Project: Building a cheap NAS, part 6

Filed Under (Storage, VMWare ESXi 4) by Just An Admin on 04-10-2011

It has been a while. Due to ‘other activities’ we had to put our FreeNAS server project on hold. But we are here again and have found a nice and cool spot for our server in the Server Room. Good thing, because the noise is killing.

SASUC8I in ‘IT’ mode

When looking for a good controller for our setup, we came across several posts advising to use the SASUC8i controller in ‘IT’ mode aka Initiator/Target mode, especially when using a ZFS file system. In general, it is referred to as a non-RAID mode of operations for your LSI 1068e based controller. This allows software direct access to all the connected disks, instead of the logical RAID set that is defined. Although i have seen only good responses to the IT mode operation of this controller card, there have been few reports of I/O failures when querying SMART values rapidly (ref: here). In general this is a very good choice controller for a broad range of operating systems, including FreeNAS. Read the rest of this entry »

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Project: Building a cheap NAS, part 2

Filed Under (Storage, VMWare ESXi 4, Windows Networking) by Just An Admin on 19-04-2011

Part 2: The Motherboard

Picking the right motherboard for our project was most likely the most difficult part. Besides the overwhelming amount of motherboards to choose from, we had a very strict set of demands:

  • Must have two PCI-E x8 or x16 slots, three would even be better
  • Must be supported under FreeBSD/FreeNAS 7.x/8.x
  • Must offer at least 6 onboard SATA ports
  • Must offer at least two, teamable or Link Aggregation (LAGG) compatible network interfaces, thee would even be better
  • Must have an onboard USB port
  • Must be server grade quality
  • Must have an onboard Video card

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Project: Building a cheap NAS, part 1

Filed Under (Storage, VMWare ESXi 4, Windows Networking) by Just An Admin on 14-04-2011

A NAS storage is no longer a luxury for the big companies that are able to spend 5-6 figures. For the last few years NAS storage has become a common product even to be found in small offices and home environments. Most of these products perform pretty good out-of-the-box and do exactly what they where designed to do; Store data and make it accessible through different protocols.

But….. i am looking for more. Most 4 to 6 drive solutions do not offer me the Terra-bytes needed to store my data. I need more and I’m not willing to pay an arm and a leg to get it. So I decided to build my own hardware setup and use FreeNAS to build our own NAS storage.

I’m going to build this unit on borrowed knowledge and good common sense.  There are some pretty decent sources of information on the web, like the FreeNAS community or different public community forums. And a lot of DiY NAS builders that have paved the way.

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HOW TO Create your own bootable VMWare ESXi 4 usb stick

Filed Under (VMWare ESXi 4) by Just An Admin on 29-05-2009

I’ve updated an exisiting article to match the VMware ESXi 4 requirements, but this document was originally posted here. VMware ESXi 4 is certified to run on a broad range of 64-bit hardware.

Requirements:

  • 1 GB USB flash drive (aka pen drive or USB stick) or larger
  • WinImage
  • 7Zip

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