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How To Build A Low-Cost High-Performance iSCSI SAN using HP Servers

In this example, we will configure a high-performance iSCSI SAN using an HP ProLiant server. The objective is to build a scalable storage array with at least 2TB of storage and 2 iSCSI ports. The configuration should allow room for growth in capacity and/or features. Date of this configuration: September 10, 2006.

The following server was configured using HP's online store. It consists of an HP ProLiant ML350 with 4GB of RAM (to be used as Storage Server cache). This is a tower server like those typically found in SMB environments.

We load up all internal disk slots with 6 internal 500GB SATA drives to be used as SAN storage. We'll use the HP 6 Port SATA RAID controller in place of the integrated 2 Port SATA controller, allowing us to configure the drives in RAID-5 for improved data protection. With RAID-5 on 6 x 500GB drives, this will yield approximately 2.5TB of usable SAN storage. We'll partition the RAID group with the controller to give us a small OS partition, and the rest we'll use in Virtual Storage Pools for our SAN.

This ProLiant model includes a single integrated 1Gb Ethernet port. We've added an additional 1Gb NIC. The two Gig-E ports will be used as iSCSI targets.

As this is in effect a Single Storage Processor SAN, we should take measures to ensure availability. We'll use the SATA RAID controller to protect against individual disk failure. We'll also add in a redundant power supply and fan. I would recommend installing a UPS as well.

Note we have several PCI slots available for expansion, so we can add additional storage and / or iSCSI or Fibre Channel targets as our future needs require.

-Configurable- HP ProLiant ML350 G4p SATA - Tower Server
HP ProLiant ML350 G4p SATA - Tower Server
Intel¨ Xeonª 3.40GHz/800MHz, 2M Processor
4GB Total REG PC2-3200 (4x1GB) memory
Microsoft¨ Windows¨ Server 2003 R2, Standard Edition + 5 CALS (Not Installed)
Integrated dual channel Ultra320 SCSI adapter for non hot plug bays
Integrated dual port SATA Controller for Primary Hard Drives
HP 6 Port SATA RAID Controller
6 x 1" Hot Pluggable Hard Drive Bays
HP 500GB SATA 1.5Gb 7,200 rpm 1" Hard Drive
HP 500GB SATA 1.5Gb 7,200 rpm 1" Hard Drive
HP 500GB SATA 1.5Gb 7,200 rpm 1" Hard Drive
HP 500GB SATA 1.5Gb 7,200 rpm 1" Hard Drive
HP 500GB SATA 1.5Gb 7,200 rpm 1" Hard Drive
HP 500GB SATA 1.5Gb 7,200 rpm 1" Hard Drive
1.44MB Floppy Disk Drive
HP 48X CD-ROM Drive
Embedded NC7761 PCI 10/100/1000T Gigabit network adapter
HP NC7771 PCI-X gigabit server adapter
HP 725W Hot plug redundant power supply
Redundant fan kit (non-hotplug)
Integrated Lights Out Remote Management
3 years parts, labor and onsite service (3/3/3) standard warranty. Certain restrictions and exclusions apply.
HP Care Pack, 4 Years, Next Day, Hardware, ProLiant ML350 $205.00
Hardware Total: $7,812.00

So we have configured our SAN hardware. The thing that's missing is the intelligence to turn this ordinary high-power server into a SAN: the SAN volume, caching, and LUN masking management, as well as the iSCSI target drivers to make the 2 Ethernet ports behave like an iSCSI storage array's ports. For this functionality we will use a unique software package from DataCore Software Corporation called SANmelody™. This software will turn the ProLiant into a performant iSCSI SAN.

As of this publication, DataCore has a limited-time SANmelody Virtual Infrastruture Foundation promotion which includes just the software we need.

SANmelody Virtual Infrastructure Foundation

* Consolidate and manage up to 3TB (Terabytes) of storage

* Virtual Storage Pooling - "Auto-Grow" provisioning of disk space

* Utilize existing Ethernet IP/LAN connectivity and networks

* Simple iSCSI SAN storage networking (supports 2 front-end ports)

* Storage caching and performance acceleration support

* Serve many servers and types (Windows, MacOS, Linux, UNIX, etc.)
Annual Support - SANmelody Virtual Infrastructure Foundation $250.00
Software Total: $1198.00

Total cost of our 2.5 TB iSCSI SAN, including support? $9010.00

Advantages of this Solution Over a Similarly Configured MSA1500

Las Solanas Consulting is not a DataCore or HP reseller. This article is published for informational purposes. However, you can purchase this software from the DataCore website or contact DataCore™ or a DataCore reseller for sales information.