Building your own SAN

20150619_152830SAN, Storage Area Network, is something most any small business will need eventually.  Even if they don’t know it!

Recently I was asked if I could find a way to build a SAN for a small business that didn’t want to spend $30k+ on a commercial Enterprise storage array solution.

I looked around and found this website article.

32TB of shared storage for $1,500 sounds pretty sweet, especially to a cash strapped small business.

What is SAN and what can you do with it?

Well a SAN is potentially a huge honking amount of storage.  Shared means that you can have more than one of your servers access this storage at the same time.

Traditionally there has been three things that have made SAN very expensive.  The hardware, the software and the disk drives (technically the hardware I know).

You can buy 2TB disk drives for $70 each.  That would be $1,120 of the $1,500 in this build!

Reading the above link will give you the details of what to buy and how to build the SAN.

I’ll tell you this.  If you’ve built a PC then you can build a SAN, at least from the aspect of getting the hardware put together and working.

If you go the Starwind iSCSI route you’ll need to purchase a copy of Windows Server 2008 R2, although I am testing the SAN using Windows Server 2008 and so far it’s working fine, actually better than fine with a 500mbs transfer rate.

I am using a Intel quad port 1 gigabit network card.  I downloaded and installed the Intel driver to “Team” the ports into a single 4 gigabit pipe.

On the server(s) side there is another 4 port 1 gigabit network card, but this one I “bound” the four ports into a single 4 gigabit pipe by using free CITRIX xenserver software.

I have added a 24 port gigabit HP switch that supports JUMBO frames.  The next step (currently waiting for the 32TB of disk storage to finish formatting) will be to add the second hardware Citrix xenserver, build a High Availability Pool and install VM’s.

What should happen is when one of the hardware servers fail, the second hardware server will restart the VMs that were running on it and in less than five minutes all VMs will be restored and I’ll receive an email telling me what happened.

Do you have mission critical (or user high b*tch factor) applications?  I mean people can usually do without email for long periods of time, but they’ll certainly complain every five minutes until it’s back up! :D

With this you can provide a quick and automated recovery of your email system.  Perhaps so quick that your user won’t complain at all, and even might have just picked up that phone only to see that email was back up, placing the handset back in the cradle! :D

So if you did’nt understand why SAN is something you need perhaps you have a better idea now.

Don’t have the ability to build your own SAN?  Perhaps you do but your the sole IT person and you just don’t have the time.  Contact MUCCS and we can help.

Oh! Maybe you’re interesting in a SAN at your house, but what could you use it for?  How about this. 32TB of RAID 6 storage is 28TB.  You can have two drive failures in this configuration, and not lose your data.  28TB of storage is over 4,200 DVDs!  Or a combination of DVDs (ripped and copied to your SAN) or many many hours of recorded HDTV!

Windows 7 32 bit VM running on SAN


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