PE2950 + PERC 4e/DC + PV220s for Openfiler

Collins, Kevin L. kcollins at
Mon Jun 7 15:55:10 CDT 2010

I'm contemplating the above combination for use as a NAS unit to be used by (among other things) vmWare ESXi 4.0.  I know there are newer/faster/better things available, but these are the components I have on hand to build the unit.

The PE2950 has 2x Dual Core 3.0 Ghz Xeons, 4GB of RAM, a PERC 5i running the internal drives.  The PV220s has 14x 300GB u320 drives in it, currently in single volume mode.  Roughly 3.9TB of storage.  I will need a bit more than 900GB of storage to hold the current and planned Virtual Machines - I figure I need to double that to hold the snapshots, so 1.8TB of storage is gone.

I'm planning on creating an iSCSI target and attach 2x PE2950 to that with ESXi 4.0 to run the virtual machines.  For simplicity's sake I'm also planning on housing the VM configuration files with the VXDs on the NAS, so I can shutdown/import/restart the virtual machines on either of the hosts as needed.

For backups, I was planning on attaching to another iSCSI target pointed at the snapshots with an offsite server.  This will allow me to send my data offsite on a constant basis.  That or possibly use rsync included with Openfiler to push the data offsite.  (I've not worked this part out completely yet.)

I'm concerned about a few things:

1). Performance.  To date all of my servers are running on local storage (even my vmWare machines).  Running things over the wire and then through a single storage unit concerns me.

2). Disk/RAID errors.  There has not been a week go by that the PV220s has been in service that I have not seen some kind of error in the logs associated with the 220s.  Most have been benign, but I'm still concerned.  To date, the PV220s has only been used to house backup data.  Putting it under what will no doubt be a very heavy load makes me think the errors will increase both in frequency and possibly severity.

3). Not having experience with NAS devices, I'd like to hear from anyone using  anything similar to this setup.


Kevin L. Collins, MCSE
Systems Manager
Nesbitt Engineering, Inc.

direct: 859-685-4524
cell:   859-317-1501

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