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Currently we use an iSCSI SAN as storage for several VMware ESXi servers. I am investigating the use of an NFS target on a Linux server for additional virtual machines. I am also open to the idea of using an alternative operating system (like OpenSolaris) if it will provide significant advantages.

What Linux-based filesystem favours very large contiguous files (like VMware's disk images)? Alternatively, how have people found ZFS on OpenSolaris for this kind of workload?

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ZFS is perfect for this kind of setup primarily because of deduplication, assuming your ZFS host is somewhat decent in the RAM and CPU categories. If all you need is a filer based setup and your hardware is OpenSolaris compatible, I would strongly suggest you take a look at NexentaStor.

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Is NexentaStor really "enterprise" ready? –  mlambie May 18 '10 at 12:06
    
It is based on OpenSolaris, so if you were already considering that route, NexentaStor basically takes Opensolaris and wraps it into a nice, filer type package with a web interface. All the great things about Opensolaris that you would have wanted to use if you rolled your own are already there, and then some. It has a VMDC plugin that's optimized for ESX: nexenta.com/corp/applications/vmdc. Yes, I'd say it's enterprise ready. It's perfect for what you want to do. –  churnd May 19 '10 at 10:51

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