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Trevor Mifsud

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Cant add iSCSI device to VMWare ESXi 4.1 ...

Hi Experts,

I seem to be having a problem adding a iSCSI target via ESXi 4.1.

First of all, let me explain my hardware.

1x Supermicro 8x hot swap bay chassis with Intel motherboard and Adaptec 3805 8 port SAS RAID Controller (1x SSD (FreeNAS 8 installed), 1x 500Gb ISO drive, 2x Array 2Tb (RAID 5EE)).
3x Intel s2625 server chassis with Intel  motherboard, Intel dual 6 core CPU's, 32gb Ram, Intel RAID RS2BL080 Controller, 4x 500Gb RAID 5 Array.

The 3x Intel servers connect to the supermicro (Shared SAN Storage, operating system is FreeNAS 8) system as a iSCSI Target utilising shared storage so we can run total VMware HA, vMotion and DRS.

We have successfully created the FreeNAS server and can connect to it from the VMWare ESXi 4.1 servers using the 500GB ISO drive so we can have one place to store all our ISO files.

Under "Storage Adapters" on the ESXi Configuration tab, we have configured the iSCSI adapter and can successfully see all 3 LUNs/Partitions running on the FreeNAS server (1x 500gb, 2x 2Tb LUNs).

Under "Storage" on the ESXi Configuration tab, we successfully added the 500Gb LUN/partition to ESXi and can see the ISO files and folders we created. This drive is not connected to any RAID controller, its is connected to a SATA port on the motherboard.

This is where is fails ...

Under "Storage" on the ESXi Configuration tab, we can see both 1x array (2Tb). We select the first one and go next we get this error:

Call "HostDatastoreSystem.QueryVmfsDatastoreCreateOptions" for object "datastoreSystem-298" on vCenter Server "" failed.

I cant seem to get past this error.

Now my observations ... I think this is having an issue with the RAID or the RAID controller. because the 500Gb ISO drive is not part of a RAID set and the VMWare ESXi servers dont have a problem connecting to this hard drive even though it resides within the same FreeNAS 8 server.

Your help would be appreciated and thank you in advance :)

Avatar of Danny McDaniel
Danny McDaniel
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are the larger luns exactly 2TB or 1.99TB?  VMware needs a little bit of space at the end of the LUN so if they are larger than 2tb-512b then ESX(i) won't add the LUN's.
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Trevor Mifsud


Hi Danm66,

I will delete the RAID arrays and make them 1.95Tb would that be enough space ?

Do we know how much space we need to leave?

Like that we can get the maximum space out of the drives.

Avatar of Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow/British Beekeeper)
LUNs cannot be above 2TB-512 bytes for the VMFS datastore as per this document.

Configuration Maximums for VMware vSphere 4.1

If thre 500GB iSCSI LUN is working correctly, it must be the size of the 2TB LUNs which is the issue, but to be honest with you FreeNAS 8 is a mess, in my opinion, and very buggy. (unlike the previous versions that share it's name FreeNAS 0,7, but bare no resemblance any more to the project).

Yes i understand, but i found its the only way of creating TB's of space with the huge over head of EMC SAN's and the necessary switching equipment required.

Ok here is an interesting one, on both servers i can see the 500Gb drive. But only one can mount it im not getting this error:

Call "HostStorageSystem.ResolveMultipleUnresolvedVmfsVolumes" for object "storageSystem-336" on vCenter Server "" failed.
what do FreeNas logs state if any?

personally I would either try Openfiler, FreeNas 0.7, Starwind iSCSI or SvSAN.

I tried OpenFiler, wasnt very easy to use.

FreeNAS 0.7 doesnt support the dual channel intel network cards that im using. I had FreeNAS 0.7.2 working last week.

Starwind iSCSI and SvSAN ive never heard of. Going to look now though.

unless there is a way to make FreeNAS 0.7.2 work with Intel Network Cards.
hardware support is based on what is supported in FreeBSD 7.3, which Freenas 0.7.2 is based on, but you must have found an Intel card is not supported by FreeBSD, Intel cards are usually recommended, rather than other buggy card drivers in FreeBSD.
Where can i get FreeNAS 7.3 from. I couldnt find it anywhere.
there is no Freenas 7.3, you ve misread, FreeBSD 7.3.
Oh ok i got ya now sorry.

