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Vmware and VMFS question - please advise!

Posted on 2010-08-20
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I am planning to build a small test lab at our office running VSphere 4.  I have a couple of questions.

From what I've been reading, I need a SCSI implimentation in order to run VMFS based features (ie HA, DRS, Vmotion, etc).  So, does this mean I only need to run the VM's from an 'SCSI" storage device?  My plan is this:

Running 2 physical machines to install ESX (using SATA HD's)
Running 1 box installing FreeNAS using SATA drives but setting up the iSCSI features.

Does VMFS need to be installed on the hosts or can I install the host OS like normal on SATA drives on the 2 phsical boxes, then setup FreeNAS on another workstation running RAID 5 with SATA drives, setting up iSCSI and then attaching it to the ESX hosts (using VMFS on the FreeNAS box).  I'm hoping this will allow me to play with the VMFS features.

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Question by:GDavis193
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Expert Comment

by:Scanman999
ID: 33487610
I run on a custom PC based on ASUS board and SATA drives, 2 servers and 3 XP VM.
So no, you don't need SCSI drives to run ESXi.
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meagain35 earned 167 total points
ID: 33487636
VMFS is a filesystem type, i.e. FAT32, NTFS, etc... Your vmdk's will be in volumes/luns/das that are formatted in VMFS...

There are several ways to go about setting up storage, and there are even virtual appliances such as Lefthands VAS that can make direct-attached storage iSCSI enabled and actually allow for vMotion with vm's residing on local storage.

You just need to setup your ESX hosts, configure vCenter to join them to a cluster and then configure your NAS or iSCSI on each hosts making it visible to each. From that point, you can format the storage with vmfs and start creating your VMs.

always a good reference (vmware docs ;)

http://pubs.vmware.com/vsp40u1_i/wwhelp/wwhimpl/js/html/wwhelp.htm#href=welcome/welcome.html

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Expert Comment

by:jimmyray7
ID: 33487643
The VMFS partitions will reside on the NAS, not on the individual hosts.
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Assisted Solution

by:Scanman999
Scanman999 earned 167 total points
ID: 33487658
>>>Running 2 physical machines to install ESX (using SATA HD's)
NO PROBLEMS

Running 1 box installing FreeNAS using SATA drives but setting up the iSCSI features.
NO PROBLEMS

VMFS will be installed automatically when you install ESX.

On the NAS part, you can have ESX connecting to it through iSCSI while using it with VMs.
You can then create virtual disks on it using VMFS.
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Author Comment

by:GDavis193
ID: 33487694
So what FS is used on the hosts?  

So ok, so this sounds like it's going to work.  I install ESX 4 on the hosts, cluster them, create my iSCSI initator, setup my NAS, create my iSCSI targets, connect them to the hosts, then format the NAS with VMFS, create my VM's then play? :)
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Assisted Solution

by:jimmyray7
jimmyray7 earned 166 total points
ID: 33487725
The host will use the native FS of it's OS.  None of the VMs data will reside on the host, all of it will reside on the VMFS partition on the NAS.

Your plan sounds good!
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Author Closing Comment

by:GDavis193
ID: 33487736
Thanks everyone!
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