Installing TwinStrata – iSCSI Cloud Array

As with the Oxygen post, I’ve been playing with the idea and a few Cloudy storage options in the Homelab for a bit. This week, with a well known storage conference going on, I’ve been installing and testing TwinStrata’s CloudArray.

As a side note, when did we stop removing spaces and capitalizing compound words?

About TwinStrata

First things first, you’ll need to know a bit about what TwinStrata really is. Basically, it’s an iSCSI VSA or virtual storage appliance. From their website:

CloudArray® iSCSI storage gateway makes cloud storage as fast, safe and easy to access as local storage. A CloudArray virtual or physical appliance takes minutes to configure and integrates public cloud, private cloud and local or remote storage devices into flexible “Cloud SANs,”

The marketicture diagram:

Downloading TwinStrata

TwinStrata has a number of special offers with various vendors, giving you a free 1TB license of their software backed by various cloud storage providers (you’ll still have to pay for the cloud storage, however). I signed up for and downloaded the Rackspace specific version.

Installing TwinStrata

Side note: I’m beginning to see more and more vendors adopt the vApp/OVA/OVF model for their apps… AWESOME!

To deploy TwinStrata into vSphere, you’ll use the same process you would to deploy any generic OVF. In the vSphere client:

  1. File > Deploy OVF Template
  2. Next, Next, etc…

Once deployed and booted, you’ll need to browse to the IP that gets assigned:

After a bit of song and dance, you can start to configure:


Fill in the TwinStrata License info from when you downloaded the appliance. Also, configure your admin account:


License agreement… given the options, you know what to do:

Now some of the cool options, compress, dedupe, and encrypt? Yes… I’ll take two. You also have your choice of cloud providers here:

As I said, I chose the Rackspace version, you’ll need to provide this information for your cloud provider of choice:

Note: When it says password here, it means API key

And that’s it. You’re done with this end of things. Next up, using your iSCSI adaptor, add the target, rescan, and enjoy.

Initial Testing

As a quick test, I cold migrated my vMA appliance over to the TwinStrata Datastore. Some things to consider here, TwinStrata is configured with a 5gb disk by default, and will use that to cache things before shipping to the cloud. Once that cache fills… things will get as slow as your connection to the cloud. Here’s a quick look at the graphs from TwinStrata generated by the first sVmotion:

Cold migration to TwinStrata



Booting a VM




Overall, performance was not “that bad” considering my bottle-neck is my upstream bandwidth.

Disclaimer: Yes this is a vendor post. No it is not sponsored. Just done using what was available via the TwinStrata website. Also, they may or may not be on the VMware HCL, so… take that into account before going all production on it, etc. tl;dr: It’s not a paid post, also don’t get fired.