A Storage Area Network (SAN) is any high performance network whose primary purpose is to enable a storage device to communicate with computer systems and with each other. In a Storage Area Network you can interconnect any kind of storage devices like disks, tape drives and optical storages to make a network that stores data on it and can be accessed by all computers in the network.
Today, SAN is an alternative for NAS (Network Access Storage), which was developed to solve the problem of DAS (Direct Attached Storage). SAN allows the server to be also loaded with software and applications instead of being split between two duties (application use and storage use). Furthermore, it consolidates storage islands through the use of a high speed network. One of the most amazing benefits of SAN is the ability to boot an operating system from storage which allows easy replacement of a faulty server.
To allow cost effective long distance data transport, protocols like Fibre Channel Over IP (FCIP) and iSCSI protocol have been developed to allow SAN extension over an IP network.
In this tutorial we are going to use Openfiler, which is Linux based open source unified storage with NAS (CIFS, NFS, HTTP), and SAN (iSCSI, FC) enabled features to make an iSCSI SAN.
Downloading and installing the Openfiler
You can install Openfiler on a bare metal box or virtualize it with a hypervisor like VWmare. Download Openfiler ISO image from www.openfiler.com and burn it onto a CD or DVD to use it for installation.
For our example, we download the x86_64 ISO image and install it on the VMware Hypervisor.
Insert CD or DVD into the drive and boot the system. Press Enter to install Openfiler in graphical mode.
Select US English and click Next.
Note: If you receive any warning message regarding erasing the Data and partitions, just click OK to continue with the installation.
You are advised that installation requires partitioning of the hard drive. Leave the default settings and click Next to continue.
A warning message pops up saying that you have chosen to remove all partitions. Click Yes to continue.
Click Edit button and assign IP address to the Ethernet interface and click OK.
Assign Gateway and Primary DNS address that you are using in your network and click Next.
Select your time zone and click Next.
Specify your root user password and clickNext twice to start the installation process.
The installation process commences.
When you are advised that the installation is complete, click reboot to restart the machine.