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Im looking for an OS, to install on a server, which has 4x 1Tb disks. Id like to couple those disks as an RAID-5 array, and share it over iSCSI to VMWare ESXi 5. Im not sure if this exists...

I have tried/looked into:
- Freenas, older version dont work with ESXi, newer versions dont run RAID-5 without ZFS.
- Openfiler, some kernel-issues with my NICs, I think
- NexentaSTOR, again RAID-Z instead of RAID-5
- DSS V6 Lite, Seems good, but lite has a 2Tb limitation

Any suggestions? Or should I make one myself (eg. Centos + mdadm + iSCSI)?

EDIT: So I might use the RAID-Z after all... (thanks to 3dinfluence)

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closed as not constructive by Chris S Sep 20 '12 at 18:22

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Why are you dead set on RAID 5? If ZFS can provide you with effectively identical redundancy and the same cost, what's the problem? – MDMarra Dec 5 '11 at 19:29
If Openfiler has a problem with your network adapters, why not replace them? – Zoredache Dec 5 '11 at 19:35
R5? really, must you? it stinks – Chopper3 Dec 5 '11 at 19:40
Since Im using it with ESX, it wants to format the whole disk as VMFS, so that why I dont think I can use ZFS (Please correct me if Im wrong) EDIT: And also the network adapters are two integrated Intel NICs, and Id rather not go buy a good card (and get the riser for the server) – Esa Varemo Dec 5 '11 at 19:51
Shopping Questions are Off-Topic on any of the Stack Exchange sites. See Q&A is hard, lets go Shopping and the FAQ for more details. – Chris S Sep 20 '12 at 18:22
up vote 3 down vote accepted

NexentaStor may be the best choice of what you've mentioned. There's an 18TB storage limit. You can configure and present volumes via iSCSI. ZFS's raidz is a parity RAID similar RAID5, but fits better into the ZFS data protection model.

Edit: Also, you didn't specify how many ESXi servers you're trying to accommodate with this storage unit. It sounds like you're looking to use this with a single ESXi host. If that's the case, you may be better served by using local disks and a hardware RAID controller in your ESXi server versus adding a shared storage solution.

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Id like to use ZFS, but ESX(i) wants VMFS – Esa Varemo Dec 5 '11 at 19:55
With iSCSI you're sharing a block device. You can format that block device with any file system you want from the host that is using it. In ZFS you would make a zVol and share that over iSCSI. – 3dinfluence Dec 5 '11 at 20:32
I didnt know that was possible... Even Freenas documentation seems to be confused: "To create a zvol, go to Storage -> Volumes -> Create ZFS Volume... Note that this menu option is not available until after you have created a ZFS volume." Theres so much to learn about ZFS... – Esa Varemo Dec 5 '11 at 21:27
See my edited comment about the number of ESXi servers you're planning to use. – ewwhite Dec 6 '11 at 1:45
The local storage is already in use, with my (Sun 1U) server not having any more disk slots – Esa Varemo Dec 6 '11 at 7:32

FreeNAS most certainly does support RAID-5 through the gvinum interface. As other have mentioned it's a poor choice for an ESXi store. But if you refuse to use ZFS's RAID-Z ( better than R5 in every way), don't have a RAID HBA, and are stuck on RAID 5, it's available and works.

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With ZFS on NexentaStor you could also opt to do NFS instead of iscsi with vSphere and leverage native thin provisioning with datastores on nfs and all the benefits of file system semantics. Personally, I find nfs to be far better for datastores than I SCSI. With IPMP I can protect from a spot at the network layer, without using aggregation. I won't even start on benefits of doing snapshots of file system v. a block device.

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