1 2 Previous Next 16 Replies Latest reply on Jan 25, 2011 3:13 AM by redbaron51

    NAS or OpenFiler

    esxilearner Novice



      I am confused if i should buy a 1 TB Home use NAS or a second-hand PC with 1 TB (taken from my other Desktops) to try advance VMware features or lastly the most preferred option by me, is to install Openfiler on a VM on a Desktop (But i am not sure if this will work smooth or affect performance). I currently have 2 desktops of different hardware setup and i am aware that i will not be able to do FT due to different hardware.


      Desktop 1: Will be Host 1 (Will host my vCenter as a VM)

      Processor: X3450

      RAM: 4GB ECC

      2 x GB On-board Ethernet ports

      Boot ESXi installed on a 4GB thumbdrive


      Desktop 2: Will be Host 2

      Processor: E6550

      RAM: 2GB nonECC

      1 x GB On-board Ethernet ports

      Boot ESXi installed on a 2GB thumbdrive


      I have had removed the Hard Drives from both the above Desktops, so that i can save from buying Hard Disk for the 3rd PC to do Shared LUN.


      The 3rd PC that i am thinking of buying (Mainly to have some decent performance) but i will only get it if it's approved by you Guys, can be seen here:  Acer M5620. I will install Win 2003 and then install Openfiler on it and try to map it to the Desktops  as a DataStore (I still need to research on how this can be done)


      Both are inter-connected using a 10/100 Port Switch. I know my specs are not that great and my RAM needs real upgrading but if i need to buy the 3rd PC, i will have no budget to do any further upgrade on the RAMs / switch for the next 3 to 4 months. ( i don't earn big, still climbing the ladder)


      My concern is: would OpenFiler, be done on a VM with my current Desktops so that i can save the money to upgrade my RAMs and the switch to a slightly better one.  I would also please need to know how i can do it.


      I hope i have convey my concerns running on my mind in this discussion.


      Many Thanks in Advance!!



        • 1. Re: NAS or OpenFiler
          DSTAVERT Guru

          If you have an available PC with a somewhat current processor you can probably get better performance than with a small NAS device. I would install Openfiler directly to the hardware rather than use it as a virtual appliance. FreeNAS is another software package similar to Openfiler. It can be installed to a flash disk similar to the way you can with ESXi.

          • 2. Re: NAS or OpenFiler
            J1mbo Virtuoso

            For shared storage you could use Ubuntu server and create an nfs server - full info here.  Simple to set up and will run on an old PC, even one sourced from the local rubbish dump


            To max your 100Mbps network it will need a Pentium 3 CPU ~600MHz, but I'd try and get a 3GHz Pentium-4 with a couple of SATA ports and this should be good for about 35MB/s if you upgrade your switch to gigabit (this might be of interest) - some offices are chucking out P4s so you should be available to find something for next to nothing.


            Hope that helps.

            • 3. Re: NAS or OpenFiler
              esxilearner Novice



              Thanks for the replies.


              i have checked that a used Acer M5620 with Q9450 processor & 3GB RAM and network storage DNS323 costs around the same $450.

              Do i still buy the desktop rather than the DNS323?


              Will i still be able to do HA, VMSafe, vMotion, vShield and DRS with my current setup?  Mine are not hardware identical so i know i can't do FT but will i not be able to do vMotion and svMotion? If i can't do most of the advanced features, i would better save up and buy the same machine as my Desktop 1.



              • 4. Re: NAS or OpenFiler
                idle-jam Champion

                i did not manage to get any DNS323 to work natively and heard that you will need to flash it customized firmware. i would advise going for a PC based using OpenFiler as it's easier to use and have better support.

                • 5. Re: NAS or OpenFiler
                  esxilearner Novice



                  Just a quick check, after i had input the license, many of the features got disappeared.  Does that mean i will not be able perform things like HA or vMotion.



                  • 6. Re: NAS or OpenFiler
                    DSTAVERT Guru

                    That is correct. HA and vMotion require a licensed (paid) version that supports those features. It also requires vCenter Server which is also a an extra cost item.

