Open-E Review, Not a Storage Server

About a year ago, a client needed a NetApp (NFS server), but the IPO wasn’t there yet, and the startup’s balance sheet was still in the Red. Needless to say after a few trials, we ended up with Open-E DSS because of budget constraints.

Oh what a roller-coaster it has been…

Open-E is NOT a viable NFS solution as they claim. Based on our initial performance tests and configurations, everything went well, but the more we tried to use the system as a production NFS server, the more bugs we found and the more frustrated we became. After my experiences, I think Open-E may have a life as an iSCSI or basic Samba server, but if you’re looking for reliable, production level NFS storage, you’d be better off installing something like CentOS/Solaris and rolling your own. Open-E has it’s market, but their target market is obviously much too broad.

Some of the serious issues with Open-E as of about 2 months ago:

  • Support – Their US support staff doesn’t know much about UNIX or NFS
  • UPS connection – If configured with apcupsd, a UPS self-test causes the system to shutdown
  • NFS locking – After going through two releases claiming to have NFS locking patched, it wasn’t and required a separate patch from Germany. I reported it to Open-E Jan 08 and one year later, people are still complaining its not fixed (because its not).
  • Backup – If you want to backup this unit, you’re best bet is NFS mounting it and not using the included agents
  • NFS root squash options – They don’t work with certain path configurations
  • YP/NIS – No useful support. Forget it
  • Quotas – It supports quotas, but they have to be modified by using the web UI
  • Web UI – For a few production software releases, the web UI was unusable
  • Monitoring – No SNMP or monitoring is possible
  • Active Directory Integration – Partial integration. Does not work with services for UNIX

Based on the above, I don’t think anything needs to be said other than: Do you think their users are the QA team?

The current status of the Open-E box is “don’t touch”. We’re looking to dump the Open-E software as soon a feasible. Its an unfortunate lesson, but luckily Sun has a solution. Since the Open-E debacle, ZFS has been given a similar run through and has passed with mostly ooo’s and aww’s. Migrating 5 TB server to a new filesystem and operating system is not a quick-and-dirty project.

Sometime in the near future you’ll see an Open-E DSS module on ebay. $1 is all I ask 🙂

This entry was posted in Storage and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

4 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
4 Comment authors
Tim RosenquistAndybrendonRob Dyke Recent comment authors
Notify of
Rob Dyke

Have you tried openfiler? The current version 2.3 works very well. I’ve used it as a Samba server with LDAP authentication, applied quota’s, setup NFS and also run iSCSI targets, all from the same server.


Yep, I once thought that open-e and even openfiler could be the solution for us, but then i saw the ZFS/Solaris light! we purchased some 7000 series and i have to say, its uber. if i had to do it for a startup, I would probably go with solaris 10u8 or opensolaris b130+, or perhaps the other “easy button”, nexenta.

Tim Rosenquist

I don’t know about NFS currently, but as an iSCSI solution, it is working very well for us as a ESX datastore target.