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ZFS on HP Microserver NL 40: findings, considerations & questions

Posted on 2012-12-21
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Last Modified: 2012-12-22
Hi,

So these are my findings so far in configuring “a ZFS” for HP Microserver:
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*2 SSD’s 60 GB and 4 SSD’s 120 GB are attached into Sharkoon, Sharkoon is on SATA2 motherboard
*configured Solaris on VM & napp-it but installing VNC made vm unreachable
*configured Nexenta on VM & configured raw disks, added these raw disks to Nexenta and ran some vm’s on it => performance wasn’t as expected
Notes:
-saw a very big decrease in performance when doing a storage vmotion
-tried to add a 4th SSD (wasn’t seen at first) but it added it in a separate pool instead of ZRAID …?!
-tried to install napp-it but I can’t make DNS work (although it is configured, name resolution does not work) + I see no possibility to configure a proxy for Nexenta
-support for nexenta on the Internet is poor, at least googling for proxy configuration Nexenta gave little results

This is  plan I:
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*configure Oracle Solaris again and install napp-it, attach 4 ssd’s of sharkoon in pool, do some first testing

And later (plan II)
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*LSI RAID +  8GB bar have to arrive (broke one bar, other one ordered but man, delivery takes ages!) to make my server a full functioning NAS
*when arrived I’ll attach the sharkoon to the LSI (SATA3), local disks to SATA2, play around with vm to finally configure on hardware, this vm gives me also possibility to do some tests later (with virtual disks)
*I’ll add 3 SATA disks of 2TB (the same as in my NAS), 2 notebook drives to install (mirrored, see questions) OS and use current 60 GB SSD’s other purposes
=> goal is to have same config as hanccocka, it proved to be best solution for troubleshooting startup issues (octopus cable was different = reason why sharkoon ssd’s were not seen, would never have figured it out otherwise!)

QUESTIONS:
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*ZFS mirror os is possible via ZFS itself (http://constantin.glez.de/blog/2011/03/how-set-zfs-root-pool-mirror-oracle-solaris-11-express) but isn’t it a valuable option to just use LSI (configure mirror) for it? With the hardware raid, you’re sure it will work, I’m not familiar enough with Solaris to try this other option
*I have to make a choice between RAC-card and 2 NIC-card in my HP Microserver, that’s a though one. LSI raid would have issue while booting, if it has, I ‘d need to climb into my attic with screen and keyboard each time it would have difficulties booting, then again I want to give full performance to my NAS … will start with RAC-card, then see how it goes, right?
*I’d need a good monitoring tool for my full environment, Solaris has support for Zabbix or Nagios (to monitor switch, firewall, network in general), I could install one of both, could you recommend one?
Goal of this monitoring is to have rock solid objective monitoring of what is going on in my lab (network usage, down times, historical data).
*I can only download the X86 version of Solaris, can this optimally use the 16GB of my NAS (would expect an x64 one)?


Thanks!
J.
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Question by:janhoedt
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LVL 118
ID: 38712538
I would recommend mirroring the root pool as per the article.

http://constantin.glez.de/blog/2011/03/how-set-zfs-root-pool-mirror-oracle-solaris-11-express

because the fastest method of using an LSI card is in JBOD mode for ALL disks attached.

The NAS will always boot with the LSI card, you will just not be able to access the LSI BIOS correctly, at the keyboard or DRAC.

2 card NICs useful for trunk/MPIO, but again, the performance of the CPU is the limiting factor in the ProLiant Microserver, so the bottleneck is likely to be here, not a single network card.

We prefer Nagios.

it's 32 and 64 bit, it installs the correct version at installation.

The more memory the better for ZFS cache.
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 38712675
Thanks!
Oracle is installing in vm. Just wonder what best remote connection would be, beside of ssh, do you have it working with vnc?
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LVL 118
ID: 38712979
No, because there is no requirement to use the console/gui, Access provided by Napp-it!

on the rare chance we need access to the servers (we have more than one!), we use SSH and X Client.

It's a NAS with a Web GUI.
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 38712998
But underneith there is a Solaris and on that solaris I'd like to install Nagios monitoring. So remote access might come in handy when I'd need it, what about the x-client, can I use it on Windows/does it need configuring?
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Accepted Solution

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 38713010
Yes, it needs configuring, and you will need to find a free X-Client, and there are not many if none.

We use Exceed

http://connectivity.opentext.com/products/exceed-products.aspx
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