Low end NAS recommendation with good IO for ESXi or XenServer

I have run into a brick wall with a client who refuses to spend more than $6000 for a new server but wants 99% uptime.  The best way  can come close to this is by virtualizing his server but I need to find a low end NAS box that has raid 5 capability and good IO.

In my typical environments, I have clients that are not afraid to pay for products, but not this time...

Here is what I plan to use for him:
- XenServer
- two Dell Optiplex GX740/8GBRAM/ADM x2 5200 processor/2x260GB HDD RAID1
- SBS 2008 standard

Now for shared storage I am looking for some NAS storage solutions that support RAID5 with good IO.  I am aware of openfiler or freenas but I would rather introduce a product with a smaller footprint.

I would really prefer they permit something like the MD3000 from Dell but that is way too much for their budget.  Anyone have any thoughts?

If I have to walk away from them I am completely prepared to do so..
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nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Asked:
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Kerem ERSOYPresidentCommented:
Hi,

I'll suggest  oyu to use Open Filer. It is really like a Commercial NAS, supports RAID 0 through 5 and it is open sourceand free. IT supports multiple volumes with a good GUI and Performance is really high thanks to XFS system. Also integrates easily both to Linux and Windows alike. In windows mode supports even Active Directory. Supports SAMBA etc.

Here you can find the product:
http://www.openfiler.com/
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
Check this out, not the best solution but at least you'll have support

http://blog.fosketts.net/2009/04/16/iomega-storcenter-ix4-200r/

Supports iSCSI and NFS
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za_mkhCommented:
Thanks Paulsolov ... that looks like just the perfect thing for a standby site ... :-)
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
Looks like it would make a nice device for a lab environment or iso and templates repository as well.  I agree, this may be a good destination for a vReplicator job
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andyalderCommented:
If you are going to use vReplicator do you need NAS or SAN at all, local disks ought to do.

If you use openfiler HA I don't think you would get a year's support for $6000.

Low end NAS without replication doesn't give HA.

A single server gives 99% uptime anyway, you have 3.5 days downtime per year allowance.
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MarkSlingsbyCommented:
Talking from personal experience. We actually had a customers cheap NAS solution fail yesterday. Its harder to bring it back than a single server.

You still have a point of failure with a cheap NAS. Actually you have more than 1 point of failure in your setup which means more potential downtime.

We were using a promise 16 port RAID card in a machine with 8 disks. The raid card just decided to go belly up. We managed to get it working again after 4 hours.

My advice has some options:
1. Use ZFS on Ubuntu - works like a charm. You can swop out a controller as the RAID is done by the OS which makes it more stable, flexible etc. Each disk has a copy of the raid info, each disk knows where in the array it should be so you can even plug in the cables wrong!

2. ZFS with Nexenta.com - relatively inexpensive. Does what a NetApp does at a fraction of the price. Runs ZFS (as above) but has more tools and better supported

3. Use a proper NAS with 4hr response time (and keep backups)
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nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Author Commented:
Thanks.  I decided to walk away from the job. It was not worth the headaches when I would have spent more of their money on my billing time.  Not that I don't like making money but you know what I mean...
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
I think some of us have been there.  When the system goes down they'll go back to you and state that you sold them a solution that doesn't work and then you have to deal with chargebacks.  I feel you.
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