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VMWARE ESXi Host and MD3000i

Posted on 2010-08-20
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Hi!

I have a VMWARE ESXi 3.5 (Dell Poweredge 2950) and its 10 VMs residing on a MD3000i (virtualdisk 1). Everything is fine and working properly.

Is there any way for one of these VM (residing on virtualdisk 1) to see and connect to virtualdisk 2??

I can successfully connect another Poweredge server to this virtualdisk 2...

thx
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Question by:richelieuhq
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by:chkdsk01
ID: 33486585
If I understand you correctly, yes.  As long as "virtualdisk2" is shared storage to the ESXi host.  Edit the settings of the particular VM and add a new Hard Drive.  When you get to the step in the wizard where it asks you what datastore, choose "virtualdisk2".  Follw the rest of the steps and you should have a 2nd disk located on the other shared storage.
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LVL 117
ID: 33487083
you want a virtual machine to use an iSCSI disk virtualdisk 2?

Install the Microsoft iSCSI Connector inside the virtual machine and connect it to virtualdisk 2.
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by:mattolan
ID: 33487164
I don't think we are clear on what you are trying to do, I see 3 possible things you may be doing please clarify.

1) you could be trying to create a virtual disk for a VM and store it to virtualdisk2
2) you may be asking how you create a raw data mapping for a virtual machine to virtualdisk2
3) you could be trying to connect a virtual machine to an iSCSI disk directly with an iSCSI initiator
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Author Comment

by:richelieuhq
ID: 33487299
virtualdisk 2 is already created and there is data on it.

I want one of my VM (residing on viirtualdisk1) to access data on virtualdisk2.

virtualdisk 1 and 2 are on MD3000i.
virtualdisk1 is access by ESXi host (Poweredge 2950).

 
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Author Comment

by:richelieuhq
ID: 33487321
"raw device mappings" option in my VI console are not available to choose if I want to create a new hard disk for my VM.
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LVL 117
ID: 33487338
it's clear to me.

Install the Microsoft iSCSI Connector inside the virtual machine and connect it to virtualdisk 2.
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by:chkdsk01
ID: 33487344
Do you want to want to create an RDM?  What is it you are trying to accomplish?  See @mattolan's post above.
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LVL 117
ID: 33487356
details of how to use Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator (if you are using Win2k3m Win2k0, it's already installed in Win2k8)

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/technologies/storage/iscsi/default.mspx

http://download.microsoft.com/download/a/e/9/ae91dea1-66d9-417c-ade4-92d824b871af/uguide.doc

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LVL 117
ID: 33487399
The virtual machine that the RDM is going to be added to needs to be shut down first, the RDM cannot be added while it is running.

have you added the LUN on virtualdisk 2 to the ESX server?

i.e. do both LUN IDs appear under the storage adaptor?
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chkdsk01 earned 167 total points
ID: 33487425

Sorry, I missed you comment above.  Disregard my last post.

If you already created a 2nd virtual disk and it has data on it I don't think the MS iSCSI is the solution.  The iSCSI initiator installed inside the VM will allow you to connect the guest OS to an iSCSI LUN on your storage.  The way I understand it, is you have a vmdk file that you'd like to connect to a 2nd VM.  If this is the case, edit the VM settings and click "add a new Hard disk".  Instead of creating a new disk, select the option to add an existing disk.  Then just browse to the vmdk file.  
Am I wrong in uderstanding what you want to accomplish?
Also, if it is am iSCSI LUN you want to connect to, I would go RDM.  MS iSCSI adds addition overhead inside the guest VM as well as many other downsides.  Here's a great link that discusses the pros and cons of each.
http://blog.core-it.com.au/?p=419
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Author Comment

by:richelieuhq
ID: 33487440
install the iSCSI connector inside the VM?

ahum...

My VMs and server are on my regular subnet (let's say 192.168.10.0/24)
The iSCSI port on my MD3000i are on a separate subnet (let's say 10.0.15.1).

So my ESXi host is connected to the LAN using 192.168.10.30 AND connected to the MD3000i using ip address10.0.15.30

My VM is actually having only one NIC configure using 192.168.10.31. To install iSCSI connector I would have to setup an additionnal network adapter on 10.0.15.0/24 subnet.

is it the way it is supposed to be done??


(by the way,thx for your help!)

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Author Comment

by:richelieuhq
ID: 33487455
My VM is shut down and RDM is still not available.

(I have ESXi... maybe this option is only available for ESX version?)
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Expert Comment

by:bgoering
ID: 33487488
The solution will depend on a few things - many possible answers have already been covered. Some more information about virtualdisk 2 is in order. You said it already exists and has data on it. Who else accesses virtualdisk 2? Is it Linux? Windows? If, for example, you wish to share a disk between Windows or Linux servers then rdm (or MS iSCSI, or Linux iSCSI) is only part of the answer - you will also need to run some kind of clustering software on your OS accessing the disk in order to arbitrate write access to the volume.

Please tell us more specifically what you have, how you got there, and what you are trying to do then one of us may be able to better help you design a solution.

