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Convert Windows Storage Server 2003 (as file server) to a SAN for iSCSI

Posted on 2010-09-17
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
As you can tell by the question title I don't know much about SAN or iSCSI. I'm looking into setting one up here so we can effectively virtualize our environment.

We have Windows Storage Server 2003 currently in use as a file server with network shares. I have over 1.5 TB of space on here which is plenty for our organization. What do I have to do to this computer to get it ready to be a SAN/iSCSI if anything? It already has a RAID setup.
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Question by:LlewellynIT
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11 Comments
 
LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 33707528
You might have got the MS iSCSI target software included, you may have to buy it depending on what make/model your WSS server is.

You may have 1.5TB space available but do you have enough IOPS for the load virtualization will put on it? WSS boxes are often built using high capacity low speed disks which are rarely fast enough to replace the disks in the current servers in a virtualization migration. You can run perfmon or similar to see how many IOPS the other current servers require.
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LVL 42

Expert Comment

by:kevinhsieh
ID: 33710522
From what I can tell, the Windows Unified Data Storage Server 2003 includes the ability to serve as an iSCSI SAN, but the regular Windows Storage Server 2003 does not.

You can add software from starwindsoftware.com or http://www.datacore.com/products/prod_SANmelody.asp to convert your existing server to an iSCSI SAN, or you can build one using Linux and OpenFiler or buy an iSCSI appliance from Dell, Celeros, Drobo, HP, NetApp, IBM, EMC, etc.
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Author Comment

by:LlewellynIT
ID: 33789281
Wouldn't turning a file server into an iSCSI-like device still introduce a single point of failure for the entire system? I'd hate for the file server to freeze/lockup and take everything down.
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Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 33789377
Of course it's a SPOF.

You still haven't told us make/model so can't confirm whether iSCSI target is bundled in or available as addon.
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LVL 42

Expert Comment

by:kevinhsieh
ID: 33790120
Yes it's a single point of failure for whateer is on it, but there are products such as from StarWind and HP LeftHand that allow you to set up clusters that can sustain a failure of 1 or more storage servers.
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Author Comment

by:LlewellynIT
ID: 33800033
Moving our current system that has a SPOF to another that has a SPOF doesn't seem wise to me. Seems like a lot of work for nothing.
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LVL 42

Accepted Solution

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kevinhsieh earned 2000 total points
ID: 33800883
You never specified what your end goal is. What are you really trying to accomplsish? What are the engineering requirements? A single Windows box is a point of failure. If you have a way to cluster them so that one can die and you don't lose access to your data, that's a different story. If you're looking at putting everything onto a SAN, that's a pretty significant change to how your environment is engineered.
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Author Comment

by:LlewellynIT
ID: 33836532
If I could have two high-powered servers running Hyper V, each with the same virtual servers running on them, with a primary constantly replicating to the secondary, with the secondary as the failover in case the primary server goes down. As I understand it this requires 3rd-party software to accomplish, but is possible. Our current setup has Exchange entirely installed on a single server, and obviously if that goes down our best bet currently is to rebuild from a backup. Data loss + downtime are the issues here.
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LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 33836547
You've gone so far from the original question that I'm unsubscribing.
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Author Comment

by:LlewellynIT
ID: 33836571
I was answering Kevin's question Andyalder. Not sure why you're getting so angry about this. Thanks for your extremely rude answers that did not help at all. Kevin was able to help the most in describing that this change is extreme for our environment, so we will be picking another route.
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Author Closing Comment

by:LlewellynIT
ID: 33836575
Thank you for pointing this out, this solution really is pointless since we still end up with a SPOF. Thank you for asking the right question which was - what was our end goal? This helped get to the point rather quickly, thanks!
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