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old fibre channel SAN

Posted on 2014-03-18
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Last Modified: 2014-03-21
Hi Experts,
I have a question regarding an old fibre channel SAN.
We have the HP MSA2200 SAN with a fibre channel switch.
And each Server has a Fibre channel adapter to the fibre swich.

Now we implement vsphere with iscsi.
But how I can connect the migrated VM´s to the fibre channel ?
And do I loose IO Performance ?
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Question by:Eprs_Admin
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by:paulsolov
paulsolov earned 108 total points
ID: 39938758
What is the model of the HP SAN?  Depending on model you can install modules to enable iscsi.

What is the reason for going to iscsi?  If you already have fibre channel I would keep it as it provided better performance in general.  Otherwise you'll need to setup at least two switches for iscsi redundancy, nics on the esxi hosts, etc..
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by:SelfGovern
SelfGovern earned 107 total points
ID: 39938832
Typically you can't directly present Fibre Channel storage to a VM.  So you present it to your hypervisor, and let him divvy up the storage and present it to the VMs -- most often directly, so the client sees it as direct connect storage.

Yes, it's probably going to introduce some latency to the environment... but... if you're not willing or able to give up a bit of performance, you are probably not supposed to be running in a virtualized environment.  (The performance decrease shouldn't be huge, and it might even not be noticeable).

I can't find quickspecs for the MSA 2200fc -- maybe it's the 2212fc?  In any case, a possible alternative, albeit at some cost: perhaps you could find some of the MSA G2 2000i controllers which support iSCSI natively, and swap them for your current Fibre Channel controllers.  Now you can present the LUN directly to the VM.  But there will be trade-offs in ease of manageability, and possibly in use of tools such as VMotion.  Please research this to ensure it is a workable solution, and if so, that you purchase the correct controllers.
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Author Comment

by:Eprs_Admin
ID: 39939056
we have physical servers with these nics HP NC373i
And the servers have regular ethernet ports.
Now when I want to migrate a server to a vm or create a new vm, how to connect to the SAN ?

We use Vmware vSphere 5.5.
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LVL 42

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by:paulsolov
paulsolov earned 108 total points
ID: 39939324
You will need to have at least one ESXi host connected to the SAN.  Install ESXi, create a virtual disk on the SAN and connect as a datastore to the new ESXi host.  From there you can P2V the physical servers to the datastore on the ESXi host.
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by:Gerald Connolly
Gerald Connolly earned 36 total points
ID: 39939325
You should be able to present the LUNs from the MSA (via FC) to your VM, You don't need to go down the iSCSI route, you already have all the infrastructure pieces in place, as SelfGovern said, it might (might!) introduce some latency, but it's going to be much quicker and easier to suck it and see if it makes any difference. Converting the MSA to iSCSI is going to take time, downtime and money to achieve - and it might not give you any perceptible performance increase.
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by:gheist
gheist earned 249 total points
ID: 39939786
Fibre channel and iSCSI are different things
Why not make a NFS server covering all FC storage (NFS is well supported by vmware)?
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by:paulsolov
paulsolov earned 108 total points
ID: 39940051
The MSA is block device and can't do NFS natively such as a Netapp.  iSCSI and FC are both block protocols versus NFS
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by:gheist
gheist earned 249 total points
ID: 39940115
MSA 2200 is FC-only, no chance it does iSCSI over 100Mbps management webserver.
NFS (With multipath FC in the back) allows to resize VMs natively from vmware.
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Author Comment

by:Eprs_Admin
ID: 39942476
ok but how to connect my vm´s to the MSA ?
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Author Comment

by:Eprs_Admin
ID: 39942492
We just implement vmware.
We just need a smal environment so we go for thre hosts and Essentials plus.
And therefore iscsi is the cheapest way to connect to out environment.

