Virtual Storage Appliances

Any geek interested in virtualization is probably running a test lab.  The scope and scale differ from multiple white box “servers” running a hypervisor of choice, to those that attempt to run everything virtualized within VMware Workstation or another Type 2 hypervisor.  I fall into the latter category, my lab exists on my PC within VMware Workstation.

If you wish your lab to support advanced features that typically require shared SAN storage  then you need a device that supports IP storage.  There are some hardware devices out there, I personally haven’t used it but the Iomega ix2-200 is generally thought of to be a good device.

For those that prefer full virtualization there are many virtual storage appliances (VSA) available.

Openfiler –

Openfiler is a product that I have used in the past.  It’s a Linux based open source VSA that supports NFS/iSCSI protocols and includes replication features.  Openfiler works well for cluster environments.  One weakness I found with it in the past was lack of VMware Site Recover Manager support.  It doesn’t surprise me that there is not an SRA available, you should just keep it in mind if you planned on running a test/demo SRM environment.

Microsoft iSCSI Target –

It was announced earlier this week that Microsoft was offering it for free.  Don’t expect a lot of bells and whistles but for those that are more GUI inclined this is a good option.

EMC Celerra VSA –

EMC offers a virtual appliance version of their Celerra system.  I’ve played around with it and its pretty powerful.  Management is done with Unisphere, and functionally I think they say it is the same as the physical Celerra system.  There is an SRA available so you can replicate between systems and use SRM.


I’m sure there are other options out there but these are a few that I am familiar with.

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