                    • 7. Re: NAS or OpenFiler
                      WillL Hot Shot

                      If you plan to use iSCSI, OpenFiler is no go, target has disconnect issue with ESXi 4.1 initiator.


                      IMO D-Link DNS-323 would be a bit slow to begin with, it uses a 500MHz ARM CPU and 64MB memory.


                      Also you will need to upgrade to gigabit ethernet to use network based shared storage at a decent speed.


                      Just my 2 cents.

                      • 8. Re: NAS or OpenFiler
                        J1mbo Virtuoso

                        All the features are enabled in trial mode which allows 60-days of use for ESXi and vCentre.  After that you need to re-install, or buy licenses, or move to the free license.


                        Two hosts and a shared storage box running NFS via FreeNAS or Ubuntu/Debian/Fedora will be fine for a home lab.  And of course you can get Server 2008 on eval for the vCentre bit, which too can be a VM.  Then you need another Windows machine for the vSphere client of course and you probably want to get vCLI on that too.



                        • 9. Re: NAS or OpenFiler
                          esxilearner Novice



                          Since my ESXi is on a thumb drive and my VMs will be on other physical Openfiler machine, after 60 days, can i just reinstall ESXi again on the same thumb drive and would i be able to remap the VMs that were already created during the 1st instance.



                          • 10. Re: NAS or OpenFiler
                            J1mbo Virtuoso

                            It is rather awkward that vmware don't provide de-restricted licenses for student use (like TechNet).


                            On the other hand, the 60-day limit can provide a good insentive to pass the exam before then

                            • 11. Re: NAS or OpenFiler
                              DSTAVERT Guru

                              That would be up to you to discover. Talk about circumventing licensing is not permitted on the forums.


                              Thank you for understanding.

                              • 12. Re: NAS or OpenFiler
                                esxilearner Novice

                                Sorry about that.  Was thinking hard that i had slipped it.


                                Hi WillL,


                                Yes, i just finished the setup of Openfiler and mapped it to my ESXi.  Tried to do a test machine setup and guess what.. target had disconnected!!!

                                It's definitely a no go.. Now as such, i am thinking of setting up FreeNas.  Does it work fine with ESXi or would you recommend something else/better.


                                And also as for my network. I have my router connected to a 10/100 switch. My ESXi and the Datastore machine are connected to this switch.  I don't have an unmanaged switch so i can't do vLan.  Is there any other options other than using an unmanaged switch to separate the network.  The ESXi has on-board 2 ethernet ports and the Datastore has 1 on-board and another NIC card. And I don't need the Datastore to connect to the Internet. I will change the switch to a Gigabit switch this weekend, any recommendation for a average good switch?



                                Thanks in advance.

                                • 13. Re: NAS or OpenFiler
                                  unexpected Novice

                                  I used OpenFiler in a pre-4.1 era and I was very satisfied with it... for now, wait for an update to fix the issue.


                                  Apart from that knowledge, my homelab runs on an iOmega StorCenter IX4-200D 4TB with NFS as protocol. Very happy with it, consumes a lot less power compared to a PC and I use it for other purposes (file storage for Windows environment, Mac Time Machine,...) at the same time.


                                  The StorCenters are on VMware's offcial HCL so it works out of the box. If the pricetag is too steep, look at the IX2 series. Same platform, just not RAID5 and a few options less...

                                  • 14. Re: NAS or OpenFiler
                                    jose_maria_gonzalez Master

                                    Hi team,


                                    Just out of curiosity, has already been certified Openfiler for VMware? As far I am aware OpenFiler is not listed within the VMware SAN Matrix!


                                    Jose Maria Gonzalez


                                    Web: http://www.jmgvirtualconsulting.com

                                    Blog: http://www.josemariagonzalez.es

                                    Twitter: http://twitter.com/jose_m_gonzalez

                                    Author of 101 Secretos de VMware vSphere

                                    VCI, VCP4, VCP3, VCP2, RHCE, MCSE, vExpert 2009, 2010

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