Xsan with NetStor NA381TB

BlackF1re's picture

Good Evening.
I would like to understand the possibility to build a low cost Xsan system using an hardware chassis called NetStor NA381TB
You can see a presentation of the item here:

As you can see, with a MacMini and a thunderbolt connection, i can have up to 96TB storage in Raid, using an Areca card.

My question is the following:

Until today i've always used fibre channel switches (Qlogic or Brocade).
If i mount 1 or 2 atto FC card (dual or quad port), can i build an Xsan system with 4 or 8 clients connecting directly the optical cables from the Fibre Channel cards of the chassis to the clients?

Thank you very much for your time

wrstuden's picture

I know the box talks about using FC to connect machines to it, but I am not convinced it will do what you want. I think it looks like a very good box to say have a lot of storage that you export to systems using smb.

To work for Xsan, you would need software that acted as a storage target, either FC or iSCSI. This software would run on the Mac Mini connected to the RAID and make it available as a LUN (or LUNs) to the other systems.

For performance and stability reasons, you would NOT want this system to be an Xsan controller. The performance concern is that you want it to spend all its time serving up blocks to other systems. The stability concern is that we mount Xsan volumes on the controller. If you were both block server and controller, you can get into deadlock situations where the block server software needs the kernel to do something to continue to function, the kernel needs the Xsan mount to do something, and the Xsan mount needs the block server software to do something. This reason is the same one as to why NFS mounting a share on the share's NFS server can be bad.

abstractrude's picture

this is not for Xsan. Buy used promise RAIDS on ebay and put new disks in them if your going ghetto route.

Also this won't create fibre channel targets. this will provide a HBA to your mini.


-Trevor Carlson

Johnny_0_o's picture

I think in this configuration, it would probably be a candidate for T-Store (previously MetaSAN).
Tou could do something with 10G networking instead of FC.

It would probably cost a little more then XSan in the long run as you get the licensing fee, similar to StorNext.

I took a look at a solution with accusys recently, with pcie3 storage & interconnect instead, nice performance for a small workgroup SAN but it wouldn't scale much like a FC SAN/XSAN.

Good luck.

abstractrude's picture

Also, that marketing video is hilarious.

-Trevor Carlson

BlackF1re's picture

I'm testing now this chassis.
Mounting a mac mini with an Atto R608 i've been able to create a San Volume.
Now, i just need to serve two clients and tried to share the LUNs via ATTO FC82EN.

Unfortunately, ATTO just confirmed me that the Target Mode is not available under MacOS environment with their FC82 and FC84 cards, but only under Linux and Windows (which now explains why it's possible to build a switchless San using a Galaxy Aurora or an Aurora LS that both runs on Linux)

I'm now asking if i can add a controller that supports Target mode under Mac OS (i've tried with a Sanlink, and i can change it's status, but only via fibre channel switch).

I'll keep you posted.

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xsanguy's picture

You've already had some of the best minds on this forum tell you this won't work, and why. You need FC (or unsupported, iSCSI - but we've done it) targets for Xsan. Period.