Initially, we were looking for a 10GE-iSCSI storage solution that would do synchronous or at least memory-synchronous mirroring of data to a second system and automatic failover. We planned to use the system as storage backend for a few dozens VMs, and wanted the storage to be highly available on a shared IP. Active-Active supported seemed pretty awesome too, and the system should allow seamless failover.
However, some vendors didn’t provide this option, others were too expensive and the project was an open bidding, so we had to be cheap. The only viable options seemed to be building something ourselves or buying Open-E from a distributor that would take care of the hardware part. They were also offering 24/7 support. It sounded pretty good, and our distributor was saying he did a couple of installations with it, so we went for it. The system consisted of: