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Configuring SSD virtual SAN on ESXi5

Posted on 2012-04-03
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Last Modified: 2012-04-06
Hi,

I found this great article http://andysworld.org.uk/2011/08/25/skynet-ssdsupersan-hp-proliant-microserver-with-a-6-bay-hot-plug-sata-drive-bay/
and wondered howto configure it as a virtual san to share it between ESX-es.

It could be used for local storage only but what is the benefit on ESX-side then(?)

Regards,
J.
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Question by:janhoedt
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:IanTh
ID: 37799876
to use it as a virtual san you will need something like falcon store virtaul appliance
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Expert Comment

by:IanTh
ID: 37799882
oh hang on he is talking about oracle solaris and zfs file system running on the host so thats not going to be a virtual san it will be a pysical san please explain

do you want to use this as a san datastore for the vm's ?
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 37799901
hanccocka has the answer to this, please see
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/VMWare/Q_27659177.html

I hope he finds the time to explain the details.
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Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 37799902
This is the Article you need to follow

http://www.napp-it.org/doc/downloads/all-in-one.pdf

All in one storage in a box for ESXi.

Whether you have a Physical or Virtual Oracle Server does not make any difference to it's performance.

The benefit, is you have have a ESXi server, for hosting VMs, and also convert the majority of your datastores in SAN Shared iSCSI and NFS fast storage for ESXi.

It works very well, we have very fast 12TB of storage for use with our ESXi servers in the Lab.

ZFS is the fastest storage available compared to other Virtual SAN solutions, e.g, HP Lefthand, Starwind iSCSI software VSA, Datacore VSA, San Symphony, Falconstor.

also ZFS, provides CIFs, NFS and iSCSI, DeDupe, Snapshots, replication
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:Joshua1909
ID: 37800136
Slightly off topic, but I think it's also worth asking what performance benefit you would see by adding SSD's to a virtual SAN as opposed to SATA or SAS disks.

You storage will be presented by a VM, as previously mentioned, through CIFs, NFS, or iSCSI--not likely to live up to your SSD setup.

The only time I would really use a virtual SAN, is if I wanted to use the disks internal to my ESXi host. Since you are already building an external device for storage, I would consider installing openfiler or freenas, and share the external array that way.

I have a lab configured this way, an external openfiler whitebox with fiber channel HBAs directly connected to two ESXi hosts. You could do the same with iSCSI or NFS, and without a doubt see better performance than a virtual SAN.

Cheers,
Josh
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:IanTh
ID: 37800256
you can make it fast by using multiple ethernets nics in teams as I am sure the device will have mutiple gig nics or 10g nics :-)
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Expert Comment

by:Joshua1909
ID: 37800289
It will still not be as fast. Look at it how the storage is presented:

In a virtual SAN:
Physical storage device > presented to ESXi directly attached> formatted with VMFS > VMDK file (virtual HDD)  presented to VM > VM OS presents virtual disk as iSCSI or NFS target to ESXi hosts.

In a physical SAN/NAS:
Physical storage devices > presented to ESXi hosts through iSCSI or NFS.

There are far fewer layers of virtualization. Keep in mind every disk read/write will have to be translated through these layers. It is not a simple calculation on bandwidth.
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LVL 121
ID: 37800430
Openfiler and FreeNAS are old, outdated and slow in comparison to an Oracle ZFS based solution in my experience. Unfortunately Oracle lack of support for Solaris, has killed ZFS in the enterprise. Although I do believe some Compellant SANs use ZFS.

SSDs are can be used for the Zil and Arc disks for ZFS cache, providing far greater performance. In the Storage in a Box solution the disks are presented to the VM, as RDMs, so the Oracle OS has direct access to the storage.

This storage is then presented to ESXi via NFS and iSCSI, and performance is far better than outdated Openfiler and FreeNAS.
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Expert Comment

by:Joshua1909
ID: 37800491
I have not had a great deal of experience with OpenIndiana, but I don't believe it's fair to call either Openfiler or FreeNAS old and outdated.
(It's worth mentioning that FreeNAS allows you to implement ZFS.)

Ultimately, you are still placing a virtual SAN on a single ESXi host. Which means that any devices needing to access that VM will be contending in some way for resources on that host.
(NICs, CPU, memory, etc)

Since the OP is already building a dedicated device I thought it worth mentioning. Even if that means installing your NAS distro of choice on the hardware.  That was the point of my post.

Cheers,
Josh
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LVL 121
ID: 37800501
FreeNas implementation of ZFS is poor. The best implementation is on Solaris platform, and the latest ZFS version is on Oracle Solaris Express 11.
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Expert Comment

by:Joshua1909
ID: 37800510
Indeed, however, as previous stated, the point was not so much the distro, but the logic behind the SAN design.

I'll have to play around with the release you mentioned, thanks for the tips.


Cheers,
Josh
0
 
LVL 121
ID: 37800530
Virtual SANs are now very common, and used for enterprise storage

1. HP Lefthand VSA possibly the first, was Lefthand before acquired by HP.
2. VMware vSphere VSA
3. Starwind VSA
4. SvSAN by StorMagic
5. Datacore SAN Symphony
6. FalconStor VSA SAN

and most of the above can be configured as clusters to replicate between nodes providing fantastic uptime, with no single point of failure.
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:Joshua1909
ID: 37800551
While that may be, I doubt you will find any true storage administrators who would boast the performance of a VSA over a physical SAN.

Cheers,
Josh
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