Openfiler is a full-fledged NAS/SAN appliance (or IP storage gateway) that can be downloaded as a virtual appliance for VMware and Xen hypervisors directly from openfiler.com. Openfiler offers storage administrators a set of powerful tools that are used to manage complex storage environments. The product brings reliability to storage with support for both software and hardware RAID, monitoring and alerting facilities, volume snapshot and recovery features.

High availability is included in the form of active/passive clustering, multipath I/O and block level replication. Scalability is also addressed by a filesystem that can support up to 60TB, with the ability to expand filesystems and volumes without taking storage offline. High performance is guaranteed by a Linux 2.6 kernel that supports the latest CPU, networking and storage hardware.

Configuring Openfiler can be rather complex, but there are plenty of resources available on the web that cover the most typical installations. Openfiler is managed using a browser-based console, which offers dashboard-like simplicity and several submenus to address the more complex configuration settings available. 

OpenFiler

Support plans and commercial add-ons are available at www.openfiler.com for those looking to add additional capabilities or receive professional technical support.

OUR VERDICT

When paired with VMware ESXi, Openfiler brings enterprise level storage capabilities, including iSCSI and other SAN and NAS services, to most any network, completely free of charge.