Network storage can be one of the more challenging and costly deployments. If a simple shared network drive won't work, I suggest you take advantage of Openfiler, a network storage operating system that has an incredibly easy to use web-based front-end. If you want to virtualize your storage, there are virtual appliances that can be used (in conjunction with a tool like VMware Player) so you can have the network attached storage up even faster. The virtual appliances will be quite limited (especially in storage capacity), so you should use those primarily for testing purposes.
Let's have a look at how network storage can easily be deployed with Openfiler. In my walk-through, I will demonstrate how to use the virtual appliance.
The feature list for Openfiler is impressive:
- Can be used on any x86/64 hardware
- Up and running in as little as 15 minutes
- File-based storage support for CIFS and NFS
- Client support for Windows, Linux, and UNIX
- Fibre channel and iSCSI support
- Easy to read dashboard
- Quota controls
- Windows domain control and LDAP support
- Easy volume and share configuration
After installation is complete (or you've fired up the virtual appliance), point your web browser to https://ADDRESS_TO_OPENFILER_SERVER:446 (note the https address). At the login screen, the default credentials are:
- Username: openfiler
- Password: password
Everything you need to do for your network storage is now done here.
Now change the admin password by going to Accounts | Admin Password. You'll need to enter the current password in order to make the change.
After the password is created, you must choose the method for user authentication from these three types: LDAP, Windows Domain, and Local user. The easiest to use is the Local user. For that type of authentication, you'll need to get into the command-line OS, log in as the root user (it has no password by default, so give it one now), and issue the command:
useradd -m USERNAME
where USERNAME is the name of the user to be added. After that command is issued, give the user a password with the command:
where USERNAME is the name of the user you just created.Run the above commands for every user needed on the system. If you have a lot of users, or you're already on a Domain or use LDAP authentication, you can set those up by going to Accounts | Authentication. In this new window (Figure B), you can select either LDAP or Domain based authentication. Figure B
Once you make these changes, give Openfiler approximately one minute to restart the service so the changes will apply.
Volumes and sharesThe next step is to create the shares for storage. Before shares can be created, you must set up a new volume by clicking the Create New Physical Volumes link in the Volumes section. On the new page (Figure C), click the link to the correct disk in the Edit Disk column. Figure C
I created a new virtual drive.After you select the correct disk, scroll down to the Create A Partition section (Figure D) and create the new partition for the device. Figure D
You can break your partition up any way you like for more flexible storage needs.Now you should create a Volume (Share) by clicking the Volumes tab, clicking Add Volume, selecting the Volume Group the new share should belong to, and clicking the Change button. When the new window appears, scroll down to the Create Volume section (Figure E), enter the necessary information, and click Create. Figure E
Make sure to be accurate when you adjust the size of the new volume, or you'll wind up with a share that's too small to use.
Once all of the shares are complete and authentication is set up, your new network storage solution is ready to use. Make sure the services you want are running (go to Services and then enable all you of the services you need).
Congratulations! You now have network storage for only the cost of hardware, which you probably had sitting around.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.