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which file system can serve storage to Windows and VMware ESX clients?

planning a storage server box ~ 10TB using NexentaStor or FreeNAS. this has to serve Primarily Windows 2003, 2008 servers and occasionally VMware ESX. is that possible? please correct me if wrong.thx

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Use Veeam FastSCP to move files. It works much faster than the VIClient. – Joseph Apr 28 '10 at 11:56
got FastSCP, but howto useit? any docs? – John-ZFS Apr 28 '10 at 13:40
up vote 4 down vote accepted

In terms of filesystem for the actual NexentaStor you're pretty much stuck between ext2/ext3 and ZFS and given NexentaStor is there for, and because of, ZFS then you're best sticking with that. As for what 'sharing protocols' you need (which is what I think you're really asking) then you've got a few choices;

  • For Windows the default sharing protocol is SMB/CIFS for file-level sharing but it can also supports iSCSI for block-level when conbined with a clustered file-system, it can also use NFS if you add the extra code that comes with Windows (called SFU). It can also support Fibre-Channel with the right drivers and a few other protocols such as AFP if you add extra third-party code.
  • For shared storage ESX supports Fibre-Channel, iSCSI and NFS - nothing else.

So it depends on how you want to connect your servers, I'm no expert but I believe NexentaStor supports FC connections as well as 1/10Gb Ethernet. If you want one sharing protocol for all then clearly it needs to be either iSCSI or NFS, personally I prefer NFS over iSCSI for ESX but then again Windows deals with iSCSI better than it deals with NFS (unless you buy extra code anyway).

If I were you I'd use ZFS for your actual file system and then share using SMB/CIFS to Windows servers and NFS to ESX servers, you should be able to do this all from a single file system share although I can't see why you'd want to.

Come back to us if you have any further questions.

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great! many thanks. Will get back as i digest :) – John-ZFS Apr 21 '10 at 14:06
setup NFS for ESXi4 using freenas. Share mounted on ESXi, But the problem is file copy between the datastores using VIClient is very slow. "Incoming" on "Lan" interface is oscillating between 4Kbps and 15Mbps. IS there something which could be done to improve? – John-ZFS Apr 22 '10 at 9:13
@maruti, I'm no fan of FreeNAS and prefer FC over NFS but if you're dead-set on using a NAS then you're more likely to see inconsistent performance when using these free implementations. – Chopper3 Apr 22 '10 at 9:56

For serving to windows, it has to be CIFS... on the wire. On the disk, it can be whatever you want.

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ZFS is also available on FreeNas, just not its SIS/de-dupe implementation yet. When it does get rolled into FreeNAS, it'll give NexentaStor a very good run for the money since OpenSolaris is such a hog/pig.

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OpenSolaris is hog/pig? in what sense, pls explain? – John-ZFS Jul 23 '10 at 9:14
There is a 3 year+ memory issue detailed here in… – user48838 Jul 26 '10 at 2:50

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