FreeNAS vs Openfiler

I have three new ESX servers managed by VSCA Essentials plus license. I could not share data store from old server for backing up data as it could  not be added to vcenter (it is already serving three hosts)
Now I am trying to install openfiler to use old server as NAS but it does not allow me to create large volume during the time of installation. Perhaps, it will allow me to provision store from web interface.

What would be the best tool, if I would like publish storage device as NFS datastore (it keeps datastore more flexible for mounting in case of crashes). Although, I have netapps datastore in ISCSI for live datastore I would like keep  NFS for backing up,  but I am not sure which product is more efficient for publishing NFS datastore to ESX
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pchettriIT DirectorAsked:
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
freenas has been forked to nas4free
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pchettriIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
would you recommend this over openfiler?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I would not recommend any of them, especially Openfiler, it's old out of date, and performance is poor.

Have a look at the Nexenta Community edition.
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pchettriIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
Looks like Nexenta does not support hardware RAID. This will not work for repurpose as I am using poweredge connected to powervault
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pchettriIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
I am going to replace openfiler with nas4free and test it... thanks for information
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Hardware RAID is slower than Software RAID that's WHY, see ZFS and JBODs, no need for a slow hardware RAID controller.
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pchettriIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
I ended up using freeNAS instead as nas4free would not give me choices to install on HDD partition. It was running directly from CD and switching network configuration back to default every time I reboot. When I took the disk out it rebooted back to open filer which means it never install on hdd.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
FreeNAS is very slow, if you are using this in production.

You can use Windows, and add NFS to Windows, and I'm sure you know NetApp also supports NFS.

You can read my blog here written years ago about it...

http://andysworld.org.uk/2011/08/25/oracle-solaris-express-11-versus-freenas-quick-cifs-performance-tests/
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pchettriIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
I am trying to avoid using backup on netapps itself. I plannig to use old server for backing up VM using NFS share. The only option without expending Windows license on that old server is FreeNAS.
Existing servers are HP proliant gen 8 dl380p connected to NETAPP FAS2554
Old system is Dell poweredge R900 connected to powervault 1000 which I have published using FreeNFS now. Fasted partition table on server is not an issue, it has 64 gb or RAM and 4 CPU core and I have added 7 new 2tb drive to created new RAID and 8 old drive is setup on another RAID. R900 it self has five HD of 146 each.

So free-NFS seems like successful solution without making any purchase to re-purpose old hardware
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Any Linux distro will also give you NFS, or Centos and it's ZfS implementation CfS.
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pchettriIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
I will try CentOs as we have few server in our environment
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pchettriIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your help and recommendation
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Justin PaulSolutions Architect / BloggerCommented:
You can also use windows 2012 r2 or any flavor of Linux as well.
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pchettriIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
Only freeNAS has worked for me and NAS4Free did not work, as it keep booting back without saving changes. If freeNAS works without performance penalty I will continue to use it, if it does not than I may lean towards Andrew's suggestion in future. For now I am applying no one's solution and I am just going ahead with freeNAS.

I don't know how it needs to be closed, if I select a solution there is a problem with you guys, if I do not select solution and you guys still  have issues with closing it. Specially, two moderator out of all is after any post for no reason and customer service does not allow me to close the account immediately.
Singing to this forum has been biggest mistake.
My first question was to clarify which product is better. Nothing about solution. I ended up testing both and using one of the product that I posted on my question.

In future, if do lean towards Andrew's suggestion after finding issue with FreeNAS, I would probably go with CentOS, if there is no issue I will stick with the product that proposed in the question. Which of course theoretically speaking is not solution or none of the answer is a solution in this case these are mostly opinion in "common sense".
I would pick the first question / opinion of myself as solution, if that helps to close, though, it sounds ridiculous.
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pchettriIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 0 points for pchettri's comment #a40933714

for the following reason:

just picking up my own question as solution. As I could not select the first question about product as solution. I have to create new comment to accept my own solution. The first question does not give option to accept as solution and I cannot pick anyone else opinion as solution as explained by moderator
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pchettriIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
Only freeNAS has worked for me and NAS4Free did not work, as it keep booting back without saving changes. If freeNAS works without performance penalty I will continue to use it, if it does not than I may lean towards Andrew's suggestion in future. For now I am applying no one's solution and I am just going ahead with freeNAS.

