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HOW TO: Add an iSCSI Software Adaptor and Create an iSCSI Multipath Network in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.0

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
MVE^2, Expert of the Year 2017-2011, Scribe 2016-2012, Author of the Year 2017-6,2013-2012 VMware vExpert 2018-2011 27 years of experience.
Using a software based iSCSI solution, there is no requirement to purchase a hardware iSCSI initiator or TOE (TCP/IP Offload Engine) interface card. A standard network interface card can be used to connect an existing ESXi server to a remote iSCSI target or iSCSI SAN on the TCP/IP storage network. The iSCSI Software Adapter built into the VMKenerl interface, completes the communication between the network interface card and the host server network stack.

This tutorial can be used to add an iSCSI Software Adapter and create an iSCSI Multipath Network in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.0, using the new Network Configuration iSCSI Bindings option in the vSphere Client GUI. In older versions of ESX/ESXi bindings needed to be completed at the command line.

1. Connect to the VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi 5.0) Server


Using the VMware vSphere Client, login and connect to the ESXi 5.0 server, using IP address or hostname of the ESXi 5.0 server, using root username and password credentials. If you have a VMware vSphere vCenter server, you could also specify IP address or hostname of the vCenter server which manages your vSphere 5 ESXi 5.0 server.

 Using the VMware vSphere Client, login and connect to the ESXi 5.0 server

2. Select and Configure the Storage Adapters for the ESXi 5.0 server


When connected to the ESXi server, select the Host Server, Configuration tab, and select Storage Adapters. Please note, if you do not have any persistent storage connected to the ESXi server, a yellow warning configuration box will appear. This example server used in this tutorial does not have any local SAS or SATA storage connected. Once the iSCSI Software Adapter has been added, iSCSI storage can be added, and this yellow warning configuration box will disappear.

 Storage Adaptors iSCSI software Adaptor not visible

3. Adding and Configuring the iSCSI Software Adapter using the vSphere Client version 5.0.0


Click Add in Storage Adapters

Select Add Software iSCSI Adapter and Click OK
Select Add Software iSCSI Adapter and Click OK. The following prompt will be displayed.

 Software iSCSI Adapter added
Select iSCSI Software Adapter, and Select Properties

Select iSCSI Software Adaptor, and Select Properties
The iSCSI Initiator (vmba33) Properties dialogue page will appear. Note that Software Initiator Properties should be Enabled, and the iSCSI Properties Name is now populated with an iSCSI Initiator Name.

 iSCSI Initiator (vmba33) Properties
In this example the iSCSI initiator name is

iqn.1998-01.com.vmware:esxdev008-2a5d8616

The iSCSI initiator adapter name is vmba33.

Please record both the iSCSI Initiator Name and the adapter name, these will be important for you in the future, it will be needed when you assign storage to this initiator. The adapter name is required later in this procedure to complete VMKernel bindings.

Click Close to proceed.


4. Create a new vSwitch (virtual switch) and add VMKernel Portgroups


The VMKernel TCP/IP stack Portgroup handles traffic for the following ESXi services iSCSI, NFS, VMware vMotion and host management. To create a multipath iSCSI network at least two VMKernel TCP/IP stack Portgroups needed to be created on a virtual switch.

Select the Host Server, Configuration tab, and select Networking.

 Add new vSwitch
Select Add Networking to add a new vSwitch (virtual switch). Select VMKernel followed by Next

 Add Networking Wizard
Create a new virtual switch with at least two physical network interfaces connections for use with multipath. I've selected vmnic2 and vmnic3, followed by Next.

 new virtual switch
Enter a network friendly network label for the VMkernel iSCSI Portgroup 1 - VMkernel iSCSI Network 1, followed by Next

 VMkernel Connection Settings
Enter an IP address for the first VMkernel iSCSI Portgroup 1, followed by Next

 VMkernel - IP Connecting Settings
Review the vSwitch configuration is correct and click Finish

 Review the vSwitch configuration

Review the vSwitch created

 New vSwitch1 created
Select Properties of the vSwitch and Click Add

 vSwitch1 Properties
Add another VMkernel Portgroup, Select VMKernel followed by Next

Add Networking Wizard
Enter a network friendly network label for the VMkernel iSCSI Portgroup 2 - VMkernel iSCSI Network 2, followed by Next

 VMkernel Connection Settings
Enter an IP address for the first VMkernel iSCSI Portgroup 2, followed by Next

 VMkernel - IP Connecting Settings
Review the vSwitch configuration is correct and click Finish and Close.

 Review the vSwitch configuration
Review the Final vSwitch created, with two VMkernel Portgroups

 vSwitch1 complete with two VMkernel Portgroups
The two VMkernel portgroups have been added, and the vSwitch configuration is almost complete.

