Personal blog for expressing my experiences

Technology

A day with Openfiler

I needed some sort of shared system wherein user’s can dump there data, with access restrictions. I had two options in mind. Go for a branded NAS box or bring some NFS/SMB from scratch. So as always, did a Google search for some open source product. I bumped into FreeNAS and Openfiler. Om Google -ai Namah. I thought of giving Openfiler a shot.

Openfiler is an Open Source Network Attached Storage and Storage Area Network Solution. It is a distribution which is built on top of Red Hat and is available as an installable iso. I looked for rpm’s also, but I was unable to find it. However got it installed in one of the machine.

The installation is as simple as installing any other Red Hat distro. Screen shots were also available showing each and every step of the installation. Both version of the installation exists, text based as well as gui based. So there should not be any problem with the installation. The only difference with that to the ones shown in the docs, was that I made was installing it on top of RAID1. After all the installation was done, one just opens the browser and gives the url as listed in the document. Openfiler runs in port 446 by default.

Now comes the part of creating shared folders to be used for data dumping. I was unable to create any volume/shared space using the GUI interface. The administrator guide is not available for the public. One needs to pay to get it. So back to old strategy of using irc. Since they already have a channel, why not hook into it and get the answers. I got myself hooked into #openfiler and asked my doubts, but to my utter surprise no one responded. Logged out of it thinking that, these questions were dumbed enough not to be answered by the Openfiler community. I went through the forums which were quiet resourceful in terms of getting the doubts cleared compared to the irc.

Openfiler using LVM for data storage. So I used lvm from the CLI, for creating the partitions. (A good manual for using lvm can be found out at TLDP.)

[root@localhost etc]# pvcreate /dev/md6
Physical volume “/dev/md6” successfully created

After the partition being created one can use the GUI for all the other stuff including creating shares, folders etc. The best part of the system is that, it can hook itself to the existing authentication system like LDAP, NIS etc. For other means of user control, one can limit the usage by binding the user to a particular machine etc.

I am still exploring the system, but frankly speaking it’s a worth, much better then the proprietary NAS/SAN solution that is available. Kudos to the Free Open Source Community.

Openfiler – http://www.openfiler.com
FreeNAS – http://www.freenas.org
TLDP – http://tldp.org/

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