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Setting up iSCSI on VMware ESXi 4.1 - Advice

Posted on 2010-08-31
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Is it possible to setup ESXi 4.1 to use iSCSI storage? I've heard no, but when I go into VSphere, under configuration, storage, add storage, I see Disk/LUN or NFS. I've already added NFS volumes but I'm leary to by a iSCSI device if it won't work. Can anyone help me fill in the blanks?

Thanks!
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Question by:dsmjeff
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chkdsk01 earned 1500 total points
ID: 33568512
Yes, iSCSI will absolutely work.  You need to properly configure your iSCSI target and initiators, be it hardware iSCSI cards in the host machines or using the software iSCSI initiator built into ESXi
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Author Comment

by:dsmjeff
ID: 33568532
Great news. 2nd question - this is our first iSCSI setup. I'm planning on using a PE 2650 and Openfiler as the data storage. As long as I'm on Gigabit everything, we shouldn't need any additional hardware, correct?


Thanks!
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by:chkdsk01
chkdsk01 earned 1500 total points
ID: 33568561
That's correct.
I'm assuming you're going to use the software iSCSI.  To do this, click on one of your hosts.  Click the configuration tab.  Find the iSCSI Software Adapter in the Storage Adapters pane and click on it.  Then click the properties button.  Here is where you will first need to enable iSCSI and configure the initiator.  You will need to configure the targets on the openfiler side too. Once everything is correct, a rescan of the iSCSI adapter will reveal the iSCSI storage under Disk/LUN.  Thats it, in a nutshell.
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Expert Comment

by:chkdsk01
ID: 33568567
You'll need to repeat the process on the host side for each host that you have, in case it's not obvious.
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Author Comment

by:dsmjeff
ID: 33568758
I'm assuming you're going to use the software iSCSI.

Not sure. What are my choices?
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Expert Comment

by:chkdsk01
ID: 33568840
either use the software iSCSI bult into ESX(i) or purchase (if you didn't already) Hardware iSCSI HBA cards.
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Author Comment

by:dsmjeff
ID: 33568959
Okay, thanks. We haven't purchase anything, so we'll do the software based.

Is there any performance issues to be aware of?
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Expert Comment

by:paulsolov
ID: 33569071
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Assisted Solution

by:chkdsk01
chkdsk01 earned 1500 total points
ID: 33569145
Thanks paulsolov... I was just about to post that link.
dsmjeff - The software iSCSI adds more CPU overhead to the ESXi host(s).  Having the hardware iSCSI HBA card offloads that CPU processing onto the HBA card.  Otherwise, iSCSI performance is relatively the same.
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Author Comment

by:dsmjeff
ID: 33569185
Thanks guys. I'll start installing and configuring this week and will post back with any questions.

Thanks! ;)
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Assisted Solution

by:paulsolov
paulsolov earned 500 total points
ID: 33569325
Create a small volume for the OS on the Openfiler, leave the bulk unpartioned, otherwise you will not be able to use it for the iSCSI LUNs.  BY default it may ask you to format the entire space for Openfiler OS
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Author Closing Comment

by:dsmjeff
ID: 33622107
Thanks! :)
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