Openfiler at Home

A few months ago, as I was anticipating my next move for my home NAS, i came across a slashdot poster's link to Openfiler . While I was originally going to use FreeNAS, i'm glad I saved that bookmark. The FreeNAS installer would not boot on my machine, and if it wasn't for Openfiler, I really wouldn't have a free web-based alternative that I could try turn-key.

Openfiler seems to have come a long way from it's 1.x days, where, if i'm not mistaken, it was a package to be installed on a standard linux install. At version 2.0, it was based on Cent OS, and now at version 2.1+, based on rpath. However, the features it now offers are way beyond Freenas. To me, that means it's getting leaner and meaner, and because it's used in production environments, by paying customers, reassuring.

Although it will take more disk space for an Openfiler install, I really think that's moot, at least in my case. A 32Mb install is great, but really, the cost difference in between a 32Mb compact flash and a 2Gb compact flash is not that inhibitive, especially when you have the ability for local authentication, raid 6, and lots of supported hardware.

Although my installation of Openfiler did have some hiccups, the support forums and irc channel had plenty of people willing to help. The web gui became very easy to navigate after a short period.

As for performance, I have only done cursory tests, but I have been very surprised at the speed. Both my workstation and the nas use run-of-the-mill rosewill gigabit PCI cards, and I have been able to make dvd isos move back and forth very fast. One thing I've found, is that any bottleneck that may exists (besides no jumbo packet support on my D-Link 4300 router), is probably due to my slower pata disks in my workstation, which steadily light their equivelent leds, while the server only blinks occasionally.

I still have lots of things to tweak on the server, such as the hardware monitor, and all the leds, which all blink in unison for some reason, but i'm very happy to have gotten this far, at the performance I was shooting for.

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