Nexenta vs. Openfiler
We have built 2 SAN servers for our campus and have settled on using Nexenta. Our previous iSCSI server is running Openfiler, and although it is very dependable it has a very limited set of file system features. Nexenta and the option for setting up thin provisioned ZFS and Samba shares is an ideal solution, but as you mentioned the iSCSI setup is difficult. Hopefully the next release will provide the features promised to implement HA as we have built 2 arrays of 3.16TB each and want to have an active/active redundant system.
Bear in mind that the complexity of these systems is what warrants the high cost of prebuilt SANs. We operate under a very limited budget, and therefore have to build all of our systems from scratch. It is important to remember that SAN system administrators are their own profession, otherwise it can be alot to absorb and can become very frustrating when setting these up the first few times.