Well, I think I'm finally on the road to SAN heaven; or at least workability. After wrestling with it for what seems like forever I have a plan to move forward and start using that expensive box in the corner. I'm still testing it right now but if things go as planned it will be up and serving my private Debian APT repository by next week. Read on for more of the story.

When I first got my new Coraid SAN I wasn't very happy. First and foremost it was extremely noisy, but it wasn't the decibels that got to me it was the sound. Take the "fingernails across the blackboard" sound and ramp it up 100x. That's the type of sound I couldn't work with. However, Coraid sent me out another (bigger) box and it seems to be much better. But this is a whole other story and I'll write it up sometime in the future.

Anyway, it turns out that the Coraid product doesn't do things like I thought it would or should. Being new to the game my impression was that SANs do all the neat things that LVM (Logical Volume Management) does. It turns out that they only provide the functionality of mdadm instead; which is to say they only deal with the hardware and the RAID itself and leave the fancy stuff up to you. I wanted to be able to dynamically grow & shrink spaces and add more disks at will. Sadly, its only the very expensive products out there that allow you to do all this from the comfort of your SAN hardware.

So I thought long and hard about KangarooBox's storage needs and I came up with a hybrid solution of sorts. By putting the hardware in charge of the RAID and the server in charge of the LVM I'm getting the best of both worlds.

Now looking back on it everything seems rather simple, but thinking about it with almost no background was hard.