Working with the IOMega ix12-300r

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I installed an IOMega ix12-300r for our ESX test lab and I must say it’s just as feature rich as my personal ix4 and ix2.

I enjoy working with this device for its simplicity and feature depth. It’s very easy to deploy and it’s a snap to integrate with ESX.

 

Here are some of the things I like about ix12 and a high level overview to enable it with esx.

Note: Keep in mind most of the
features below are available on the ix2 and ix4 line but not all..

See http://iomega.com/nas/us-nas-comp.html for more information about the ix line and their features…

 

The Drives…

Our ix12 (the ix## is the amount of possible drives in the unit, ie ix2 = 2 drives, ix4 = 4drives) is populated with 8 x 1TB drives.

By default the 8TB unit will come with 4 x 2TB drives, I opted to buy a 4TB unit and expand it by 4TB, giving us the 8 x 1TB drives.

The drives are Seagate Barracuda Green SATA 3Gb/s 1TB Hard Drive – ST31000520AS – SATA II (Rev 2.6 Drives) 5.9K RPM, they should perform nicely for our environment…

(Buts like most techies, I wish they were faster)

More information here about the drives and SATA 2.6 vs 3.x

http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=9d373f15020b0210VgnVCM1000001a48090aRCRD#tTabContentSpecifications

http://www.serialata.org/documents/SATA-6-Gbs-The-Path-from-3gbs-to-6gbs.pdf

 

Storage Pools…

A storage pool is not a new concept but in a device this cost effective it’s unheard of.

Basically, I’m dividing up my 8 drives like this..

Storage Pool 0 (SP0) 4 Drives for basic file shares (CIFS)

Storage Pool 1 (SP1_NFS) 2 drives for ESX NFS Shares only

Storage Pool 2 (SP2_iSCSI) 2 drives dedicated for ESX iSCSI only

I could have placed all 8 drives into one Storage pool but…

One of our requirements was to have SP0 isolated from SP1 and SP2 for separation reasons…

 

NO Down time for RAID Expansion… Sweet…

Another great feature is NO down time to expand your RAID5 Set..

Simply edit the Storage pool, Choose your new drive, and click apply.

 

The Raid set will rebuild and you’re all done!

Note: the downside to this… If you decide to remove a drive from a RAID set, you’ll have to rebuild the entire set.

TIP: To check the status of your RAID reconstruction check on the Dashboard under status or the home page at the bottom.

Mine reconstructed the 3 Storage Pools or all 12 drives at the same time in about 4.5 hours…


 

Teaming your NIC’s!

The ix12 comes with 4 x 1gb NICS, these can be bonded together, stay separate, or a mix of both.

You can setup your bonded NICs as Adaptive Load Balancing, Link Aggregation (LG), or Failover modes.

In our case we bonded NIC 3 and 4 with LG for ESX NFS/iSCSI Traffic and set NIC 1 up for our CIFS traffic.

For the most part setting up the networking is simple and easy to do.

Simply enter your IP’s, choose to bond or not and click apply.

Note: Don’t uncheck DHCP from unused adapters, if you do you’ll get an invalid IP address error when you click apply.

Also, making changes to the network area, usually requires a reboot of the device.. Tip: Setup your Network First..

 

Adding the NFS Folder to your ESX server

Note: These steps assume you completed the Iomega installation (Enabled iSCSI, NFS, Files shares,etc), networking, and your ESX Environment…

From the ix12 web interface simply add a folder on the correct Storage pool.

In our case I choose the folder name of ESX_NFS and the SP1_NFS storage pool

Tip: ALL Folders are broadcasted on all networks and protocols… I haven’t found a way to isolate folders to specific networks or protocols.

If needed make sure your security is enabled… I plan to talk with IOMega about this…

 

In vCenter Server, Add NAS storage and point it to the ix12.

Note: use /nfs/[folder name] for the folder name…

 

Once it’s connected it will show up as a NFS Data store!

 

Adding iSCSI to your ESX Server..

Note: This assumes you setup your esx environment to support iSCSI with the ix12…

Add your shared storage as an iSCSI Drive, set your iSCSI Drive name, and Select the correct Storage Pool.

Next is to set the Size of the iSCSI device, in this case we have 922GB free, but can only allocate 921.5GB

After clicking on apply, you should see the information screen…

 

In vCenter Server ensure you can see the iSCSI drive..

Add the iSCSI disk…

Give this disk a name…

 

Choose the right block size…

Finally there she is… one 920GB iSCSI disk…

 

Summary…

From a price vs. performance stand point the IOMega line of NAS devices (ix2, ix4, and our ix12) simply ROCK.

It will be hard to find such a feature rich product that will cost you so little.

This post has merely scratched the features of these devices. It is really hard to believe that 10+ years ago Iomega was known only for ZIP and Jazz Drives…

There new logo is IOMega Kicks NAS, and from what I’ve seen they do!

 

Follow up posts…

Over the next couple of months I hope to performance test my VM’s against the ix12

I’d like to figure out their protocol multi tendency issue (CIFS, NFS, iSCSI broadcasting over all NICS)

I’ll post of the results as they come in..

 

 


 

7 thoughts on “Working with the IOMega ix12-300r

    eric said:
    December 13, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    This looks like a great product. I was just wondering if you can use disks of different sizes to expand a RAID set (kind of like DataRobotics’ DROBO). Is that possible?

    Thanks.

    Like

      mattman555 said:
      December 20, 2010 at 10:41 pm

      Nope it doesn’t use any ole’ disks, you should use the disks from IOMega only…. However… I’m sure if you wanted to play around with it, it ‘might’ see other disks but I have not tired this nor do I recommend this…

      Like

    Brad Pinkston said:
    January 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    What was the performance on this thing like? I’ve not been impressed with the performance on my ix4, but love the features and the Lifeline software.

    Like

      mattman555 said:
      January 19, 2011 at 6:49 pm

      I havn’t tested the performance on this unit, however our NFS and iSCSI datastores are on 2 spindles each.. which means it will perform poorly. We are only using the IOMega for ESXi redundancy testing and not performance testing… I did hear today we might have a NetApp to introduce, this will mean a true LDVM test environment…

      Like

    Carlos said:
    March 22, 2011 at 2:57 am

    I don’t understand how It work with Share Folders and iSCSI

    If the entire array is configure for iSCSI, what happen with the files in Shared Directories? Overlapping ?

    It is not clear for me

    Like

    should i move to hawaii said:
    April 19, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked
    submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Regardless, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

    Like

      mattman555 responded:
      May 26, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      Thank you and sorry lost your post… Feel free to send me a direct email if you’d like.

      Like

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