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Cost Effective SAN for Vmware LAB

Posted on 2011-09-17
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Last Modified: 2013-01-28
I have setup a lab using 2 VMware hosts using Openfiler. So far, it runs pretty good, but i want to move onto something faster. I want to piece together an affordable FC or iSCSI SAN for further testing, but im not sure what are the parts i will need. I figure 2 HBAs, Fiber cables, SAN switch, and an disk array. Does that sound right? I'm looking to purchase used off of Ebay. Any assistance would be great.
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Question by:Cobra25
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17 Comments
 
LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 36555689
For a lab why not use a Virtual Storage Appliance? Vmware have their own - http://www.vmware.com/products/datacenter-virtualization/vsphere/vsphere-storage-appliance/overview.html, HP have a LeftHand one www.hp.com/go/VSA, couple of others here, http://www.vmware.com/appliances/directory/cat/6693

60 days limit on the trials but by then it's time to break it apart and start again anyway if you're learning. They're all better than openfiler so long as you have enough disks in your hosts.
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Author Comment

by:Cobra25
ID: 36555694
Not a bad idea, but i would like to learn SAN technology at the same time.
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LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 36555730
Couple of HP MSA1000s available on eBay for under $500, This one's got a couple of fibre channel switches inbuilt. No disks but thet're the same as for normal HP servers so lots available.

 http://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-StorageWorks-Modular-SAN-Array-1000-MSA1000-201723-B22-w-2x-2-8-SAN-Switch-/200653134900?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&hash=item2eb7dbdc34
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Author Comment

by:Cobra25
ID: 36555733
Sweet, so all i would need from here would be HBA's then right? Besides disks obviously.
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Expert Comment

by:duffme
ID: 36555950
Cost effective and Fibre Channel go in different directions ;)  Is is FC SAN that you are looking to learn?  You could go iSCSI for less with more standard and readily available hardware.
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Author Comment

by:Cobra25
ID: 36555951
By cost effective I mean used, and a good value...i know it will cost money, and i'm fine with that. Im interested in iSCSI also so that would work as well. Thanks
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LVL 121
ID: 36556079
Personally, I would look at purchasing a HP ProLiant MicroServer, and using ZFS to create your NAS, and then use NFS or iSCSI. Openfiler is old, poor, not kept up with current developements.

and then checkout Solaris Express 11 (fastest for ZFS), OpenIndiana or OpenIndiana.

These sources for ZFS are providing the fastest benchmarks at present.

Remember for very little money, and low power 68 Watts for a fully loaded MicroServer.
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:gsmartin
ID: 36556144
In addition to hardware you'll need a good SNA Management software.  Below is information regarding and a well known Open sourece NAS/SAN management software.  This software is good for NAS/SANs upto 18Tb.  

Open Source NAS/ SAN Management software
http://www.nexentastor.org/
http://www.nexenta.org/

About suggested (NAS/SNAj hardware:
http://www.nexenta.org/projects/site/wiki/About_suggested_NAS_SAN_Hardware

ScreenShots
http://www.nexentastor.org/projects/site/wiki/Tour

Enterprise Version
http://www.nexenta.com/corp/
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LVL 121
ID: 36556161
whoops, I missed pasted, Nexenta Community Edition!

it's slower than Solaris Express 11 (fastest for ZFS) or OpenIndiana!

So get some hardware, HBA Target Initiator SAS or SATA, and a bunch of disks (non-RAID), and create a ZFS Pool, and use NFS or iSCSI.
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LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 36556410
You're not goint to learn fibre channel using iSCSI, http://shop.ebay.com.sg/?_from=R40&_trksid=m570&_nkw=LP10000-E dirt cheap and hardly matters that they're only 2Gb so long as you have PCI-X slots available.
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LVL 2

Accepted Solution

by:
giladhecht earned 500 total points
ID: 36556628
The easiest way to produce a good (and not expensive) SAN i a banged out old computer,with couple of RAID adapters,a dual-gigabit ethernet PCI-E NIC,and at least 8 Hard drives in order to create a dual Raid5 array.
After everyting is in place,install Openfiler (Linux based SAN) or FreeNas (also free) and create ZFS on the array. create a storage portal,and then assign LUNs.
In my experience,it's effective,and not burning a hole in your pocket.
Both OS sollutions also give you NFS,FTP,SMB protocols,and also Active Directory integration.
Good Luck!
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LVL 4

Author Comment

by:Cobra25
ID: 36902972
I've been using Openfiler for a few now, and i dont really like it too much. I think i want to go with an iscsi setup.
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LVL 121
ID: 36903003
Openfiler supports iSCSI.

But I would recommend a ZFS solution based on the following, fastest iSCSI you'll get for FREE, in the Lab!

Solaris Express 11 (fastest for ZFS), OpenIndiana or Nexenta Community Edition.
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LVL 4

Author Comment

by:Cobra25
ID: 36975687
I will need a gig switch too right, any ideas there?
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LVL 121
ID: 36975692
HP Procurve 1810-24 or 1810-8. Very inexpensive gig switches, that also support jumbo frames.
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:Rahul Patil
ID: 38731311
HI,

Best effective an free SAN for VMWARE lab is using openfiler
1)Instal it in vmware workstation
2)Create two-three storage/Luns
3)Attach storage to EXX host
4)Voilaa you have your SAN ready to lay with free of cost

For more information check out:

http://www.openfiler.com/learn/

Regards,
RTANTRA
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:Rahul Patil
ID: 38829673
Hi ,

Also try VMAutolab.Its' awesome for building test labs:

http://www.labguides.com/autolab/


Regards,
Rtantra
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