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SAN/NAS

Is it possible to build enterprise class SAN for my home lab using nothing but Free-software?
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KonfigurationKing
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KonfigurationKing
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1 Solution
 
Mohammed KhawajaCommented:
Why don't you build yourself aNAS using FreeNAS or OpenFiler.
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mankowitzCommented:
Sure.

Have you looked at FreeNAS? http://www.freenas.org/for-business/
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pgm554Commented:
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Mohammed KhawajaCommented:
Look at kernsafe.com as they have a free version.
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arnoldCommented:
Yes, you can.  You need to define how you are planing to access iscsi,fc the experts referenced common ones. Most linux include iscsi target/initiator if you want to assemble the various options yourself.
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KonfigurationKingAuthor Commented:
Let me clarify what I mean by free software...

Not free in price but free as in the definition by the free-software foundation. Maybe another familiar term would be opensource. I want to build a SAN entirely on Free-software(Open Source software).  In addition I am looking for a solution to run multiple operating systems on the SAN using Xen.
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gheistCommented:
FreeNAS is good enough (though BSD is not as free as Republica de Cuba in FSF-s opinion)
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Mohammed KhawajaCommented:
FreeNAS and OpenFiler are two that I can think of.
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arnoldCommented:
The SAN is a storage, once presented to a system you can do with the storage what you want.  The performance of the VM will depend on the host system and the iscsi performance.
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gheistCommented:
Not that you need to minimize network hops (switches count too) because they add as latency for each IO request...
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Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
From the above suggestions I see quite a few NAS suggestions. As you know NAS is not SAN (do some 'wiki' research), so do you really want a SAN, Enterprise Class using only free software? If so then I believe the correct answer to your question is no. Or could you define what you mean by Enterprise Class?
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KonfigurationKingAuthor Commented:
I would like to use free-software as much as possible at least as the base. Yes I really want to configure SAN! I am a bit confused on the requirements for the hardware in relation to the end devices mounting the attached storage as a local drive.

Here is the device being used for the RAID controller:

    LSISAS 2108 8-port PCI-E SAS-2 controller
    8-port (8 internal) 6Gb/s per port
    Supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, 60
    On board hardware IO Processor
    512MB 800MHz DDR2 on-card cache
    Advanced array configuration and management utilities
    Automatically negotiates PCI-E link widths
    Power management support
    Supports 1.5, 3.0 and 6.0 Gb/s SAS and SATA data transfer rates
    Port independent auto-negotiation
    Supports SSP, SMP, STP and SATA protocols
    Optional Battery Backup Unit for cached data protection (BTR-0018L-0000-LSI) - operating temperature (Ambient) from 10C° - 45C°
    OS Support : Windows XP/2003/2008/Vista, RedHat Enterprise and SUSE Linux

How does the network on the computer hosting the SAN need to be configured to qualify as a SAN instead of a NAS? Is it the protocol used that differentiates the technology?
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gheistCommented:
NAS uses common network like 10GbE or gigE while "enterprise class NAS" would use fibre channel or at least FCoE where client adapter costs about 10x more and cannot be reused as general-purpose network card.
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arnoldCommented:
NAS is a Network Attached Storage usually access to storage resource are achieved through network type based shares NFS, Samba/cifs.

SAN is a storage array network that provides a much broader scope of storage option as well as the means by which they are allocated. These types of shares can be accessed by multiple systems at the same time.

FC fibre channel is a larger scale connection of the system to resources such as. A SATA, SAS, SCSI cable that connected a single HD to your MB.
Iscsi conveys SCSI commands over IP.
As long as you have a iscsi initiator application installed on your system you could connect explorer the available LUNS and attach the LUN which as far as the system will see it as a local device.

Usually SAN allocated resource can only be accessed by one system/resource at the same time. This deals with commands issued by a system to either write or delete will only be known to the system that issued the directive since file system tables are often maintain in locally versus having to refer back to the storage for the updates which is required if two devices access this type of resource, the writing/deletion by one will not be known by the other unless and until they unload/reload the resource.  The impact of this could be that one writes and overwrites data written by the other.

Some OS and systems have no specific distinction as far as functionality whether the resource while others have issues given they distinguish a "local disk" from a network resource.
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Mohammed KhawajaCommented:
If you are considering installing Xen, KVM or VMware, they are work with iSCSI as well as NAS for datastore.
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gheistCommented:
Virtualbox says "me too"
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Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
Why are you selecting "NAS" comments as a solution where your question is about building a "SAN"? The selected comments are not an answer to that question. Also, I see no closing comment, how will you proceed with the advice you've been given?
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KonfigurationKingAuthor Commented:
Gerwin Jansen,

cough....cough..AHEM.. You are correct about the selection of the solutions did not really solve anything.  I could tell you I was tired or other BS reasons but I will spare you that.

With that said, the information provided insight .  I have used the generic information from the answers here to do more research and I believe what you said before, it is not possible. The moment you use a hardware based raid it appears that the controller will use non-freesoftware. Also, I believe I have a better understanding of the differences by using the links provided.

  I don't know a lot about storage . Which is why I am building this! I know freesoftware solutions can teach me more about how things work.  I have decided to use a solution sponsored by RED-HAT. GlusterFS is my choice and from what I read it seems to be powerful and not too difficult to implement. Much appreciation for your follow up.
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Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
Hello KK, thanks for your closing comment, this clears things up, knowing what direction you've chosen.

Because you say "it is not possible" - you should select the comment that fits, which is this one I believe: #a39958601 - you can still closed this question differently.
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gheistCommented:
You can have fcoe target on linux and call it SAN, but still it will be one boot in NAS pond.
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