Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Create your own iSCSI SAN with Openfiler

If you have wanted to have a SAN (Storage Area Network), but:

1. You don't have the money.
2. You don't know how or have the resources.

I have had a SAN before, an iSCSI SAN. They are cool, they work, and they provide a very good flexible storage environment. I have been playing with Openfiler. Openfiler has free version that you can use to create your own iSCSI SAN using your own hardware. Now, it is best to use an enterprise server with hardware RAID, multiple Hot Swap drives and all that, but you don't need to, and really, you really can find an old one at a fraction of the prize you would pay for a iSCSI anyway. But, there is even better news. There is a VMWARE virtual machine that you can run in vmware to play with before you even install it on hardware.

Remember though, what is cool, is that if you get this running, you can attach VMWARE servers to it, and/or Guests within VMWARE. That means you can actually store the virtual disks on the Openfiler, or create LUNs on Openfiler and connect them to guests.

I have done all of the above. I have screen shots of installing the VMWARE appliance of OpenFiler on ESXi. Give it a try. I also have installed on Dell 1550 PowerEdge servers also.

Here are the screen shots of how I got it to work. It was a bit of a trick getting on the ESXi, so look at the first series. I think you can install it also on Server or Workstation, but I did not try that.

Note: The first series of screen shots are assuming you have enabled SSH on ESXi. See my previous post.

My installation Screen Shots.