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New to SAN's


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#1 Inertia

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:37

I have been playing with Vmware vsphere / ESXi recently, and wanted to play with clustering, and vmotion.

I have 3 Hypervisor servers each with a couple of TB of storage. (2 reasonably powerful machines and one low end at the moment)

I realize I am going to need a SAN to be able to do this.

I have never setup, or even used a SAN before, I am only doing it for the sake of it at the moment and don't want o invest a fortune, I looked on eBay and there is a mass of used equipment, including 4tb arrays for £300 (or 1tb arrays for £120 .. http://www.ebay.co.u...=item1c279e6c39 ).

I thought i might be able to get an array, and a fiber switch, and a few controller cards for the esxi machines, however I also believe I need a SAN controller as well as the array.

Im not sure which equipment is compatible with each other, there are controllers on eBay which aren't bank breaking but i don't know which controllers / switches etc will be compatible with which arrays.

Could someone point me in the right direction please for setting up a SAN on a budget, using retired hardware from eBay (UK)

Thanks


#2 +SharpGreen

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:55

Well for a basic poor man's SAN all you need is a machine with lots of storage, some fancy software like say OpenFiler or FreeNAS (though I don't know if FreeNAS does iSCSI or not) and at least a gigabit ethernet connection. Doesn't even have be a dedicated box, you put the software on a VM on one of your hypervisor servers.

This worked well enough for me. Though I only had one machine using it. I can't imagine much difference between one and multiple machines using a SAN.

#3 OP Inertia

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 02:04

Well for a basic poor man's SAN all you need is a machine with lots of storage, some fancy software like say OpenFiler or FreeNAS (though I don't know if FreeNAS does iSCSI or not) and at least a gigabit ethernet connection. Doesn't even have be a dedicated box, you put the software on a VM on one of your hypervisor servers.

This worked well enough for me. Though I only had one machine using it. I can't imagine much difference between one and multiple machines using a SAN.


That's really handy Thanks, I will check it out and have a play with that option.

Any pointers if I want to spend a little ? I don't mind paying out say £500-700 total to do it for real if that's possible, like i say the retired SAN disc arrays are relatively cheap, its just knowing what else I need.

#4 TPreston

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 02:06

Might be cheaper and more reliable to get an empty array and switch rather than using old drives.

Look online and in your local area you can get enterprise equipment inexpensively if you look hard enough. Racks, PDU's KVM IP, 42 port gig switches markets flooded.


You need to thoroughly research though most of the time the sellers only have the part # and no clue what it does,

#5 OP Inertia

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 02:14

Might be cheaper and more reliable to get an empty array and switch rather than using old drives.

Look online and in your local area you can get enterprise equipment inexpensively if you look hard enough. Racks, PDU's KVM IP, 42 port gig switches markets flooded.


You need to thoroughly research though most of the time the sellers only have the part # and no clue what it does,


Absalubtly, The retired gear is all knocking about cheaply enough, I see it locally and on ebay, its just knowing what I need.

You say get an array and a switch, so does that mean I don't need a separate 'San Controller' Device ? is that part of the array ?

For instance if I was to get - http://www.ebay.co.u...=item1c279e6c39
Would i just need a SAN switch and cables to use it, or do I need another device as well ?

#6 TPreston

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 02:29

But the drives are ancient though if its just for learning it would be ok but anything else is a waste of power.

You could save money by getting an enclosure without drives

http://www.ebay.ie/i...=item43b612059d

#7 ITOps

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 02:48

Would you be able to provide more details for us to help you?

Example would be:
How much data would you like to transfer between the systems?
Specs of each system including their model number and current hardware and operating system?
What networking gear you already have available?

Do you want this to be a budget setup as close to the real thing as possible using the bare essentials?

Some things you would normally have for a small setup like this are:
Dual Gigabit switches for failover to connect your servers to your regular network.
Dual Fibre Channel switches for failover to connect your servers to the SAN.
SAN with a minimum of two controllers for failover capabilities and if you have the budget available two SANs for failover in case a SAN fails.

If you do not have the budget for failover you would just have one of each of the above.
Your servers would normally have at least 2 NICs one for connecting to the internet, one for connecting internally, possibly one more NIC for a management network then a fibre channel card or cards in each server to connect them to the SAN or SANs.

#8 farmeunit

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 03:13

For testing you don't need Fibre Channel and such. If you've got the money, they why not. You'd be better off getting a better storage solution that is a little faster. For testing purposes, even SATA will do the trick. The key is just centralized storage instead of local.

FreeNAS does do iSCSI.

It is recommended, as ITOps mentioned, to use one NIC for regular network and other NIC to the storage network.