Saturday, 6 April 2013

Home Lab: Storage Upgrade

I've been quiet over the last few months due to a very busy work project. With that now out of the way (for now!), I can update on a few of the things I've been doing with the home lab...

As detailed in a previous post, I've been running my NAS/SAN on Nexenta. This was originally running as a VSA under ESXi. While this configuration worked very well for me, I did notice that on the Microserver, the Nexenta VM was being CPU and RAM constrained. When my old ML110 G5 was replaced by the G7 servers, I decided to reprovision the Nexenta VM onto dedicated hardware.

The ML110 G5 has six SATA ports and I configured them as follows:
  1. 250GB SATA
  2. 60GB SSD
  3. 1TB SATA
  4. 1TB SATA
  5. 1TB SATA
  6. 1TB SATA
The Nexenta operating system is installed on the 250GB disk. While this is not mirrored, there is nothing particularly important on this disk and if it dies then it can be replaced, Nexenta re-installed and the important zpool reimported.

The 60GB SSD is configured as a L2ARC (read) cache device.

The four 1TB hard drives are configured in a RAID10 configuration. This gives better performance than my original configuration which used RAID-Z (aka RAID5) and is used for both NFS and iSCSI shares. It's where the "important stuff" is stored.

I added a Lights Out board for the ML110 G5 which I found on Ebay. All my other servers have lights out and it means I don't need to have a monitor attached.

In addition to the capacity and improved performance due to the faster RAID, the other advantage of going physical is that I can dedicate the entire 8GB of RAM in the server to Nexenta (up from 4GB on the VSA). Nexenta also benefits from having two Xeon cores dedicated to it, a significant increase over the cores in the Microserver.

I've not had the chance to benchmark the new build, but it "feels" faster than running under a VM and it also frees up CPU and RAM on my Microservers for more VMs.