Jun 1, 2011

How To Create a HA Active/Passive Openfiler Cluster

Greetings fellow geeks! If you have been following along with me, I am thinking about changing SAN technologies in the office. The reason being is cost savings, pure and simple. Right now we have a NetApp FAS2020 which goes for $24,000. We are starting to run low on disk space, and instead of forking over another $24,000 I felt I could get something that does what we need for less.

Enter Openfiler ESA. For those that don’t know, Openfiler is a free and open source NAS/SAN operating system that runs on Linux. It can act as a simple file server, or if you want you can configure it as an iSCSI, or even a Fibre channel SAN. Not only that, but what sets it apart from other free NAS operating systems like FreeNAS is that you can actually configure Openfiler in a HA Active/Passive cluster for redundancy. Hell, you can even configure it for offsite replication for disaster recovery!

So here is my plan, I want to get two SuperMicro storage chassis with hardware RAID controllers. I will configure each chassis with hardware RAID 5. Then I will create a software network mirror of the two nodes using the HA setup for Openfiler using DRBD, Corosync and Pacemaker.

Here is a drawing of my plan to give you a visual:


I am not going to write out the full how-to because it is kind of a lengthy process. I will however direct you to the how-to I used in my test environment that worked out really well here: (Cluster Openfiler)

I will point out some things that I felt the author left out, or didn’t explain though:

  • Your Meta partition only needs to be 512MB, however your Data partition needs to be the full size of the storage you want to use for your SAN. I created my partitions using cfdisk. They must be logical partitions. Also, your data partition needs to be an LVM which is type 8e in cfdisk/fdisk. It’s important that you don’t create these partitions during the installation!
  • In the section where you create your LVM filter, the file you want to edit is /etc/lvm/lvm.conf

Other than that, I think the how to was pretty informative, and well written. If you follow it exactly, you should have your HA setup in no time!

Have you ever setup an Openfiler cluster? How do you like the performance? If you’ve setup an Openfiler cluster, have you ever used another SAN technology? how do you think it compares? Let me know your opinion in the comments!


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