So what do you recommend i use FreeBSD and manually setup the iSCSI target.
if your network card is not supported in Freenas 0.7.2, its unlikely to work with FreeBSD, unless you install or compile the driver separetly.

You could Try OpenE NAS.
Yeah these are starting to becopme costly for the storage requirments im look at long term.

I dont understand why with freenas 0.7.2 everything worked like a treat in a 200 dollar desktop computer with a realtek network card.

Now i have gone out and bought a production rack mount server as a storage server, nothing works.
Unfortunately, it appears that later versions of Freenas are buggy and not tested, and the quality of testing builds has not been there for a while. (I'm surprised the realtek card worked well for you, because there are issue with that!).

You could try the following

CryptoNAS ( - Free
EON (, Blog - Free
EuroNAS ( - Commercial
FreeNAS ( - Free
Napp-it ( - Free
NASLite ( - Commercial
NexentaStor ( - Commercial (Developer Edition is restricted to 4TB)
Open-E ( - Commercial (Lite Version is restricted to 2TB)
OpenFiler ( - Free (Commercial support is available)
PulsarOS ( - Free (?), not released yet
UnRAID ( - Commercial (Basic Version is restricted to 3 Drives)
I'm currenly having similar issues, old hardware works fine with 0.686 and 0.7.1 of FreeNAS, been using it for years with no issue. But recently purchase new hardware for a new larger NAS project, and 0.686 and 0.7.1 of Freenas do not support hardware, 0.7.2 is non-stable, buggy, not testes, I ssupect because leader Open Source developers left the Freenas project, FreeNAS 8 is just a name, it's nothing like Freenas 0.6/0.7, different product, just using the name.

Personally, Openfiler is a disaster. So we are looking at alternatives.

NexentaStor and Open-E, before we look at SvSAN/Starwind iSCSI VSA which is a VMware Appliance.
NexentaStor actually looks quite good, have you tried it before?
do you know if it is one 18tb storage server. Or can you run multiple storage servers.

the only reason im ask is because we are look at running eventually 3-4 storage servers and i want to get the right solution.
FreeNAS and Nexenta is on the performance side very much comparable. NexentaStor is slitghly faster in most of the disciplines.

Do you have a budget?
At the moment we are doing testing on vmware HA and vmotion. We are trying to stick with the Intel platform as in the past we have found it to be the most compatible until now.

We havent really cut any corners, i just want to try this type of solution before we go down the road of fibre channel hardware which we all know is very expensive just for testing.

I want to really try and stick to something open source and in development so there are furture updates. I dont really want to go with anything proprietory as it becomes costly.

What kind of server are you trying to install it on?
as for your issue with FreeNas, you may have proved the following

Currently FreeNAS is limited to one LUN in the target because of a technical reason.
okay, because if you had a budget to purchase a commercial solution I would recommend HP Lefthand VSA.
Yeah im not much of a HP fan, i prefer IBM, but trying to setup a solution like this with IBM gear. I might as well give up already.
I was actually creating a target per LUN.

But i wanted to access the LUN from 3 servers for Fault Tolerance and vMotion in vmware.
is there is price tag on HP Lefthand VSA?
The HP VSA is just software, that they acquired from Lefthand.

Yes, I think that is the issue Freenas does not support multiple hosts per LUN. Seems poor as an iSCSI SAN.
Yeah now i know that FreeNAS has an issue with multiple LUN's, i think time to try something else.

So your trying NexentaStor at the moment?

Well I had a look into HP lefthand VSA. Even though it looks good. It requires another VMWare license as it's only a appliance.

I think imaging to try the nextastor a good too today. Have you had much luck with it?
Avatar of Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow/British Beekeeper)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow/British Beekeeper)
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Ok I understand it better. Instead of buying a dedicated storage server just use VSA to create the San on local storage.

Much better use of 6 hot swap bays I say.
I'll install it today and if it works with my hardware. Then I'll let you know what specs I have.
I'll install it today and if it works with my hardware. Then I'll let you know what specs I have.

Just letting you know i evaluated about 5 different SAN products, i ended up going with Open-E, i found it to be the best solution.

Also, i had it setup in 15 mins, was very straight forward.