How to configure OpenFiler v2.3 iSCSI Storage for use with VMware ESX

On my to-do list was to write up a How-To on using OpenFiler iSCSI storage appliance with VMware ESX. The OpenFiler appliance is a free appliance that you can use to turn local storage into an iSCSI target. Well, Simon over at TechHead in the UK did a bang up job (that’s London speak!) with a How-To detailing installing the OpenFiler software and using it with ESX.

I’ve heard great things about OpenFiler from our customers who are using it. Keep in mind, you’ll want to keep OpenFiler in DR environments or Test/Dev environments as there is some limits on performance. But those who are looking for a free iSCSI target or appliance, it’s a good one.

You might also check out our other post on some of the other common iSCSI appliances, very similar to OpenFiler:


Xtravirt XVS iSCSI SAN VM Appliance

VM/ETC posted awhile back an excellent article about a free iSCSI SAN VM appliance that you can download from Xtravirt, which I just found today. It doesn’t sound like it can scale beyond using storage from 2 ESX servers, but for a really small environment or a home lab, it might do the trick. 

This post is similar to these other options we’ve mentioned for iSCSI SAN VM appliances:


DropBox – Online Sync, Backup for Multiple Computers

I found this really useful program called DropBox. It’s another Beta program that’s taking a “cloud” approach to storing files and data. It looks to be for home/SMB use but I’ve found it very useful so far. You can use it on Mac, Windows or Linux and store your files online and sync all of the files between computers (for those Mac users out there, think .Mac or MobileMe functionality, without the Apple pricetag). It also does versioning (for backup sake), as well as un-delete and all that jazz. You can also share files with users by giving them a direct link to folders or files, say for a team project or something.

Hope it’s useful to you!

How good is your backup solution?

Most organizations believe that their data is well protected because they have a backup system in place, or because they use a RAID array to protect their data against disk failure. The truth is very few entities have complete protection.
A complete data protection solution requires protection in several areas. Hardware resiliency protects against component failure. Point in time protection ensures that data can be recovered from some point in the past, whether seconds, minutes, hours or days. Geographic protection prevents loss of data in case of some sort of site wide failure. Many organizations also require some sort of long term retention of critical data for compliance purposes or in case of legal action.

The following list describes some of the strategies used for each type of data protection:

Hardware Resilience – Protects against hardware component failure:

    RAID Controller cards
    Software RAID
    External Storage Arrays

Point-in-time Protection – Protects against data loss or corruption due to hardware or software failure, user error or deliberate actions:

    Enterprise Backup Utilities
    Software or Hardware Based Snapshots
    Continuous Data Protection Tools

Geographic Protection – Protects against site wide failures:

    Off-site Tape Storage
    Disk based backup replication
    Replication Software
    Storage Array Based Replication

Long-Term Protection – Used when business or legal policies require retention of data beyond standard backup retention:

    File System and E-Mail Archiving