Nexenta at homelab

NexentaStore Open Storage appliance is storage system based on Solaris ZFS file system. I decide to change my storage appliance at HomeLab from OpenFiler to NexentaStor Community Edition. On NexentaStor project web page you can find ISO with version 3.1.15 and redy to download virtual appliances for VMware and Xen. Below example is based on manual installation  from Nexenta ISO (you can install it using kickstart too, see manuals on Nextentastore web page.

[box type=”download”] Download NexentaStore community edition[/box]

Create VM
  • 1 vCPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • as a OS baseline choose SunSolaris 10 x64
  • at least 10GB disk drive
  • 2 vNIC – E1000 and VMXNET3 supported
nexenta virtual machine hardware specs

nexenta virtual machine hardware specs

  • Boot VM from ISO
  • Follow installer wizard to complete installation process
Nexenta installation summary screen

Nexenta installation summary screen

Nexenta registration screen

Nexenta registration screen

Basic configuration
  • reconfigure networking – use arrow keys to navigate
  • choose web GUI protocol – HTTP or HTTPS
  • choose web GUI port

[box type=”info”] If for any reason you made a mistake, use command nmc:/$ setup network interface initiate network configuration [/box]

Log in to appliance using web browser pointing to appliance IP and port to continue configuration

[box type=”info”] if your browser does not connect to the appliance run command nmc:/$ setup appliance init to verify and fix configuration [/box]

  • Network configuration:
    • specify hostname, domain, time zone
    • set up root and admin password
    • smtp server if any
  • iSCSI initiator configuration – default options let you servers connect to storage
  • disk configuration –
    • add second vmdk to Nexenta storage appliance as a data drive
    • reboot appliance from console –  nmc:/$ reboot  – after reboot you should see two disks c1t0d0 (os drive) and c2t0d0 (data drive)
    • add new volume to pool or log or cache, if yo have single drive add it to pool – depends on number of available drives you can configure different types of redundancy
      • provide volume name
      • description
      • enable deduplication – default is disabled
      • enable compression – default is disabled
      • enable autoexpand – default is off
      • choose sync policy
volume in Nexenta configuration wizzard

volume in Nexenta configuration wizzard

  • create folder on newly created volume – folders are used for NFS, CIFS, FTP, WebDAV,

[box type=”info”] NOTE: both configuration wizards are available by passing below url into web browser:

  • https://<ip_address>:2000/wizard1
  • https://<ip_address>:2000/wizard2


Enable NFS on NextentaStore

By default all protocols are disabled on NexentaStore, however is a possible to enable NFS, CIFS, FTP and more.

  • enable NFS protocol on appliance – log in into management GUI – go to Settings –> misc services –> NFS server –> Enable
  • change NFS version from 4 to 3 (NFS v3 is the only one supported by VMware ESXi) Go to GUI –> Settings –> misc services –> NFS server –>configure
    • change server version from 4 to 3
    • change client version from 4 to 3
  • enable NFS on folder – log in to GUI – go to Data management –> shares
  • mark folder and protocol
enable NFS on folder in Nexentastore

enable NFS on folder in Nexentastore

If you click on Edit next to protocol name, you will get into NFS advance settings where you can specify authentication settings and more.

Mount NFS share on ESXi host
  • Go to ESXi server — Configuration tab –> Storage –> Add storage –> network file system :
    • server IP or FQDN
    • folder – NFS export path
    • datastore name
add NFS storage on ESXi host

add NFS storage on ESXi host

In case you have to go to Nexenta shell and perform actions as a root user first you have to enable expert mode on appliance


Artur Krzywdzinski

Artur is Consulting Architect at Nutanix. He has been using, designing and deploying VMware based solutions since 2005 and Microsoft since 2012. He specialize in designing and implementing private and hybrid cloud solution based on VMware and Microsoft software stacks, datacenter migrations and transformation, disaster avoidance. Artur holds VMware Certified Design Expert certification (VCDX #077).