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I am currently using Nexentastor for my home lab. In my previous post I’ve explained how I build my low power 64Gb home lab. I’ve installed Nexentastor Community Edition on my virtual machine with the following specs:
- 8GB RAM
- 16Gb system disk on local SSD
- use VMXNET3 network adapter for better performance.
- I attached 7 disks as RDM (4 SATA + 3 SSD)
If you got VT-d capable CPU you might want to attach your SATA controller directly to your Nexenta VM.
Download the Nexentastor community edition from here:
My NexentaStor uses SSDs for ARC cache to provide high availability and better performance.
- NexentaStor uses physical HDDs as volumes for capacity. A volume can be a single disk or multiple disks.
- Nexenta volumes are comprised of one or more virtual devices (VDEV) to address physical disk failures. A VDEV can be a mirror, or any RAID level (RAID-Z, RAID-Z2, or RAID-Z3) configuration.
- VDEVs are read and written to as a physical stripe. Therefore, using more VDEVs creates a wider stripe and improves performance. NexentaStor automatically distributes the load across all devices and reads from wherever the data resides.
The following are best practices for your network:
- Separate the backend storage network from any client traffic (by using VLAN’s).
- Separate the internal network from your externally-accessible networks.
- Use Jumbo Frames (MTU 9000) on your network end to end (ESX vSwitch and VMkernel – Physical switch – Nexenta network interface).
Create Dataset using the GUI
First you need to create your ZFS volume
- Click Data Management > Data Sets.
- In the Volumes pane, click Create.
- Select the disks to assign to the volume
- Select an appropriate Redundancy Type.
- In this example screenshot I used a stripe of 4 SATA disks. (only for testing, NO REDUNDANCY) I recommend you to mirror all your SATA disks to get more performance and redundancy.
- In my setup I mirrored my log disks (write cache) and have only one cache disk (read cache). The cache disk is for your read cache and does not need to be mirrored.
- The picture below shows the minimal, good, better and bests options to go for:
NexentaStor NFS Folder Options
When you create the NFS folder on the Nexenta Appliance, set the following options:
- Click Data Management > Shares
- Click Create and create a new share
- Record size: 8K – 16K (default is 128K)
- Deduplication: OFF
- Set compression to ON, to have minimal CPU impact. compression ON uses LZJB compression.
Don’t use gzip. It’s not a great fit, due to threading issues in the implementation, although there are some interesting new integrations coming in more recent ZFS releases
- You can disable Sync to speed up your NFS server but this is not recommended. If you have a power failure you will corrupt all your volumes / shares.
Set NFS version
- Click Settings / Misc. Services.
- In the NFS Server pane, click Configure
- Select the Service State option to enable NFS
- Type 3 to set the Server version (default is 4) vSphere still runs NFS v3.
Enabling VAAI for NFS!
I wrote about this earlier. You can use VAAI for NFS on your virtual or physical Nexenta box. I found the beta VAAI plugin in some USB stick I got from Nexenta on VMworld Barcelona. Check it out here.
Add NFS share to your ESXi box
- Click Data Management > Shares
- Click on the share you created and copy the mountpoint “/volumes/zfs/nfs01” to your clipboard:
- Use the mount point to mount the share to your ESXi box
For more Best Practices for Running vSphere on NFS Storage, read this excelent whitepaper:
Using NexentaStor for VMware Customers:
That’s about it. If you have any remarks, questions or you experience issues?
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