I don't know how it needs to be closed, if I select a solution there is a problem with you guys, if I do not select solution and you guys still  have issues with closing it. Specially, two moderator out of all is after any post for no reason and customer service does not allow me to close the account immediately.
Singing to this forum has been biggest mistake.
My first question was to clarify which product is better. Nothing about solution. I ended up testing both and using one of the product that I posted on my question.

In future, if do lean towards Andrew's suggestion after finding issue with FreeNAS, I would probably go with CentOS, if there is no issue I will stick with the product that proposed in the first question.

Changing the grade of my solution to B, as it would be just an acceptable solution until backup schedule starts after VDP is implemented
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pchettriIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
If there is still an issue then the best answer and detail suggestion would be Andrew's post. Which   I would potentially implement in future. If it is allowed to pick his answer as solution I would assign A for detail response and suggestion
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Just looking back over your entire post, about Backups, if this is what you are wanting to do....to use a NFS datastore to backup VMs, on iSCSI LUNs.

VDP is certainly no comparison for NetApp SMVI and Snapshots.

VDP is slow, buggy, and utter rubbish, corrupts easily, repository fills up, and hen you need to create a new repo.

I would be very hesitant at recommending the best backup solution, SMVI and SAN Snapshots versus VDP and you also need to ensure you have a good performing datastore for VDP.

As for your question, as to which of the products you mentioned in your OP is best :- NONE of them! If you are messing with a lab, and wanting to check out technology.... that's fine but production NFS datastore for VDP! - not recommended - slow.
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pchettriIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
Andrew... Thanks for your quick response.
I am only using VDP as temporary backup solution until I get financial approval for Unitrends or EMC data domain. It looks like the approval process would take almost a year, involving one of the old partners and also including digital content backup along with VM. The approval process and to be cost effective on cloud storage of VMs along with huge chunk of digital will take some time.

For now I am trying to have backup setup with minimum cost. I agree snapshot of Netapps is very effective but when I had a meeting with Netapps they suggested it is recommended for file level backup then the entire VM backup and SnapVault would involve purchasing additional license. Also, it backs of entire datastore no option to select critical VMs.

The only way to separately install backup on different device without cost is VDP advance option integrated for free in VMware 6. VDP advance was paid service in 5.5 but now it is integrated in 6, which is why I am upgrading appliance on server. My ESX host are under Essentials plus, once I complete the upgrade I should be able install VDP.

I am choosing NFS over ISCSI, as it is easy to mount apply any format of VMFS without having to change data structure. Performance wise, it is almost the same in newer version of VMware. Although, I am still using ISCSI for production VM storage.

I have not tested VDP on test environment, if it becomes unreliable then another option I would choose is veeam and buy a year license for only four sockets and backup critical VMs by keeping them in those VM in two hosts.
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pchettriIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
Also, I would only need backup of two weeks instead of months. Mostly for restoring VM in case of corruption
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Put critical VMs, in a single volume/LUN, that's what we do, and then use SMVI - no cost!

You didn't actually respond with how do I backup my snapshots which needs additional soft.

Veeam can integrate with NetApp, and is top notch, VDP is a non starter. (Advanced or not.....). VDP is rubbish!

Most if not all of our clients, have dumped VDP, in favour of SMVI.
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pchettriIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
SMVI sounds like great solution and fastest backup and restore. I will call netapps to look for SMVI and keep couple of week backup in the same netapps appliance.
SMVI sounds like perfect solution for me. I will probably use that NAS server for something or may be install ESX free version on it or keep old data on that server with freeNAS.

Really appreciate help and solution. Now I can accept solution :)
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pchettriIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
I would now like to remove my solution for closure and accept the solution by Andrew.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I would now like to remove my solution for closure and accept the solution by Andrew.

On behalf of Asker!

You can now select an Answer, as a solution.

It depends on which Bundle and Licenses you have with your NetApp, most are now sold with SMVI, (SAN Snapshots), and also the use of FlexCLONE, for rapid deloyment of VMs.
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pchettriIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
Appreciate the persistent probing and effective solution in the end
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