Configuring and installing Nexenta Storage Appliance
Alan Johnson June 2012
Data Sharing is key to today’s enterprise. Data needs to be available at all times. Reliability is achieved by implementing a set of robust software layers upon reliable hardware. Redundant systems are used to accomplish this. In addition systems need to be easy to configure, intuitive and to report issues in a timely and well presented fashion. The Nexenta Storage appliance accomplishes this by providing a robust file system that functions with regular hardware in a cost effective manner.
The purpose of this document is to provide a fast track to implementing a Nexenta solution. By its very nature the scope of the tutorial is limited and should be supplemented by the excellent Nexenta documentation.
The version used here is the community edition V3.1. Enterprise users will most likely prefer to go for the higher featured offerings.
Nexenta is a company that offers storage appliance software. Nexenta’s web site offers a freely available community edition or a trial copy of the full software. In this tutorial the community edition will be used but the features that are available with the full edition will be discussed in some details. Nexenta is based on SUNOS (Sun is now part of Oracle) and uses ZFS as the file system. Their web site (www.nexenta.com) lists the NexentaStor features as follows:
Obtain the community edition iso image from http://www.nexentastor.org and burn to a bootable CD/DVD.
Set the server’s BIOS to boot from the CD/DVD and follow the prompts.
The first screen relates to the software license. Read the license and agree to continue the installation process.
Initially the base appliance software is loaded and after this has been completed, a set of default settings are applied.
NOTE: These defaults can be changed during the initial configuration phase.
Finally the system will prompt for a reboot.
When the system reboots it will require a registration key that is locked to the machines signature (shown on the screen) – obtain the key from www.nexenta.com/register-eval and fill out the form with the machine signature field completed. Nexenta will then send out the registration key to the email provided.
After this go back to the installation screen and enter the registration key received.
The next step is to reconfigure the default settings. At the <Reconfigure> prompt respond <y>. The first option is whether to use a static or dynamic IP address. In this case a DHCP address will be used (although a static address may be required in commercial setups to ensure that the IP address is constant). After the IP address has been configured, note the IP address that has been assigned and respond <n> to the reconfigure prompt. The next choice is whether to HTTP or HTTPS as the Web GUI protocol.
Note: The system lets you know that you can reconfigure the protocol by entering the command setup appliance init later.
In this instance HTTP will be used. There is a prompt to use port 2000 for the GUI. The final screen will present a console login prompt. The next step is to begin storage configuration from a remote system using a GUI.
Navigating with the GUI
Point the browser at <IP address>:2000/ where IP address is the address configured during the installation.
Setting up the Hostname and Time Zone
The first screen opens a wizard which prompts for host, domain name and time zone information. Configure as appropriate and select <Next> to continue.
Step 2 is used to change the default passwords (nexenta) for the root and admin accounts. Configure the accounts with secure passwords.
Setting email enunciation
The next screen is used to setup email notification.
Select <Next> to get to the confirmation screen.
Completing the first part of the setup wizard
Verify that the parameters are correct and then select <Save>.
Configuring the network
The next stage is to configure the network. Edit the network or select <Next Step> if no changes need to be made.
Select <Next> to enter the iSCSI initiator screen.
Note: Not all systems have access to iSCSI storage. In the interests of continuity, iSCSI configuration is presented later on in this tutorial.
Select <Next Step> to begin the disk configuration.
The system shows three locally attached disks. The first disk (250GB) was the disk chosen to install the Nexenta software on. The other two devices (500GB and 1TB) are available for data storage and they will be configured to serve data to clients. Select <Next Step> and then on the next screen select <Add New Volume>. This will open a dialogue showing the devices that are available for volume configuration.
Configuring a volume
Here devices c0d1 and c1da are available. Highlight the devices, select a Redundancy Type and then select <Add to Pool>. The redundancy type used here was mirrored as shown in the next screen. Name the volume.
Note: Since the disks are of different capacities the volume is truncated to the capacity of the smallest device. Normally this is a poor practice as it wastes capacity but for the purposes of this tutorial it is acceptable.
