OpenSolaris and ZFS for the win! posted Thu, 10 Dec 2009 02:51:57 UTC

The whole reason I started writing this little blog system was so I could point out technical crap I run across. I imagine this is why most technical folks start blogging actually. It's more of a reminder than anything else and it's nice to be able to go back and reference things later, long after I would have normally forgotten about them.

Anyway, I recently built a huge software based SAN using OpenSolaris 2009.06 at work. The hardware was pretty basic stuff, and included a SuperMicro MBD-H8Di3+-F-O motherboard, 2 AMD Istanbul processors (12 cores total), 32GB of RAM, and 24 Western Digital RE4-GP 7200RPM 2TB hard drives, all stacked inside a SuperMicro SC846E2-R900B chassis. The total cost was a little over $12,000.

Needless to say, this thing is a beast. Thanks to a little help from this blog post which pointed me to a different LSI firmware available here, I was able to see all 24 drives and boot from the hard drives. One thing to note though was that I did have to disable the boot support of the LSI controller initially to get booting from the OpenSolaris CD to work at all. Once I had installed everything, I simply went back into the controller configuration screen, and re-enabled boot support.

After getting everything up and running initially, it was then a matter of installing and configuring everything. I found the following pages to be rather invaluable in assisting me in this:

  • this will get you up and running almost all the way on the OpenSolaris side using the newer COMSTAR iSCSI target
  • this will get you the rest of the way on OpenSolaris with the all important views needing to be established at the end of it all
  • this will get your Windows machines setup to talk to this new iSCSI target on the network

And that should be all you need! So far things have been running well. My only problem so far was making the mistake of upgrading to snv_127 which is a development version. The MPT driver broke a bit somewhere between that and snv_111b which is what the 2009.06 release is based on. The breakage would cause the system to bog down overtime and eventually hang completely. Not acceptable behavior to say the last on our shiny new SAN. There are a few posts about this issue here and here. I'll just wait until the next stable version to upgrade at this point.