Good Luck
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LVL 117
ID: 33487491
I've Clustered Microsoft iSCSI connector inside VMs for large Exchange solutiions with NetApp filers with no issues using NetApp Snap Manager.

depends on the workload of your ESXi host!
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by:chkdsk01
ID: 33487496
To configure the MS iscsi in your environment, yes thats how you'd have to do it.  You'd assign the 2nd virtual NIC to your vSwitch for iSCSI traffic.  Although, before you decide, take a look at the link I provided about the pros and cons of iSCSI vs RDM.  With the MS iSCSI you won't be able to snapshot the VM, it won't support SRM if you either have it oor plan to implement it, among others.
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LVL 117
ID: 33487501
well in your case, yes you would have to create a NIC on that subnet for your storage.
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LVL 117
ID: 33487520
but you can snapshot from the MD3000i!
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by:chkdsk01
ID: 33487555
Yes but depending on the application you will not have an application consistent snapshot.  This may or may not be necessary.  I'm erring on the side of cautiousness since I don't know anything about the environment.  Something transactional like Exchange, SQL, Oracle, etc would not work very well this way, in my opinion.  Just flat files would likely be ok, but personally I don't trust filer snapshots for server backup unless the VM is quiesced.
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Author Comment

by:richelieuhq
ID: 33487680
My MD3000i is actually full: 2 virtualdisk ->
virtualdisk1 for ESXi host (1.4Tbytes)
virtualdisk2 for file server data (1.9Tbytes)

virtualdisk 2 is access by a file server (Poweredge 1950). this file server is not a VM.

I would like to virtualize this file server (but only the C drive OS) after that, making available the virtualdisk2 to this virtualized file server. There is not enough space on virtualdisk1 to completely virtualise the file server on it
Maybe i'm wrong in my design! :)
Maybe it Is not recommended to virtualize a file server? Because of the load?



thx guys for your patience.
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Assisted Solution

by:chkdsk01
chkdsk01 earned 167 total points
ID: 33487750
There is no problem virtualizing  a file server, but why not create CIFS shares on the storage and do away with the file server?
If there's not enough space on virtualdisk1, do you plan to put the file server vmdk on virtualdisk2?  Also, your 1950 is connected to the storage how, MS iSCSI?  If you virtualize it, connectivity will stay the same, no?
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Author Comment

by:richelieuhq
ID: 33487799
Yes... the file server is connected MS iSCSI to the MD3000i.
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LVL 117
ID: 33487813
VMs don't need to be quiesced for filer Snapshot.

just the same as a power failure! Crash Consistent.

but anyway, whatever works for what ever organisation.

We've worked with a very large telco, that filer snapshots 4,000 VMs this way without issue, for many years, before Snap shotting was availabe in ESX!

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by:chkdsk01
ID: 33488221
@hanccocka - My point exactly.  It's the same as a power failure.  For flat file stuff you will liikely be fine, but what if your Exchange server is doing an online defrag when you filer takes a snapshot.  It won't help if you need to restore unless all your after is the boot drive, and using a seperate restore for your databases, and you have to hope your databases aren't trashed from the "power failure".  The snapshots will work fine, it's the restore that you may have trouble with, thats all I'm saying.  If I had my choice, I'd like to restore from a clean, quiesced snapshot, not a crash consistent one.  Anyway, off topic here.
@richelieuhq - So if you could P2V your file server's boot drive, there wouldn't be any change as to how it connects to the iSCSI LUN.  But since you don't have enough space on disk1, whats your plan?  Are you putting it on disk2?  Have you considered CIFS shares and dropping the file server all together?  Also, if you keep the file server, and do the P2V, consider the pros and cons of RDM vs MS iSCSI.
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Expert Comment

by:mattolan
ID: 33501395
What Version of ESXi are you using? and is it the free version or the paid version? If its the paid version what license level are you running?
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Author Comment

by:richelieuhq
ID: 33502321
ESXi 3.5 free version.
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Assisted Solution

by:bgoering
bgoering earned 83 total points
ID: 33502568
Your ESXi will need a NIC configured to access the MD3000i - apparently it already has that and a vmkernel port on that NIC in order to access its datastore. If you have another physical NIC available in your ESXi server that you could add to your storage IP subnet I recommend that you use that and create a virtual machine portgroup on that 2nd NIC for your virtualized fileserver to use to access the storage.

If you don't have another physcial NIC available, you can create the virtual machine network on the same vSwitch as your VMkernel portgroup for storage, while that isn't recommended as a best practice, it should work.

Create your virtual fileserver with 2 virtual NICs, one to your users network, the other for your newly created portgroup on your storage group. Set up MS iSCSI same as it is on your physical server to access your 1.9 TB LUN.

Good Luck
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LVL 117
ID: 33502776
or talk to your Network Manager nicely, and use VLANs
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LVL 117
ID: 33502781
less NICs more networks with Virtual LANs
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Expert Comment

by:bgoering
ID: 33502980
true hanccocka - but I would still (if at all possible) use a seperate physical NIC for the storage virtual machine network, and not put it in a VLAN portgroup with other vm networks
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by:mattolan
ID: 33504037
ESXi free does not support all the features of the paid version, it is possible it may not support rdm
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LVL 117
ID: 33504481
@bgoering: well personally if we are getting into specifics I wouldn't use NICs or iSCSI Software Initator, and I would use a iSCSI TOE card. QLogic or Emulex come to mind!
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LVL 117
ID: 33504485
but depends on your environment, implementation and budget. whatever works for you ..... etc
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