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HP StorageWorks P4300 SAN (Need software recommendations)

HP StorageWorks P4300 SAN (Need software recommendations)

(OP)
Hi. I'm brand new to the forum and also to the storage world.

I've recently added an HP StorageWorks P4300 Storage Array iSCSI server to my home VMware/Cisco lab, which is still under construction, in the hopes of using it as a Home Network SAN to stream HD & Blu-Ray video to my HTPC and smaller video files to other devices (Laptop, tablet, etc), as well as for file storage, and eventually, remote access of some kind.

I was also hoping to use it for VM storage, though I'm wondering if I should keep the actual VMs residing on the local SAS drives, installed on the physical hosts.

We have an HP MSA-2000 and an EMC VNX-5300 Block at work, and I was hoping that by using my new SAN at home, it would help me to learn a lot more about storage, which I could apply to the workplace.

I purchased (2) 300GB 10K SAS drives & (4) 2TB Enterprise SATA drives and it has dual Quad-Core CPUs with 4GB Ram & a Raid controller card (Full details of my lab equipment is below).

I was originally planning to run FreeNas on a mini-itx or micro-atx home build, with RaidZ, ZFS, NFS. The guy I bought it from installed a fresh 180-day trial or Windows Server 2012 to the SAS drives, which are in a Raid-1, and the total of 8TB SATA is in Raid 5 at the moment.

THE ACTUAL QUESTION:
So, I guess I'm wondering if I should continue using Server 2012 on this and eventually purchasing a license or something, or is there is an open-source or free solution that would work even better, that would take full advantage of iSCSI, and something I could setup port-channel on with multiple NICs to increase my connection speeds and connect to a Cisco switch with Ether-Channel, etc?

I've also heard that FreeNas works better not utilizing a hardware Raid controller card.

Sorry this is so verbose. I wanted to be as thorough as possible to get the best advice.

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much, in advance!


The lab consists of:
(1) HP StorageWorks P4300 Storage Array iSCSI server (AMD Opteron QC 2.3GHz Processor & 4GB Ram)
(1) HP Proliant DL360 G5 (Dual Quad-Core 3.0 GHz Xeon Processors & 16GB Ram)
(1) Dell PowerEdge R715 (Dual 12-Core 1.9GHz Opteron Processors & 32GB Ram)
(2) 2950, (2)3550 Cisco switches
(2) 1841, (2)2811 Cisco routers
(1) Cisco ASA 5505 (Firewall)

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