edgrigson
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Anyone successfully used a NAS not on the HCL? Looking for a cheaper option

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I have a DR datacentre with no SAN, and I need extra storage for my two ESX hosts - I'm hoping to find a cheapish NAS solution (preferably a hardware appliance) which I can use with VI3. At the moment both servers use local storage. I don't need VMotion, DRS, HA etc, I'm just after some easy to manage storage for templates and VMs - I'm also happy to put up with less than optimal speed as it's a test facility (might go for Lab Manager too, although I know that's another £10,000).

I know I could put in a Linux server and run a free iSCSI target, but we're a Wintel shop and that doesn't fit our technology plan. I know I could run SFU on a Windows box, but it's not ideal from a management perspective. I need to sell the idea to my manager, and a box which I just plug in and go with would be his idea of a solution.

I've seen an increase in SOHO/SMB NAS devices in the £1000-£2000 range and I wondered if anyone has tried any of them with ESX? Most seem to use NFS v3 over UDP, not TCP.

Thanks for any help,

Regards,

Ed.

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admin
Immortal
Immortal

Here's another vote for SANmelody, if you're a Windows shop it's nice and easy to manage, and you can buy the VIF (Virtual Infrastructure Foundation) package for ~£500 which gives you 3Tb of managed storage and thin-provisioned volumes.

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Texiwill
Leadership
Leadership

Hello,

I use a Linux based NFS and iSCSI server that is NOT on the HCL with no problems.

If you want, you can by a fairly fast whitebox with the diskspace you need and run FreeNAS (FreeBSD NAS server), or any Linux server to provide the same services.

Recommendation for hardware is NOT to use SATA, but SAS or SCSI if you can afford it. SATA will work as temporary a backup device. Also, make sure the device has sufficient GigE network cards. I tend to stay away from SOHO/SMB devices due to their limitations in the amount of disk, size of disks, and protocols. Where if you use FreeNAS or a Linux system you can add drives to your hearts content, upgrade to use SCSI disk drawers, etc.

Best regards,

Edward

--
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vExpert XIV: 2009-2022,
VMTN Community Moderator
vSphere Upgrade Saga: https://www.astroarch.com/blogs
GitHub Repo: https://github.com/Texiwill
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acmcnick
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Depending on what you consider cheapish:

Try-

AX150i - iSCSI SAN upto 6TB starting around $5000 usd

Netapp FAS250 - NAS using iSCSI upto 4TB around $15000 usd (NFS License is Extra)

Netapp StoreVault - NAS or SAN (iSCSI or FCP) upto 6TB starting around $6000 usd.

I have used both the AX (EMC) and the Netapp FAS250's and above with Success.

NFS is easier and it works pretty well, however to get NFS on an Appliance usually costs an extra $10K or more for the licensing. Pretty lame for an Open Protocol like NFS...

Good luck.

promaster
Contributor
Contributor

i tested freenas verison 0.685b1 with iscsi and it works well.

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VMwareDan
Contributor
Contributor

Quick Question-

With the freenas verison 0.685b1 utilizing ISCSI-

Did you uses SCSI drives or SATA?

Did you use a TOE NIC, or standard-

Was it difficult to configure ESX to connect to the ISCSI?

Thanks!

Dan-

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Rumple
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

try out sanmelody..

runs on windows...

Schorschi
Expert
Expert

Use iSCSI is just about as easy as Fibre Channel or direct attached SCSI. iSCSI has some issues with ESX 3.0.x, support for VCB for example is not there yet. But this is believed to be addressed in ESX 3.1 or somewhere next in the ESX release schedule.

Windows NFS works... but once in a while NFS datastores just disappear, this has been reported elsewhere in the forums and I have friends that have seen it, however, not seen it from Linux CIFS/NFS as yet, but then again since we only use NFS in the lab, we are not pushing it to any significant degree. No VCB support as yet. NFS datastores do support some basic function, like VMotion, but there is a bottleneck with NFS, as you push it, that other technologies such as IBRIX and such can offset. However NFS based IBRIX does not support VMotion, VMware is working on the issue.

Since you may not need VCB or VMotion (as applicable) then you have some options it appears.

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acmcnick
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

We use NFS extensively and successfully, but on Clustered NetApps.

Just this weekend I set up an ESX cluster with a Ubuntu Server NAS on a G3 w/ 512MB RAM and 1 Proc, it works great! Vmotion works just fine, the vm's run as good as they do on the Netapps.

Talk about cheap!

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pauliew1978
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I second sanmelody, great product. And it can do thin provisioning as well as failover etc (you can also scale up the product as time goes by i.e. get another disk server and start up failover replication etc). You'll need a server with sata 10k or sas disks though.

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admin
Immortal
Immortal

Here's another vote for SANmelody, if you're a Windows shop it's nice and easy to manage, and you can buy the VIF (Virtual Infrastructure Foundation) package for ~£500 which gives you 3Tb of managed storage and thin-provisioned volumes.

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VMwareDan07
Contributor
Contributor

I am currently training on VMware 3.1. Unfortunately I don't get enough hands on time at work, and need to get ahead. So I am training after hours in our limited lab. (All of the Retired equipment)

I was thinking of using the below ISCSI SAN / NAS Software:

(Limited budget for anything extra, mean anything not in the lab comes out of my pocket.)

http://www.openfiler.com/ or http://www.freenas.org/

I am also looking to gather VMware training resources.

Any good blogs or informational site links would be greatly appreciated.

Sanmelody Lite looks good though!

Thanks-

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Ritmo2k
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I can attest to openfiler, it works well. I made a tweak to the web interface to always use blockio on the iscsi target and the speed is good even on desktop hardware for my lab...

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Erik_Zandboer
Expert
Expert

Hi, need something dirt-cheap to play with, you could try to play around with Linksys's NSLU2. This unit can be "motivated" to run TCP NFS. See:

http://www.linuxdevices.com/news/NS5922195910.html

Don't go production on this Smiley Wink

Visit my blog at http://www.vmdamentals.com
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edgrigson
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Thanks for the replies everyone. SANMelody does look interesting and I'll explore that option further, although it's still not the hardware appliance I was hoping I'd find. Maybe there just isn't a simple 'plug in a go' device yet which suits my circumstances.

Maybe I'll just persuade the powers that be to go with a Linux based solution - I know FreeNAS or Openfiler work very well.

thanks,

Ed.

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admin
Immortal
Immortal

If you can persaude them to go with a Linux I would recommend using IET, OpenFiler is based on IET but tends to lag behind on the version, currently OpenFiler uses IET 0.4.14 but the latest version of IET - 0.4.15 - has VMware specific fixes (reserve/release).

http://iscsitarget.sourceforge.net/

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Baraka
Contributor
Contributor

Hello, i'm having difficulty trying to get free nas 0.684/0.685b1/0.685b2 to connect with esx 3.01 using iscsi. does anyone have a good guide on how to do it? I'm a newbie with free nas.

Thanks

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Ritmo2k
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Heh, I just dumped OF this weekend in favor of Fedora Core with the latest build of iet. Try that, it took 5 minutes to setup and configure.

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Baraka
Contributor
Contributor

Hello all,

I worked it out, it was a simple configuration error i made with vkernal, i gave vkernal and freenas the same ip by mistake.

Thanks anyway...

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