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Using DL380 G2/G4 As SAN Storage

Posted on 2008-10-02
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14
I have a DL585 with QLogic FC and a DL380 G2 (might be a G4 - I know it's not a G5).  I would like to connect the DL380 via an FC to the DL585 and present it as SAN storage space to play with VMware's Vmotion product.  I do have an iSCIS initiator utility if I need to go that route, but I only have the one DL380 to play with for space.  Will I be able to do that and what is the best way to do it using the hardware I've specified?

Thanks!
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Question by:Monterio
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by:BogdanSUA
ID: 22625450
There are several different virtual appliances out there that can act as a virtual SAN in a box for other physical/virtual servers.

Finding the right one all depends on your specific needs and budget.  Most if not all of them are iSCSI or NAS solutions.  The problem is that you need to get the virtual appliance to see the FC card.  The only way to accomplish that is by using NPIV capable FC cards and switches if applicable.

You can find a list of  the virtual appliances geared towards storage at the following URL:
http://search-www.vmware.com/socialsearch/query?q=storage&cn=vmware&cc=www&st=1&adv=0&bn_uf=VMware_Site_appliances_dir&bn_if=VMware_Site_appliances_dir
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by:paulsolov
ID: 22625497
Before I provide with information below we want to make sure you have teh correct scope.  VMotion only take a snapshot of memory.  To use this effectively you will need to setup at least two servers in a cluster with the servers in the clusters having matching CPUs.  If the CPUs are in a different family you will not able to use VMotion.  You will then have to connect each host to shared storage so that they can see the same datastores

I didn't see you mention that you have a SAN available, if you provide more information we will be able to assist you more.

I have setup a DL380 in my lab and know of a few customers using it via ISCSI.  Openfiler is an open source application www.openfiler.com that you can use to install NAS/SAN ISCSI target on local storage of the DL380.  Using VMWare I connect using the built-in initiator and it is presented as a LUN.  Once that is completed I connect all the hosts in the cluster and work from there.

You will also need to setup VMKernel on a vswitch for Vmotion and to remember to enable vmotion on it
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by:BogdanSUA
ID: 22625707
You can still vmotion a VM between different CPUs, but the VM has to be shutdown to do that.  Thats a cold state migration, and can come in handy if you need to do hardware maintenance/upgrades on your hardware.  When the VM is fired back up, it will see the different CPUs.  It will also bark at you when you try to fire up the VMs....just acknowledge the warning message.

As Paulsolov correctly suggest, don't forget to configure your vmkernel vswitch.  Openfiler is a popular appliance, but there are many others.  Weigh in your specific needs and requirements to determine which one is best for you.
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by:Monterio
ID: 22626968
Thanks for the replies.  I don't have a SAN available in the lab.  If that were the case, then my job would be cake.  Alas, that's not the case though.  All I have at my disposal are what I mentioned earlier.  If there's no way that I can create a small SAN with the DL380 then I just won't be able to...and that's kewl.  As far as the VM environment goes, I didn't go into detail with that because I have that part under control.  I'm using BL460c's for that part.  I just need SAN storage space for the DL585 and thought that a cheap way to create it was to fiber them both into a fiber switch and run something  like OpenFiler on the 585 to carve the space out and present the LUNs to it for use.
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by:paulsolov
ID: 22627204
Openfiler would fine to present the LUNs via ISCSI.  From memory that unit has dual network cards, I would team them in openfiler (bond them) and you should have some redundancy as well.  I would install an extra nic card on the host, dual port preferably and setup the iscsi on a separate vswitch with its own physical nic on the vmware host.  You can do this or a separate VLAN fo this network and thus avoid congestion issues.  

Since you have a blade system you should be able to do vmotion without any problems, just make two of the blades your hosts and you should be good to go. I've setup a lab with a few G3, G4s and a PC with a decent raid controller running sata ii drives.  The SCSI drives in the DL585 should be ok for most I/O needs especially if this is not going into production (although it would work ok in production as well just make sure you have backups done on a regular basis)
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aleghart earned 125 total points
ID: 22627331
To turn the DL380 into a SAN appliance, look at FreeNAS and OpenFiler.  FreeNAS is free.  OpenFiler will cost you ~$85-90USD for the admin guide.  (They employ a funky on-line authentication scheme, so you can't read it without connecting to the internet every month.  Also, no printing allowed per their security settings.)

