Stage VI: I want FibreChannel

After the successfull implementation of my new 10GbE Switch, I decided to went over to the next phase: A private central storage with FibreChannel support…..

I searched the Internet and can´t find a solution for my homelab. Once again I had to build my own…

I found Nexenta with their solution Nexentastor Community Edition.

I bought a rack enclosure, a PC Mainboard, an Intel Low Voltage CPU, 16GB RAM and a bunch of HDDs and SSDs. The big Advantage of Nexenta, which is based on Solaris ZFS is that you can use SSDs for Read- and Write Cache.


Here is the complete Shopping list:

Intel Quad-Core i5-2500T

Asus Maximus IV Extreme Mainboard

16GB RAM (4 x 4GB)

8 x 1TB WD Green SATA HDDs

2 x 120GB OWC SSD

2 x 64GB Corsair SSD

1 x Dual Port QLogic FibreChannel 4Gbit HBA

1 x IBM ServeRaid MR10i Raid Controller

The Price for FibreChannel components on ebay are really low, if you look for 4GBit….

First I wanted to attach my servers directly to the new storage, but after I checked the prices for used Brocade SAN Switches, I got one of these, too.



I got an IBM labeled 2005-B16 switch (16 port) with 8 ports activated via Software.

I installed Nexentastor Community Edition onto my new storage box and tuned it to act as a storage target:

The FC implementation in Nexenta is used via COMSTAR plugin.

Configuring Fibre Channel Ports For COMSTAR

The Fibre Channel (FC) port provider can use the same HBAs that are used for the FC initiators. A given FC port can be used as an initiator or as a target, but not as both. You can also configure a dual port or quad port FC HBA so that a subset of the HBA ports is in target mode and the rest of the ports are in initiator mode.

The procedures in this section are specific to QLogic HBAs. The driver to use with HBAs in initiator mode is qlc, which is a Qlogic driver. The qlc driver works only in initiator mode, and cannot be used for target mode. The COMSTAR driver for a target QLogic 4G HBA is qlt.

Check the PCI ID for changing qlc to qlt:

# mdb -k
Loading modules: [ unix krtld genunix specfs …
> ::devbindings -q qlc
30001617a08 pciex1077,2432, instance #0 (driver name: qlc)
300016177e0 pciex1077,2432, instance #1 (driver name: qlc)
> $q

Remove the qlc Driver:

# update_drv -d -i ‘pciex1077,2432’ qlc
Cannot unload module: qlc
Will be unloaded upon reboot.

Install the qlt Driver:

# update_drv -a -i ‘pciex1077,2432’ qlt
devfsadm: driver failed to attach: qlt
Warning: Driver (qlt) successfully added to system but failed to attach

reboot the system


I installed a QLogic Single port 4Gbit FC HBA inside each Thunderbolt Expansion unit and also one adapter into my Workstation. I configured LUNs for my ESXi hosts and a LUN for my workstation.

After the zoning Setup I was able to create VMFS volumes onto the new ESXi LUNs. Very cool, I got FC and 10GbE at home…..

After a few months I was lucky and shot two FusionIO Duo 640GB Flash PCIe cards on ebay. One was placed into my Workstation and the other one was placed into my storage box. Fusion IO offered a Solaris Driver….



I was very happy with this homelab configuraiton. But, you know the next project is already in my mind….

The next configurationc change is called Physical Expansion.