Add storage NAS, SAN, iSCSI?

Posted on 2007-04-10
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I need to add at least 200GB of storage to two locations with older servers having no room for additional disks.  Was looking into the Adaptec SNAP server with 500GB for under $1k, but no RAID.  Our NetWare servers are all NW6SP5.  Thinking about creating a iSCSI target server.  Will NW6SP5 work ok?  Please comment on experiences with SNAP vs. iscsi SAN.  
Question by:facutvivo
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alextoft earned 1000 total points
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Personally I'm not a great fan of "black box" solutions. They provide little benefit except a snazzy chassis. The ease of setup is offset by utter lack of functionality and flexibility.

NW6 is getting on a bit now, but I believe the iSCSI initiator was introduced somewhere around SP3. Personally I'd have a look at knocking up a Linux box, configure a software RAID5 with a few big discs, reserve a big partition, then point an iSCSI target at it. SuSE makes this very easy with the handy iSCSI gui wizard in yast, but any modern Linux distro can handle this.

I/O doesn't need massive CPU power, so it should be easy to do at reasonable cost.
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ShineOn earned 1000 total points
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I agree with alextoft to a degree.  Take a pass on the (too pricey, IMO) NAS solutions.

However, whichever home-grown SAN target you choose to do - SuSE or NetWare 6 - work within your comfort zone.  NetWare 6 server licenses should still be free - they were last time I checked.  If not, then a SuSE box is the logical choice 'cause thein it's just your hardware and your time.

You get more bang for the buck doing either, than with a NAS box.  That SNAP server for under $1K, serving 500GB no RAID - take the same money and get a halfway-decent used rackmount server off eBay, load it up with disk and RAID it - probably end up with more disk for less money, plus you get the assurance of RAID.  If you don't need rackmount, use any reliable PC that can hold several disk drives.  IDE/SATA is dirt cheap per gig these days...
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Expert Comment

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The Asker has NetWare v6.5.... not v6.0.

By NetWare v6.5 SP3, the NetWare server can be both an iSCSI initiator *and* a target.

The issue with iSCSI is the overhead.  If you have a dedicated link between the target and initiator, this shouldn't be all that much of an issue.
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oh goody, fine comments from XE, tyvm.  passing on the NAS; SATA is soo cheap, right and I want the RAID, although software RAID gives me the creeps a bit.    the SCSI in iSCSI is generic for storage?  iSATA?

We are NW6 at present, SP5.  I have licenses for NW6.5 but have not upgraded yet.  How would you rate the upgrade difficulty?  

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iSCSI is a transport technology for SAN.  It allows you to use Ethernet instead of Fiber Channel to build your SAN topology.

It's not a storage device or a generic term.  It's the actual name for the technology that lets you set up a NIC (the initiator) to connect to your SAN device (the target) and access the storage devices on the SAN device.

They call it iSCSI because it uses the same kind of signal data as SCSI only it sends/receives it over Ethernet.

If you want to spend a ton of cash on Fiber Channel for your SAN, fine.  iSCSI is a lower-cost alternative.

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