There are a number of choices on this screen – name the volume, select Deduplication if required, select compression if the data is of a type that benefits from compression and then select the remaining options and finally select <Create volume>.
The newly created volume is shown above along with the amount of space currently allocated. This volume can now be shared via a network sharing protocol such as NFS or CIFS. Select <Next Step> and then enter the configuration parameters for the share.
Note: The parameters are dependent on the application type being used; refer to the Nexenta documentation for further details.
Folder and Share Creation
Select <Create> and then in step #5 select the networks protocols that are to be used. Here CIFS has been selected.
Select <Create> and then <Next Step>. A summary screen is shown following:
The devices are now available for sharing and can be accessed from a Microsoft client system.
The default access to the share is by user “smb”. The share password can be changed by referring to the section “Change CIFS Password” below.
Now that the initial wizard screens have been completed the NMV can be started. The NMV is the Nexenta Management View program and is used for configuration tasks. The NMV launch screen is shown below and can be accessed via username “admin” and the password that was set up on page 4.
General Page with NMV
Select <General> to show a general statistics page. Each tab (General, Storage and Network) will give relevant statistics for the item selected. The screen below shows data relating to the CPU utilization along with network and disk performance.
Settings Page with NMV
The setting page shows information relating to the following categories:
- Misc Services
The appliance setting can be used to view and edit settings such as hostname, time zone, domain name. These are the same parameters that were prompted for during the initial wizard configuration phase. Settings are changed by selecting the appropriate link in the left hand pane.
Moving further down the screen, maintenance task can be invoked such as rebooting or powering off the appliance. In addition the wizards can be revisited from the links.
The <Data Management> tab
Changing CIFS password
Select <Data Management> à Shares
Select <Configure> from the CIFS Server section on the left hand side.
From the right hand side enter the password that is to be used.
Note: Other areas on this screen relate to Active Directory and DNS settings. These will not be covered in this tutorial.
The share can be accessed from the windows system by entering \\<IP address> as the run string and supplying the credentials “smb” and <password> where <password> is the password entered above.
SAN systems use sharable data volumes. Examples are Fibre Channel and iSCSI. In this section an iSCSI target will be added. The first step is to configure an iSCSI initiator. The initiator will connect to an external iSCSI target device. The iSCSI target used here is from Netgear and is their READYNAS device. The READYNAS supports a number of protocols such as iSCSI, CIFS, FTP, NFS and is available in 2, 4 or 6 bay configurations. Other iSCSI devices are available from companies such as Dell, Promise, Infortrend and many others.
Note: The Netgear iSCSI target has been made available with an IP address of 192.168.1.68 and it has three pre-configured LUNS
To access the iSCSI configuration page select <Settings> à <Wizard2>. Select <Next Step> until the ISCSI Initiator configuration page appears.
Select the appropriate iSCSI parameters (here the defaults are used but CHAP authentication could be used for security). Enter the IP address of the iSCSI target and then select <Add Discovery>.
The ip address of the target should now appear in the discovery method box as shown below:
Select <Next Step> to show a list of available devices. Here the first two devices (c0d1, c1d1) are local SATA disks attached to the Nexenta server and the next three devices are iSCSI target devices which have been previously configured on a Netgear ReadyNAS device.
These devices are available for use and can be used to create a storage volume.
Select <Add New Volume> and then on the next screen select the three iSCSI targets. Three targets allow the use of a redundant parity volume and here RAIDZ1 will be configured
Once the devices have been highlighted in the left hand pane, select <Add to pool> to access the volume configuration screen.
After the volume has been created select <Next> to create a folder .In the example following the folder is given the name NexentaShare
Select <Next> and then <Next Step>. This will give an option to launch the NMV.
Shares can be configured as before.
It is recommended to use the NMV wherever possible; however there are times when it is useful to use the CLI for scripting tasks which may automate configuration. To access the console select the <Console button> from the main screen and a text based window will appear.
Basic help is available and pressing <Tab> twice will give a list of commands.
Entering a command followed by <Tab> will give further help on options related to the command. For example the dtrace command offers information on the following: