List of VSA Virtual Storage Appliances and SAN Storage Simulators

Storage Simulator VSA Virtual Storage Appliance

Where to Download and How to Set Up Free Storage Simulators and VSA Virtual Storage Appliances

 

For your lab you’re going to need compute (the servers), networking (routers and switches etc.) and storage. If you’re focused on studying or testing only an individual application, operating system or the network infrastructure then you can probably get away with no more storage than the local hard drive in your PC. If you want to learn how cloud and data center technologies work as a whole however you’re going to need dedicated external storage such as a storage simulator or VSA (Virtual Storage Appliance). And it’s a definite requirement if you’re studying hypervisor technologies such as VMware vSphere.

 

You’re already going to have to shell out for compute hardware and any network infrastructure devices which can’t be virtualised. Unless you have more money than you know what to do with, you’re probably going to want to keep the storage costs down by using a Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) or storage simulator.

 

Want a complete storage course for free? Watch my Introduction to SAN and NAS Storage

 

List of VSA Virtual Storage Appliances, Storage Simulators, SAN and NAS Demos

 

I’ve compiled a list of where you can find storage simulators and Virtual Storage Appliances for free below. It’s a pretty big list, so here’s some advice if you don’t know which one to choose:

  • If you want your lab to mimic your organisation’s production environment as closely as possible, then pick the VSA or simulator from your storage vendor. Where the same vendor has multiple simulators available, I’ve listed their newest and most lab friendly option first.
  • If you want the simplest option to get up and running for studying a hypervisor technology like VMware vSphere, use FreeNAS or StarWind.
  • I’ve also listed GUI demos at the bottom of the list. These aren’t suitable for a lab but are useful if you want to get the look and feel of a particular vendor’s storage GUI.

 

The software is all free but may require a customer or partner account with the vendor to download. I’ve listed the login and system requirements for each option below.

 

Storage Simulators and VSA Virtual Storage Appliances

OpenFiler Unified Storage VSA

StarWind Virtual SAN VSA

FreeNAS VSA

NetApp ONTAP Simulator

NetApp ONTAP Select VSA

HPE 3PAR StoreServ Simulator

HPE StoreVirtual VSA

Dell EMC UnityVSA

Dell EMC ViPR Software Defined Storage

Dell EMC Isilon Simulator

Dell EMC Data Domain Virtual Edition – Community Edition

Dell EMC ScaleIO

Oracle ZFS Storage Simulator

HDS HCS Simulator

Nimble Virtual Array VSA

NexentaStor Community Edition VSA

Synology DSM XPEnology Simulator

Nutanix Community Edition

Storage GUI demo only

IBM StorWize V-Series Demo

Dell EMC Unity All Flash Simulator Demo

Dell EMC VNXe Demo

Synology DSM NAS Demo

QNAP QTS NAS Demo

Thecus NAS Demo

NetGear ReadyNAS NAS Demo

Storage

Umm… A picture of some storage

Storage Simulators and VSA Virtual Storage Appliances

 

Openfiler Unified Storage VSA

System Requirements

  • VMware ESXi, Workstation family, or Citrix Xen
  • Minimum 4GB RAM
  • 12GB Disk space
  • Installer: 508MB

Download Link (No Login Account Required)

Graphical Installation Guide

 

StarWind Virtual SAN Free VSA

System Requirements

  • VMware Workstation family (not ESXi)
  • Minimum 2GB RAM (6GB recommended)
  • 42GB Disk space per node
  • Installer: 336MB

Download Link (Guest Login Account Required)

Quick Start Guide

 

FreeNAS VSA

FreeNAS supports iSCSI SAN in addition to NAS protocols.

System Requirements

  • 64-bit CPU
  • Minimum 8GB RAM (16GB recommended)
  • 8GB Boot drive (can use USB)
  • Installer: 508MB

Download Link (No Login Account Required)

Installation and First Time Setup Wizard videos

 

NetApp ONTAP Simulator

System Requirements

  • VMware Workstation Family: 5 GB RAM per node
  • VMware ESXi: 8 GB RAM per node
  • 40 GB free disk space per node
  • (The version 8.2 simulator requires only 2GB RAM per node and can be downloaded from the same page.)
  • Installer size: 600MB

Download Link (Customer or Partner Login Account Required)

I have step by step instructions on How to Build a NetApp Simulator ONTAP 9 Lab

 

NetApp ONTAP Select VSA

90 day 2TB Evaluation

System Requirements

The simulator configuration requires deploying two VMs; the Select Node and the Select Deploy Administration Utility.

  • VMware ESXi
  • ONTAP Select Node:
  • Intel CPU 25xx v3 (Haswell) or higher with 6 physical cores or greater
  • 24GB RAM
  • 2x 10Gb Ethernet ports
  • ONTAP Select Deploy Administration Utility
  • 2 VCPUs
  • 4GB RAM
  • 40GB Disk space
  • Installer: 2.2GB

Download Link (Customer or Partner Login Account Required)

Documentation including Installation and Setup Guide

 

HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprises) 3PAR StoreServ Simulator

System Requirements

The simulator configuration requires deploying three VMs; two VMs simulating the cluster nodes, a third VM to simulate the enclosure and private network configuration to enable communication between the three VMs.

  • VMware ESXi or Workstation family
  • One virtual CPU (single core)
  • Three virtual NICs
  • 2GB RAM
  • 50GB disk space (full or thin-provisioned)
  • Installer: 9.52GB

Download Link (Guest Login Account Required)

3PAR Dude has setup instructions for the 3PAR simulator on his blog.

 

HPE StoreVirtual VSA

3 Year 1TB Evaluation

System Requirements

  • Hyper-V, vSphere or KVM
  • 2 VCPU
  • 5GB RAM
  • Centralised Management Console for Windows or Linux is downloaded from the same link
  • Installer: 600MB including Centralised Management Console

Download Link (Guest Login Account Required)

HPE StoreVirtual VSA design and configuration guide

 

Dell EMC UnityVSA

System Requirements 

  • VMware ESXi
  • 2 VCPU
  • 16GB RAM
  • 6 vNICs
  • Centralised Management Console for Windows or Linux is downloaded from the same link
  • Installer: 2.27GB

Download Link (Guest Login Account Required)

UnityVSA has replaced the vVNX simulator.

Documentation including an Installation Video and Guide is available on the download page.

Piotr Pisz has setup instructions for the Dell EMC UnityVSA on his blog.

 

Dell EMC ViPR Software Defined Storage

System Requirements

  • VMware vCenter Server with DRS enabled and VMFS5 on shared block storage.
  • Installer: 2.5GB

ViPR Controller vApp:

  • 2 VCPUs
  • 8GB RAM
  • 120GB Disk Space

ViPR Controller Reporting vApp:

  • 4 VCPUs
  • 32GB RAM
  • 600GB Disk Space

Download Link (Guest Login Account Required)

ViPR Controller Free Download Quick Start Guide

 

Dell EMC Isilon Simulator

System Requirements

  • VMware Workstation family (not ESXi)
  • Minimum 2GB RAM (6GB recommended)
  • 42GB Disk space per node
  • Installer: 336MB

Download Link (No Login Account Required)

Isilon OneFS Simulator Install Guide

 

Dell EMC Data Domain Virtual Edition – Community Edition

The trial Community Edition is limited to 0.5TB storage space.

System Requirements 

  • VMware ESXi or Hyper-V
  • 6GB RAM
  • 250GB root disk
  • 10GB NVRAM disk
  • Installer: 1.7GB

Download Link (Guest Login Account Required)

Documentation including an Installation Video and Guide is available on the download page.

 

Dell EMC ScaleIO

ScaleIO runs on Windows, RHEL, CentOS, SUSE, VMware, Hyper-V, KVM and Citrix XenServer.

The different platforms have different system requirements which you can find here.

A minimum of 3 nodes are required.

Download Link (No Login Account Required)

Documentation including Quick Start Guides and Fundamentals e-Learning is available on the download page.

 

Oracle ZFS Storage Simulator

System Requirements

  • VMware Workstation family or VirtualBox
  • 2.5GB RAM
  • 125GB Disk space
  • Installer: 688MB

Download Link (Guest Login Account Required)

Quick Start Guide

 

HDS (Hitachi Data Systems) HCS (Hitachi Command Suite) Simulator

Download Link (HDS Partner Login Account Required)

 

Nimble Virtual Array

System Requirements

  • Runs on VMwarey
  • 2 VCPU
  • 4GB RAM

Download Link (Nimble Employee or Partner Login Account Required)

Kyle Jenner has setup instructions for the Nimble Virtual Array on his blog.

 

NexentaStor Community Edition VSA

NexentaStor provides a unified file and block storage solution for NFS, SMB and iSCSI. The free Community Edition is limited to 10TB storage. A 45 day trial of the full enterprise product is also available.

System Requirements

  • 64-bit CPU
  • 4GB RAM (8GB recommended)
  • 12GB Boot drive minimum (20GB-30GB recommended for updates)
  • Installer:

Download Link (Guest Login Account Required. The license and installation file is sent a day after you request it.)

Configuration Quick Start Guide is available on the Documentation page.

 

Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM) XPEnology Simulator

System Requirements

  • VMware ESXi or Workstation family
  • 2 VCPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 16GB Disk Space
  • Installer: 200MB

Download Link (No Login Account Required)

Alex Lopez has setup instructions for the XPEnology Simulator on his blog.

 

Nutanix Community Edition

System Requirements

  • Runs on 1, 3 or 4 phyical servers. Each must have:
  • Intel CPU with 4 cores minimum
  • 16GB RAM
  • 200GB SSD for Hot Tier
  • 500GB HDD for Cold Tier
  • Installer: 2.9GB

Download Link (Guest Login Account Required)

The Getting Started Guide and other documentation is available on the Nutanix CE Discussion Forum.

 

GUI Demo Only

 

IBM StorWize V-Series Demo

System Requirements

  • This is a web based demo of the IBM StorWize V-Series GUI which runs on a Windows client
  • Installer: 162MB

Download Link (IBMid Login Account Required) for V7000 demo.

Download Link (IBMid Login Account Required) for V5000 demo.

Setup instructions are included in the downloaded zip file.

 

Dell EMC Unity All Flash Simulator Demo

System Requirements

  • This is a web based demo of the Dell EMC Unity GUI which runs on a Windows client
  • Installer: 100MB

Download Link (Guest Login Account Required)

 

Dell EMC VNXe Demo

System Requirements

  • This is a Flash based demo of the VNXe GUI which runs on a Windows client
  • Installer: 115MB

Download Link (No Login Account Required)

 

Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM) NAS Demo

System Requirements

  • This is a web based demo of the Synology DSM GUI

Demo Link (No login account required)

 

QNAP QTS NAS Demo

System Requirements

  • This is a web based demo of the QNAP QTS GUI

Demo Link (No login account required)

 

Thecus NAS Demo

System Requirements

  • This is a web based demo of the ThecusOS GUI

Demo Link (No login account required)

 

NetGear ReadyNAS NAS Demo

System Requirements

  • This is a web based demo of the NetGear ReadyNAS GUI

Demo Link (No login account required)

 

Thanks to Simon Seagrave for his article listing the EMC simulators.

 

Have I missed anything from the list? Please let me know in the comments section below.

 

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Download my free step-by-step guide ‘How to Build a NetApp ONTAP Lab for Free’ here. 

 

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