But how to connect to my fibre channel SAN ?
So that the vm´s can access the data after migration.
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LVL 62

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by:gheist
gheist earned 249 total points
ID: 39942502
You connect physical server to FCs (make dual paths via FC switches, actually since you have single client no need for FC switch)
Do you have two IO controllers in MSA? Then split it in half so you have speed closer to FC speed with RAID
After configuring FC LUN mapping now you see FC as a disk in your system
Now export that disk via NFS (CentOS or recent windows are best if you intend to keep the setup for long)
(I am proposing to devaluate old san to the function of single disk and then use its space as very flexible NFS storage for vmware)
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Author Comment

by:Eprs_Admin
ID: 39942601
ok can you explain how to connect the hosts or vm´s to the FC ?
I have checked the NPIV settings on my VM, but all is greyed out.
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by:SelfGovern
SelfGovern earned 107 total points
ID: 39942871
You give all the storage to your VM host.  The host can see FC.   Then the host presents LUNs from its available storage to the virtual machines themselves.
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by:gheist
gheist earned 249 total points
ID: 39943441
NFS is completely transparent, and you have vmdk files on sight. FC SAN  is giving up to 10/40GbE relatively cheap NAS...
And 4Gb/s is just a zip slower than 1000x cheaper USB 3.0 so leave it really for the testing.
NPIV is a feature of FC adapter virtualisation, you need other adapter (vmware HCL can advice you)
Normally you create volumes/LUNs on MSA and add access list with all vmware-connected client adapters (doc says you can have 64 of them (type/click/type/click etc)
There you put storage volume for vmdks

Gotcha - MSA2000 are notorious for veeery slow scsi locking, so you actually cannot use shared volume.... We threw one out 4 years ago or so.

I suggest to do that once for on NFS LUN/volume so that you dont break your fingers ;)
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by:gheist
gheist earned 249 total points
ID: 39943452
Actually MSA2000 is rebranded http://www.dothill.com/storage-arrays/overview/ and they broke with HP bad, so that HP offered trade-in instead of parts replacement...
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Author Comment

by:Eprs_Admin
ID: 39944805
You give all the storage to your VM host.  The host can see FC.   Then the host presents LUNs from its available storage to the virtual machines themselves.

Hi SelfGovern, does it mean I need special HBA cards in the host ?
Now I just have 12 Nics in my hosts.
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by:gheist
gheist earned 249 total points
ID: 39944879
You need fibre channel HBA(s)s in the hosts.
Also to simplify i'd remind again that you can have FC in NFS server(s) and use network for VMWARE hosts...
Netcards are of no help.
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LVL 20

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by:SelfGovern
SelfGovern earned 107 total points
ID: 39945183
EPRS, you've got me a bit confused.   In your original post you said,
>    And each Server has a Fibre channel adapter to the fibre swich.

Yes, you need a supported Fibre Channel HBA in a physical server to be able to present Fibre Channel storage to that server.

Since we seem to be going around in circles here, please post the following information

1) Exactly which model of MSA do you have?
2) Which Fibre Channel HBAs do you have?
3) Exactly which manufacturer and model number of server do you have?  Include the 'version' or 'generation' of the server -- for instance, an HP ProLiant might be "HP ProLiant DL380 Gen6" -- we need all that information.
4) Do you have Fibre Channel cables going from the server to the FC switch, and from the FC switch to the MSA?  If so, what colors are the lights at each cable end?  (there are at least four cable ends in this scenario: one at the MSA, one at the server for the HBA, and two at the switch.  For each additional connections to the other HBAs on the server, you'll add a pair of connections.)
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LVL 62

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by:
gheist earned 249 total points
ID: 39945246
1) he said MSA2200 fc which means MSA2212fc - 2 controllers 4Gbps each
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Author Comment

by:Eprs_Admin
ID: 39945373
Thanks for your help, now I know what to do in the future.
First I scan my network for one week what kind of IO we have.
Then I decide which way ISCSI 10Gbit or FC.
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LVL 62

Expert Comment

by:gheist
ID: 39945513
You have FC disk, that you can bridge into 10GBPS NFS if you want to put hardware to use
In year or two you may want to get rid of FC, and can copy VMDKs to better place, a bit harder with iSCSI, especially for concurrent access from multiple VM hosts etc.
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