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I work for a smallish manufacturing firm and saving money is a top priority. I was wondering if any of you have ever built an iSCSI SAN from scratch for production.

Our file server is running low on storage capacity and the XP based security camera systems need some additional capacity after they increased the number of cameras without letting me know....

This is what I am looking at for my base with OpenFiler as the OS.

http://biz.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5394617&CatId=2684

I figure with that a decent mobo, RAID card, and some disks I can come up with a decent starter system for around $2000.

Any suggestions or advice?

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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Give a look at opensolaris storage box.
You get everything you need plus much more.
Think about ZFS capabilities, saving money about raid controller, smb-nfs-iscsi shares, easy manageability of ZFS pool, easy backup and restore and others.
Read this post:

http://www.stringliterals.com/?p=77

http://constantin.glez.de/blog/2010/04/opensolaris-zfs-home-server-reference-design?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ConstantThinking+%28Constant+Thinking%29

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This looks pretty interesting. I'll certainly consider it! –  Robert Kaucher Jul 7 '10 at 12:23
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An alternative thought - do you really need iSCSI?

Linux does come with iSCSI target drivers, but from what you say it looks like you could just set up another machine with a disk share and mount that on your security camera machine instead of whatever volume they're saving data to now, so iSCSI might not be necessary.

In that case, you could just use Samba instead of an iSCSI target.

Also, if you can get away with re-targeting at another share you might be able to use an off-the-shelf NAS box for the security camera footage as well - a little one with two mirrored 1TB disks will cost quite a lot less than $2000.

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Well,it's also for the file server and we also use VMware ESXi, though with local storage. So there are some good reasons to go with iSCSI. But you guys have given me some good food for thought. –  Robert Kaucher Jul 2 '10 at 20:25
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I considered building a storage server and running FreeNAS on it. In the end, I couldn't come close to the price-per-GB of the ReadyNAS 2100 without using 2U. I haven't put the RN2100 into production yet, so I can't yet vouch for it but I have been satisfied with my RN1100, which I use as a CIFS NAS.

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