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Soft vs hard

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September 29, 2009 10:23:50 AM

Hello!
I was asking on other places, but I`m gathering the different opinions.
I`m working in the middle size business. We`re looking for shared storage I`m considering what iSCSI solution is better if compare of price and functionality - software or hardware? And what vendor is more reliable?

More about : soft hard

a b G Storage
September 29, 2009 10:36:48 AM

Whats "middle size"? Software would be cheaper, while hardware would be faster and support more features. To help you with ideas, you might be better off listing how many people this has to support, your ideal storage size, and of course the budget. Once we know these things people can suggest what has worked or not worked at their office.
September 29, 2009 10:43:50 AM

7 TB for 15 clients
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a b G Storage
September 29, 2009 1:50:44 PM

Opinions will vary greatly here, we need to know a lot more specifics about what you want, as there are many good and bad points for each depending on what you want to do. Detail, details, details.
Telling us you have 15 clients and need 7 TB of storage is like telling us you need to move "something, somewhere, somehow, whats the best way?"
What is the data?
Why are you storing it?
What are you doing with the data?
Do the clients need direct access?
If the clients need access, how are their priviledges set?
Do you/they need a lot of bandwidth when accessing these files?
How long will you store them?
Are the files updated monthly, weekly, daily, hourly, constantly, never?
How much money do you want to spend?
a b G Storage
September 29, 2009 3:28:13 PM

Still haven't seen budget listed. Or if the budget also includes needing to buy the backup solution as well, or beef up the current backup solution. For the record I have no answers for the OP, but I know that if he wants help, he needs to provide a lot of details.
October 6, 2009 9:30:47 AM

Data is documents, img, iso files, media files, etc. It storing because of need to be saved. Especially the documents. Not every client need direct access to every file, and I want to not every client to have acces to any file, just optionally. Documets are should be stored for a years. My budget is $10k. Thanks
October 6, 2009 9:33:35 AM

Why don`t you use your existing network with some reliable iSCSI SAN solution?
October 7, 2009 3:18:22 PM

Like what? I`ve tested openfiler, and it is not what I want to.
a b G Storage
October 7, 2009 10:42:04 PM

Are the 15 clients all servers requiring large amount of IOps &/or throughput or are they just workstations? Block transfer is preferred by multiple servers sharing the same storage and that's where iSCSI based SAN comes into advantage over NAS.
If all 15 clients are just average workstations/PCs then a NAS would make much more sense economically.
October 8, 2009 4:04:18 AM

iSCSI is just a protocol. It can be hardware, it's always a software layer which is implemented by the iSCSI target (either some well-known or proprietary OS).
If I would be doing it, it would come up to the decision on what kind of controller should I put -- hardware RAID or software RAID implementation.
If money is not an issue (or at least, not a big issue), I would use hardware RAID with battery backup. RAID6 (or RAID5+spare) or something similar, depending on the goal.
I can't recommend OS for iSCSI target as it will depends on the hardware you choose and some other stuff. I would try to run several benchmarks with Linux and *BSD to see how it works for you.
October 13, 2009 10:31:26 AM

THe problem is that the money IS issue. That iswhy I`ve decided to use software iSCSI, thanks to yours answers and answers on another communities. The last stage left is to chose more reliable and affordable vendor. You all were patient to me enough, so I hope you`ll help me in this too.
a c 126 G Storage
October 13, 2009 3:15:50 PM

iSCSI is no shared storage protocol, its a SAN protocol.

NAS is a shared storage protocol, SMB/CIFS is, but iSCSI and ATA-over-Ethernet (AoE) is not. As a result, only one machine can use the data; while with shared access multiple machiens can access the data.

I've been trying this with Ubuntu without any local disks, and an iSCSI server with PXE network boot on the local network. So the Ubuntu machine boots without a disk, from the network, then uses its main system disk over the network using iSCSI. Doesn't work yet tho. :D 
October 19, 2009 10:35:12 AM

Where did you get that? When you are using iSCSI quantity of clients, that will connect to the target is setting up while target creating. And even if the quantity is 1, you can share data between multiply clients using NFS.
October 19, 2009 2:21:43 PM

wtih 10G's you can get alot of storage,,, buy a dl385 G1 ~$100 ebay, 2 36gb scsi drives for os (raid 1) ~$40, Smart array 6402 ~$80, MSA20 ~$400, 12 drive trays at ~$20 apice, and 12 seagate baracuda lp 1.5TB sata drives of newegg for ~$110 apice, your lookin at about 3k, and with raid 5 your getting 16TB. hook it up to your network, install server 03 give file premisons and boom massive storage and under budget

ps: all hardware is enterprise class, except hdd's witch have a 3 year warrenty after that they will be cheap ass hell to replace
a c 126 G Storage
October 19, 2009 2:51:30 PM

I don't understand that sentence. :p 

But iSCSI and AoE are SAN protocols, meaning only the client has access to the filesystem. The SAN server just sees binary; it doesn't have knowledge of files on the iSCSI/AoE filesystem.

Other protocols like CIFS and NFS are NAS protocols, meaning the server controls the filesystem and the clients access it on the filesystem level, instead of on the binary level. In essence the NFS/CIFS client have no knowledge about the actual filesystem, so Windows may actually be working on ZFS it doesn't know; it only knows NFS/CIFS protocol.

I finished my Ubuntu iSCSI experiments, where Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic is installed to an iSCSI disk over the network. I used FreeNAS as "server" running inside Virtualbox VM, while the Ubuntu client resides on a different system and boots using the network (PXE). This works pretty well once you get it up working. The only real limitation is that you cannot interrupt the network connection, doing so can freeze the system. One thing you have to do is setup /etc/network/interfaces to use a static IP and no DHCP; or it won't boot correctly.

Overall, this would allow me to run all my workstations without local disks, and use ZFS as filesystem for all my pc's, even the gaming pcs running windows (yeah i still have 2 boxes with windows :)  ). Oh i got 40MB/s with iSCSI, but that's within virtualbox. Once i'm going for a serious setup the iSCSI-target or "server" will be hosted by FreeBSD 8.0 - which will be released very soon.
October 27, 2009 9:18:16 AM

ZFS is good, it`s really good, but in such case this is superfluously.
About limitations of FreeNAS - it doesn't support such functions as Mirroring, Replication, VTL, and free addition has limits of storage capacity
a c 126 G Storage
October 27, 2009 4:04:57 PM

What limits? Why?
If it doesn't support mirroring what does the geom_mirror driver do? Replication what are protocols like rsync doing?

You can't turn FreeNAS is a multifunctional server easily, but for storage its not so limited and supports alot of protocols.
October 30, 2009 2:16:13 PM

I meant the basic product version. The product, that have no need in additions after installing. I think the question was about considering of product that you can use in second after installing.
November 3, 2009 1:02:56 PM

After all re researches I found that StarWind is good for my situation. Thanks everybody!
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