[svlug] NAS versus SAN

Don Marti dmarti at zgp.org
Thu Oct 22 11:01:03 PDT 2009

begin Emmanuel Mayssat quotation of Thu, Oct 22, 2009 at 10:44:56AM -0700:

> Can I do a SAN storage server with a traditional linux computer? or can 
> linux machines only be 'clients' ?

Linux can be an "initiator" or a "target" for SANs.
Performance varies all over the place depending
on workload.

> What is the cheapest and minimalist setup for SAN on linux?

The very simplest SAN is ATA over Ethernet (AoE),
running the generic AoE target, vblade.  Check your
distribution's package list for vblade packages --
I know it's in Debian and Fedora.

There are a few setup articles floating
around -- here's a pretty good one for Debian:

(There are also pre-integrated, supported AoE storage
appliances, both SOHO/developer boxes and larger
rack-mount units with RAID.)

> Do I need a FC switch or can I have a linux storage server with several 
> FC interfaces?

Well, for the very cheapest, you don't need FC at all.
Just regular Ethernet will do for either AoE or iSCSI.
For performance and security you should plan to
use a separate interface, but a lot of servers give
you two Ethernet interfaces out of the box anyway.
(The main difference between AoE and iSCSI is that
AoE is _not_ routable across LANs, but only requires
about 1/4 of the CPU workload, which may or may not
matter to you depending on what else your initiator
("client") is doing.)

Don Marti                                 +1 510-332-1587 mobile
dmarti at zgp.org

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