You can present as iSCSI, not necessary to go FC for a test environment.  If this is a DL380 G4, you have 2x1Gbps NICs and 6xU320 hot swap drives.  If you have the 6i RAID controller, you can expand easily.

You'll need an MSA20 chassis (~$2,500 empty), which connects to the 6i controller via U320 SCSI.  You'll have 12 slots capable of holding off-the-shelf SATA drives.

We're looking at this upgrade right now.  Cheap expansion, and working over Gigabit ethernet.
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by:paulsolov
ID: 22627383
If it's job for lab environment there are good guides on how to configure openfiler with ESX

http://www.petri.co.il/use-openfiler-as-free-vmware-esx-san-server.htm

FreeNas is also decent piece of software.  If you're using any of these in a production environment I would get support, you never know when you'll need it.
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by:Monterio
ID: 22627391
Okay...now we're cookin' wit gas!  Riddle me this, then oh Sage Of The San; how would you do this setup given what I'm working with:

1.  DL585 with two NICs - one leg on the production LAN and the other leg on a private VLAN 192.168.x.x/24 - running W2K3srvr R2/SP2 running HP's ICE software as well as VMware Virtual Center
(gig connection to Cisco 3020 blade swithc on c7000 enclosure with 4 BL460c's VLAN'ed to 192.168.x.x) connected to port 17 (out of the 8 exposed ports on the switch, 17-24)

2.  c7000 encl with 4 BL460c blades in a 4 server VLAN.  One blade is the FSMO master for the testing domain that exists on 192.168.x.x, two blades are my ESX 3.5.1 host, and the last blade is a W2K3srvr app/file/web server.

Everything exists on 192.168.x.x except for the ICE server which has two legs - one on Prod and the other on the VLAN...there is no routing between the legs obviously since I'm running a separate AD domain with DHCP, DNS et al.
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by:Monterio
ID: 22627412
I forgot to include the DL380.  My bad.
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by:paulsolov
ID: 22627921
Just a thought. If this is for a test environment you can install your favorit linux flavored OS and setup a NFS share.  You can then use thin provision the volume and use it in leu of a FC/ISCSI LUN
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by:andyalder
ID: 22633410
Post the Qlogic card to me, it's no use to you if you're running iSCSI.
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by:Monterio
ID: 22634175
Linux isn't an option in this environmemnt unfortunately.  I think I'm going to flow with aleqhart's suggestion and see where that goes.  Thanks everyone so much for your valued input on the question.  Have a great one!!
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by:Monterio
ID: 31502424
His answer sounds like it'll work.  I've looked at FreeNAS and we'll see if it'll do what I need.   In the meantime, we'll see...
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by:andyalder
ID: 22634763
aleghart (and Monterio), The Smart Array 6i does not support the external SCSI port if the internal one is in use on the backplane, it has 2 SCSI connectors (one internal and one external) but is only a single channel controller so you can't use them both at the same time. I would go for a P800 or P600 plus MSA60 instead depending on which PCI-X or PCIe riser you've got.
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by:aleghart
ID: 22636536
I just got off an 1/2 hour chat with HP tech & sales support.  They specified the MSA20, using the existing 6i controller.  The U320 connector is already there at the back of the server.

The DL380 G4 has the option of running with a split backplane.    HP says the 6i can use two connections:

1 to backplane + 1 to external SCSI

or

2 to split backplane configuration

Do you have a doc showing only one connection supported?
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by:aleghart
ID: 22636580
http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/servers/proliantstorage/arraycontrollers/smartarray6i/

See note at bottom:

*        The DL380 G4 has a second channel for optional duplex backplane support or external tape support.

My DL380 G4 has the external SCSI connector already installed in the chassis.
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by:andyalder
ID: 22640211
Oh, my bad. Got confused with the channel numbering.
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by:BogdanSUA
ID: 22651668
No love/assist points for being the first to point you to all the different virtual applainces?
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