Monday, August 25, 2008

Building a (cheap) NAS for ESX using OpenFiler

In the last days before my vacation, I spent some time rebuilding an old DL380G2 Proliant attached to an MSA500 to make a cheap NAS to use as an ESX datastore.

Using OpenFiler, it is possible to make a cheap, iSCSI-based server that could store non-critical data such as ESX clones and templates. I tried it, and it seems to work well.


  • There is no way to easily install a Proliant Insight Agent on OpenFiler, as RPM packages can't be installed (and I didn't push my luck trying rpm2cpio). When reusing old hard drives, this is a necessity as you really need to be able to monitor them.
  • I left it up and running for a few weeks, and a networking glitch made it unresponsive on the network; my take is that teaming does not work well. That's weird since I test it by unplugging cables. That server doesn't have an iLO, and it's located in our downtown datacenter to which I don't go that often, so I'm screwed.

So I'm ditching this for the time being. I would prefer having a CentOS-based solution, so that the RHEL Proliant Insight Agent works. But AFAIK nothing seems as easy to set up as OpenFiler. I'm no Red Hat admin, so making all these features work on a vanilla system would take me too much time. If anybody has any suggestions, drop me a note.

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