Category Archives: OpenFiler

How to set up an iSCSI Target in OpenFiler

Mr SecaGuy has put together a very useful step-by-step tutorial showing how you can set up a iSCSI target in OpenFiler: Create iSCSI target in OpenFiler.

“If you have a SAN storage, or a dedicated server to serve as file and storage service to other server, I am suggesting you to use Openfiler. This operating system is specifically built to manage and deliver file-based Network Attached Storage and block-based Storage Area Networking in a single framework.

I will not showing you on how to install Openfiler in this tutorial. I will show you on how to setup iSCSI target to be mounted in another server.”

By following these 9 steps you’ll have a iSCSI target up an running in a matter of minutes:

  • Review the block drive layout
  • Ensure iSCSI services are turned on
  • Specify which host can connect to the storage server
  • Create a physical volume
  • Create a volume group
  • Add volume
  • Perform iSCSI mapping
  • Allo whost to access target
  • iSCSI target ready.
About OpenFiler: Openfiler is an operating system that provides file-based network-attached storage and block-based storage area network. It was created by Xinit Systems, and is based on the rPath Linux distribution. It is free software licensed under the GNU General Public License version 2. Its software stack interfaces with open source third-party software.

Openfiler 2.3 Active/Passive Cluster with offsite replication node

howtoforge.com has put together an step-by-step tutorial showing how to set up OpenFiler cluster with offsite replication mode:

“Openfiler is a Linux based NAS/SAN application which can deliver storage over nfs/smb/iscsi and ftp. It has a web interface over that you can control these services.

The cluster we build will consist of two nodes replicating each other and taking over services and storage in case of emergency. Furthermore we have an Offsite Replication Server, which ideally stands in a physically different position and replicates the configurations/storage from which ever node is active. In case of emergency this Offsite Replication Server can be used to restore the cluster and to deliver the services.”

This is a great and easy to follow howto.

Openfiler 2.3 Active/Passive Cluster with offsite replication node

Creating a NAS Box Using OpenFiler

“In a recent article we saw how easy it is to take an existing server and enable NFS, effectively turning it into a NAS box (See Creating a NAS Box with an Existing System). The steps are fairly simple and nearly all Linux distributions come with NFS (excluding some of the embedded or specialized distributions). However, implicit in this approach is that you have to maintain the server distribution by keeping it up to date, making sure it is patched, and implementing your own security on the system. This can include many packages installed on the server that have nothing to do with NFS or NAS.

“An alternative approach is to use a dedicated NAS appliance distribution that uses only the packages necessary for a NAS box. This would reduce the number of packages that you need to keep up to date or even monitor for security problems. This article examines one popular NAS distribution, OpenFiler.”

Use OpenFiler as Free VMware ESX SAN Server

“Many of the VMware ESX Server advanced features cannot be used without a SAN (storage area network). Besides the high cost of the ESX Server software and the Virtual Infrastructure Suite, a SAN can be a huge barrier to using VMware ESX and features like VMotion, VMware High Availability (VMHA), and VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS). In this article, we take a look at how you can download a free open-source iSCSI server and use it as your SAN storage for VMware ESX and its advanced features.

OpenFiler is a free open-source SAN server. It offers NFS, SMB (for Windows), iSCSI, and HTTP file sharing. You can download it as a fully installed VMware virtual disk or as an ISO image that you need to install. Either way, there is no cost. Openfiler is simply a modified version of Linux that provides an iSCSI Target for iSCSI initiators like VMware ESX and Windows.”

David Davis explains step-by-step how to set up and use Use OpenFiler as Free VMware ESX SAN Server

The greatest open source software of all time: OpenFiler

There are many open source software gems. InfoWorld has awarded the 2009 Bossies (Best of Open Source Software Awards). The award is presented to the forty best free business applications.

OpenFiler caught the InfoWorld reviewers’ special attention. The flexible NAS solution also scooped the best SAN tool award:

openfiler_logo“OpenFiler is a SAN/NAS appliance based on rPath Linux. According to its creator, OpenFiler actually began life atop Fedora Linux, moved to CentOS, and final settled on rPath, attracted by that Linux’s impressive package-management environment. OpenFiler can operate at either the SAN or NAS level — or both simultaneously.

OpenFiler’s feature set is impressive. It provides drivers for a wide array of peripheral busses: It can talk to disk drives on IDE, SAS, SATA, SCSI, or iSCSI interfaces. If you need RAID, OpenFiler is compatible with hardware from Adaptec, LSI Logic, Intel, and others. Further, it can handle file systems up to 60TB in size. Its supported Ethernet controllers include Fast, Gigabit, and 10 Gigabit controllers from Intel and Broadcom. In spite of these bounteous capabilities, its actual processor and memory requirements are modest. A standard x86 system with 256MB of RAM, 1GB of disk space for the OS image, and at least one Ethernet card is all you need to get going.

There’s not much to see in the console when you boot an OpenFiler system. You can log in to the console or through SSH and execute Linux commands in case you need to modify boot scripts and configuration files. But as with m0n0wall and IPCop, management of OpenFiler is through the administration user GUI hosted on a built-in Web server. (If you need access to shell commands, the GUI provides a secure shell terminal via a Java applet.)

The tabbed administration GUI leads you to sections wherein you can configure several components. Among them are users and groups. This requires you to select either LDAP or Windows as the authentication system. If you don’t have a Windows server available, OpenFiler comes with the open source OpenLDAP server.

You also have the ability to configure volumes. Here you identify the attached disk drives, select the file system type with which they will be formatted (XFS or ext3; future versions hope to provide ext4 and btrfs), define volume groups, and — finally — create actual volumes that users can access.

Additionally, you can configure quotas, which control user group consumption of disk resources; you can establish shares, which makes named file system locations accessible by SMB and NFS; and you can manage mirrors, backups, and snapshots.

There’s much more; consequently, OpenFiler’s administration and management system requires some learning time. (This is less a fault of OpenFiler and more the simple fact that OpenFiler can support so many different configurations.) The online installation instructions will get you started, but if you don’t feel up to a bout of self-education and need additional guidance, you can purchase an OpenFiler support package from the product’s Web site. In any case, if you need either a SAN or a NAS system, OpenFiler is well worth the time you’ll spend getting it installed and tuned.”

Congratulations to Openfiler