ISCSI SAN Solutions

Over the last 6 weeks I have been looking at how I could reduce the costs when adding corporate storage. Storage seems to be one of the biggest IT expenditures a business has to invest in and for academic institutes it’s not always possible because of the funding implications.

I have been working with HP’s Lefhand G1/2 P4000 SAN in a Raid 10 cluster, even though the resilience is there it still costs around £37,000 to add 2 extra nodes to a cluster. HPs CMC manager is very easy to use and the simplicity for adding nodes is there, my only issue is paying £37,000 every time the business needs to expand.

I have spent a considerable amount of time looking at solutions to reduce costs and have come up with the following.

HP Prolient DL380 G7/8 Storage Solution

For a HP Prolient Dl380 G8 server and the hardware specs detailed below, you would be looking at a price around £10,000.

Hardware specs:

HP DL380 G7/8

24 GB Ram

16x 1TB Disks SFF

1x 4GB SD card

1x 1gb Raid cache and battery


Open Filer

VMware ESXI Hypervisor

The reason for choosing HP’s DL380 is the ILO support so that if anything goes wrong you can access the server remotely Via ILO. There are other vendors out there that can provide Similar hardware specs to HP’s.


The main benefit of using OpenFiler is it’s free and it supports both FC and ISCSI. It is simple to use and it is managed by a web GUI.

OpenFiler can be used for the following setups:

  • IP Storage Gateway
  • Disk-to-disk Backup
  • Video surveillance
  • Virtual Machine Migration
  • Continuous Data protection
  • heterogeneous File Sharing
  • Exchange server backend
  • Virtual Machine Storage backend
  • Network User home Directories
  • Media Archiving

Some of the features include:

  •  heterogeneous File sharing
  • Exchange Server Backend
  • Virtual Machine Backend
  • Network User home directories
  • Media archiving

OpenFiler runs on a Linux 2.6 Kernel and supports the latest hardware, it is scalable to 60TB+ and takes approximately 10 minutes to install. By using OpenFiler I can reduce my storage costs down by £17,000. I have also found that you can back up the configuration, setup clusters and  if you wanted you can purchase a support agreement. Again there are other solutions out there like the HP ESXI VSA product which retails around £3000 per node.

OpenFiler can be used as virtual SAN appliance, and proves to be very useful if you want to reduce the number physical devices in your infrastructure.

 Installation on a Bare Metal device

 download the Openfiler ISO and burn it to CD

Boot the device from CD


OpenFiler [online], Available from:  [Accessed: 15.6.12]

VMware, VSphere Hypervisor ESXI [online], available from: [Accessed: 15.6.12]

HP [online], available from: [Accessed: 15.6.12]

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