1100 jobs. The aim of the test was to perform sequential and random read/write accesses to the data, as well as more realistic access patterns, in order to evaluate efficiency, availability, robustness and performance of the various data-access solutions.