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Create a SAN with Server

Posted on 2013-01-07
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Last Modified: 2013-01-18
Good day everyone. I am looking for a how-to guide to use freeware/open source software to be able to re-purpose one of our older servers into a SAN for internal use and testing.
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Question by:mig1980
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22 Comments
 
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Assisted Solution

by:tpitch-ssemc
tpitch-ssemc earned 167 total points
ID: 38752746
Lots of options here. I assume you're looking to use iSCSI? I've used both of the following products to setup lab iSCSI storage. I'm not sure which one is better than the other, I have more experience with Open Filer and not had any trouble out of it. I've included a You Tube video of how to configure it as well; if you like Free NAS better I'm sure you can find a video for that as well.

http://www.openfiler.com/

http://www.freenas.org/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bntLnF298ks (Open Filer Configuration)
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Author Comment

by:mig1980
ID: 38752781
I am looking to use the internal storage which totals about 1TB and is running SAS drives. Is that possible?
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by:tpitch-ssemc
ID: 38752810
Yep. I had 4 TB of SATA drives running a RAID 5. Shared to my test VMware server. Obviously this solution isn't built for production like speed, but it worked just fine simulating upgrades and patches.
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Author Comment

by:mig1980
ID: 38752827
Perfect. I will check the links above out. Thank you very much!
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by:andyalder
ID: 38753021
Bit of a waste of dual-ported drives to throw away their redundancy but if it's only for test then a non-redundant software solution may be good enough. Just don't use it in production and claim it's redundant and supported.
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Author Comment

by:mig1980
ID: 38753043
Lets backup a minute here. So, in using one of the pieces of software mentioned above, you loose the RAID functionality that is currently in-place on my system (hardware RAID)?

If so, are there other alternatives as I would need RAID functioning as it does now (I use RAID-5)?
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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 333 total points
ID: 38753096
You maintain RAID, but if the single server running iSCSI target software dies it all dies. It's cool for test but it's a SPOF. That was all I meant, motherboard dies and it all dies unless there's clustering on the storage target.
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Author Comment

by:mig1980
ID: 38753122
Oh...yeah, I get it. Given this won't be production, I don't really have a problem if we have some downtime due to hardware failure such as a motherboard, etc. The server has redundant power supplies and RAID, so drives and power are covered. Internals is a different story. Thank you for the heads up.

Just out of curiosity, would you use FreeNAS or Openfiler?
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by:andyalder
ID: 38754269
I'd probably use nexenta.
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Author Comment

by:mig1980
ID: 38756434
What are the improvements that Nexenta provides over FreeNAS or OpenFiler? Is it also free/open source?
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by:tpitch-ssemc
ID: 38756441
Looking at their web page I have to say you can get a free trial. I didn't dig too far into it, but their online store says to Call for Pricing.

http://www.nexenta.com/corp/downloads/nexentastor-download
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Author Comment

by:mig1980
ID: 38756453
I saw that which is why I was asking. My original post stated freeware/open source products that I could get for free. We are a non-profit organization.
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by:andyalder
ID: 38756745
You didn't look too deep since the community edition is free. Of course you don't get vendor technical support for nothing and it's limited to 18TB.

Click the "Looking for NexentaStor Community Edition? Click here." link.
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Author Comment

by:mig1980
ID: 38757070
I see that now. My other question was: What are the improvements that Nexenta provides over FreeNAS or OpenFiler? Basically why should I use Nexenta over the other two.
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Expert Comment

by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 38790350
I checked out all those options you are looking at and choose zfsguru. IMO it's the best. I've been using it for the last two years in a production environment and its rock solid.
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Author Comment

by:mig1980
ID: 38793917
zfsguru looks to be an operating system. Is there any documentation on how this would install on a HP Server currently running Windows 2008 R2?
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by:andyalder
ID: 38793936
If you want to run on top of Windows why not download the MS iSCSI target and use that? You presubably have a Smart Attay controller in the server so you don't need ZFS on top of that.
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Author Comment

by:mig1980
ID: 38793965
That sounds like a great idea andy. I didn't realize MS offered a network storage tool. This is along the lines of what I wanted. How stable is MS iSCSI Target? This will be used in a small development environment.
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Accepted Solution

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andyalder earned 333 total points
ID: 38793999
Should be solid as a rock since MS Storage Server has had an iSCSI target available for years; http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=19867
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by:mig1980
ID: 38794027
Thank you very much. I will give this a try.
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