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Hardware Thread, Setting up a SAN in Technical; We are set to order a SAN tomorrow to go with our two new servers which will be used for ...
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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    Setting up a SAN

    We are set to order a SAN tomorrow to go with our two new servers which will be used for HyperV. Now we've looked at HyperV (after decided to go with it instead of Citrix), and we are confident that we can setup the two servers.

    However - I've never set up a SAN before. Usually all of my servers have run off their internal drives but now this is different. Here is the spec:

    2U Supermicro 12 Hotswap Bays,
    Redundant 1200W Power supplies,
    Dual gigabit LAN,
    KVM remote management,
    X1 intel Xeon E3-1220 3.2Ghz,
    16gb DDR3 1333 ECC RAM,
    X10 450Gb 2.5" 10K SAS,
    4 port 6Gbps SAS Raid Controller Inc Battery back up
    X1 PCi-E Quad Port Gigabit LAN Controller


    What do I do with it? LOL. I love this learning lark - never too old to learn.

    Gareth

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    It looks like what you have there is storage server hardware... probably looking to use iSCSI to pass data to your Hyper-V hosts. Have you decided on what OS you're putting on the storage hardware? From the looks of it you'll be sticking the OS and the storage on the same array using the RAID card (does the Supermicro case have a SAS expander backplane, otherwise you may be SOL - your RAID card is 4 port only, so you'd need expander on backplane to allow connection to all drive bays), so that would limit the usability/usefulness of something like nexenta (which uses ZFS - similar to the Oracle ZFS 7xx0 units). Was that spec put together by a supplier, if so, ask them what OS they're planning for, it's a little difficult to guess from the spec, my guess would be windows server type, or possibly a linux distro.

    Cheers

    Will
    Last edited by Willott; 30th March 2012 at 09:17 AM. Reason: expanding on SAS expander

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    Duke's Avatar
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    Your SAN needs an operating system just the same as a server does, it's just normally a dedicated OS designed for storage systems (NetApp use OnTAP, Oracle Sun use Fishworks, some people are using FreeNAS or OpenFiler, etc.) What OS is going on this - is it being supplied by a company that pre-configures it or are you just buying the hardware?

    Assuming you've got the OS sorted out...

    • Boot it up and the OS will normally ask you to do some basic configuration such as IP address, RAID configuration, etc.
    • Once it's on the network you should have some kind of remote management, often through a web browser
    • Figure out how you want to connect the storage to Hyper-V - usually either iSCSI or NFS
    • Read the documentation on iSCSI/NFS for Hyper-V and your SAN
    • Make a LUN (iSCSI) or share (NFS) and set up access to it (in general terms, this is allowing your Hyper-V boxes to see the storage share)
    • Go onto the Hyper-V servers and add the storage via the SAN's IP address and details, then start using it to store virtual machines


    Those are 'generic' instructions. Obviously if you tell people the SAN OS, what storage protocol you want to use and your Hyper-V setup then someone might be able to give you better instructions.

    Cheers,
    Chris

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    If you're used to Windows systems, I'd recommend getting a license for Windows Storage Server for it.

    However, if you're willing to branch out, there are many options as mentioned by Duke.

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    AButters's Avatar
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    Gareth so are you building this SAN yourself from scratch? The supermicro chassis hints at self build

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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    No we are getting it supplied from servernation.co.uk as they were recommended by an Edugeek colleague.

    GJE

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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    If you're used to Windows systems, I'd recommend getting a license for Windows Storage Server for it.

    However, if you're willing to branch out, there are many options as mentioned by Duke.
    I am used to Windows OS more than anything. I think this would be the way forward for us.

    Gareth

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    If you're used to Windows systems, I'd recommend getting a license for Windows Storage Server for it.

    However, if you're willing to branch out, there are many options as mentioned by Duke.
    Microsoft has released the iSCSI target software for just normal Windows Server - if thats all you need then there is no need for full blown Windows Storage Server anymore.

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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    So we could put 2008R2 on the SAN and then get this target software? Where do I get that from?

    Gareth

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garethedmondson View Post
    So we could put 2008R2 on the SAN and then get this target software? Where do I get that from?

    Gareth
    Download: iSCSI Software Target - Microsoft Download Center - Download Details

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesfed View Post
    Microsoft has released the iSCSI target software for just normal Windows Server - if thats all you need then there is no need for full blown Windows Storage Server anymore.
    Quote Originally Posted by garethedmondson View Post
    So we could put 2008R2 on the SAN and then get this target software? Where do I get that from?

    Gareth
    Yes you can. However, there are advantages to using the full blown WSS has deduplication built into it, which Windows Server 2008 does not. So, if you use it for unified storage (ie. file storage as well as ISCSI LUNS), you can take advantage of that and reduce your storage needs overall.

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    If you're just using as an iSCSI target, it would seem a waste of a Windows license and the GUI would add unneccessary load onto the server (where you really don't need a GUI). It may be worth looking at one of the Linux based storage distros which may use a web interface for control (much lower memory/HDD/CPU requirement than Windows). If you look to do Unified Storage as @localzuk suggests, then Windows Server (or Storage Server) may be the best way to go.

    Cheers

    Will

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    Quote Originally Posted by garethedmondson View Post
    No we are getting it supplied from servernation.co.uk as they were recommended by an Edugeek colleague.

    GJE
    OK. IMHO you'd probably get better value buying a Dell through the welsh purchasing agreement. I am going all dell now through my LEA via the welsh agreement as frankly the hardware prices are too god to be true!!!

    My 2p.

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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    Okay - so the next question - which RAID is best on the hardware we are having. Our old RM (now non-RM servers) are Raid 5 with 73Gb SCSI drives in. But this box will have 10 x 4.5Gb drives in there.

    Our servers have 2 x 250Gb drives in there so can I assume that mirroring is fine there?

    Gareth

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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    I've been warned away from Dell on here as they fail.

    GJE

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