5. VMkernel Portgroup - Override vSwitch failover order


In this section we need to override the switch failover order for each VMkernel portgroup as follows

VMkernel iSCSI Network 1 - Active Network interface vmnic2 - Unused Network Interface vmnic3

VMkernel iSCSI Network 2 - Active Network interface vmnic3 - Unused Network Interface vmnic2

Select Properties of the vSwitch created in Step 4.

 vSwitch1 complete with two VMkernel Portgroups
vSwitch1 properties will be displayed. Select the VMkernel iSCSI Network 1 portgroup to edit

 edit VMkernel portgroup
Select NIC Teaming

 Select NIC Teaming
Select and put a tick in Override vSwitch Failover order and select the network interface e.g. vmnic3 to move down to Unused adapters

 vSwitch Override
This is how override vSwitch failover should look for VMkernel iSCSI Network 1

 vSwitch Override for VMkernel iSCSI Network 1
Click OK. We now need to repeat the same steps for VMkernel iSCSI Network 2 Select the VMkernel iSCSI Network 2 portgroup to edit

 vSwitch Override for VMkernel iSCSI Network 2
Select NIC Teaming

 Select NIC Teaming
Select and put a tick in Override vSwitch Failover order and select the network interface e.g. vmnic2 to move down to Unused adapters

 vSwitch Override for VMkernel iSCSI Network 2
This is how override vSwitch failover should look for VMkernel iSCSI Network 2

 vSwitch Override for VMkernel iSCSI Network 2
Click OK, followed by close, override vSwitch failover has been completed for the vSwitch. VMKernels are now bound to specific network interfaces, as follows

VMkernel iSCSI Network 1 - Active Network interface vmnic2 - Unused Network Interface vmnic3

VMkernel iSCSI Network 2 - Active Network interface vmnic3 - Unused Network Interface vmnic2

The final and remaining step is to bind these with the software iSCSI initiator (adapter). The The iSCSI Initiator adapter name is vmba33. (from Step 3).
.

6. Bind physical network interfaces (pNIC) to the iSCSI VMKernel


This step is often forgotten, and DID require the login to the console or remotely via SSH to the ESXi server. The VMware vSphere CLI can also be used with the esxcli.exe command to set the bindings if you prefer to use the vSphere CLI. Traditionally with ESXi 4.1, you could use the esxcli swiscsi commands at the console or via SSH.

In ESXi 5.0 this can now be performed from the VMware vSphere Client as follows

Select Storage Adapters

 Storage Adaptors iSCSI software Adaptor not visible
Select iSCSI Software Adapter, and Select Properties

 Select iSCSI Software Adaptor, and Select Properties
The iSCSI Initiator (vmba33) Properties dialogue page will appear. Select the Network Configuration tab.

 iSCSI Initiator (vmba33) Properties
The iSCSI Initiator Networking Configuration and binding page will open.

 iSCSI Initiator Networking Configuration
Click Add

 Click Add
The Bind with VMkernel Network Adapter page will appear. Select VMkernel iSCSI Network 1 and Click OK

 Bind with VMkernel Network Adapter page
This will complete the binding of VMkernel iSCSI Network 1 (vmk1) to vmnic2.

  VMkernel iSCSI Network 1 (vmk1) to vmnic2.
Click Add to complete the bindings for VMkernel iSCSI Network 2 (vmk2) to vmnic3. Select VMkernel iSCSI Network 2 and Click OK

  VMkernel iSCSI Network 2 (vmk2) to vmnic3
Review the Final iSCSI Initiator Bindings and click Close.

 Final Bindings
Click close and select Yes, when prompted to Rescan the Adapter.

You have added an iSCSI Software Adapter and Created an iSCSI Multipath network for your iSCSI storage.



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38
Comment
8 Comments

Expert Comment

by:Jason Yu
Very good article with detail pictures.

Thank you, Andrew, for your helpful work.

jason
0
LVL 128

Author Comment

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
@Jason

Thanks for your comments.

Andrew
0
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:Martin Tarlink
Reading here
under Basic Requirements it is suggested to not use  to use MPIO or MC/S with Link Aggregation
Note: It is not recommended to use MPIO or MC/S with Link Aggregation Network Links, please select one method (MPIO or MC/S) or use Link Aggregation. Using both, while technically possible, is not practical, and involves complicated network setup.

I am wonder what is recommended to set up on physical switch instead?

I implemented above configuration where both NIC for Synology NAS are set up via LACP  ethernet channel, and switch is configured with LACP and ports are bundled in port-channel.

On the ESXi side I below configuration creating MPIO,
and on the switch I have two ports bundled in port-channel.

MPIO1MPIO2MPIO3MPIO4
Does above implementation makes sense?
0
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Expert Comment

by:MAS (MVE)
Many thanks Andrew. Helpful article.
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LVL 128

Author Comment

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
@MAS, no problems.
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:RantCan
I've relied on Hancock for his expertise for a long time. Thanks for another great article; using this right now to straighten out some clustered storage. You're a lifesaver.
0
LVL 128

Author Comment

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
@RantCan

Thanks for your kind words.

Andy
0

Expert Comment

by:WellingtonIS
Yes he's great!  I think my issue lies in the network card it's only seeing once card and not the GBIC's attached.  I'm going to try to configure them in the bios under ISCSI and see if it will then be seen by the VM. If not, then we'll have to buy and additional Ethernet card for this machine.
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