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Adding Shared Storage to VMware environemnt

Posted on 2014-10-30
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Last Modified: 2014-10-31
I have 3 dual-proc ESXi 5.x hosts all running local storage and licensed for VMware Essentials.  This is a test/dev environment.

I need to upgrade the environment to have shared storage.  From a 10K foot perspective, is it as simple as adding Fibre Channel HBAs to each host, connecting them to a FC switch that connects to a FC storage controller on the SAN?

I imagine that I would create a RAID set on the SAN and create a datastore there that all the hosts could see.  Then I would have vMotion and capabilities which I do not have at this point.

Am I over-simplifying the process here or from a high-level perspective is this approach viable?

Thanks in advance for your assistance.
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Question by:CipherUser
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serchlop earned 300 total points
ID: 40413706
Yes, to connect a FC SAN you only need the FC Switch and the HBA in the servers, all the connenctions made and the LUNs created in the SAN for the vSphere cluster. Then you will see then in vSphere client like a disk. You enter in Host configuration tab, select storage and create the datastore in one host. After that rescan all adapter on other host to view the created datastores in the first server.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 200 total points
ID: 40413775
Yes, it's as simple as that.....

but you may want to think about resilience, and have two HBA in each server, and two FC switches as well!

and then plan your volumes, datastores, and RAID type ?
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by:andyalder
ID: 40413943
You may want to consider SAS instead of FC, it's cheaper since there's no switches involved but it's normally limited to 4 hosts since most SANs with SAS as the host connect only have 4 host ports per controller. I would normally use dual port HBA rather than 2 separate ones, certainly it is a SPOF on the server's side but there again so is the motherboard,
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by:StrifeJester
ID: 40414069
Building on what has already been said if this is a test/dev you could also look at iSCSI. This might even save you a lot of trouble as far as adding hardware goes since there are open source solutions to turning a machine into an iSCSI host. There are iSCSI HBAs out there that are designed with handling the off-loading in mind. I have not used an iSCSI HBA in 5.x but I know in previous versions VMware identified certain cards and used them only for iSCSI.

If the whole point of your lab is to work on learning some FC then I would use 2 dual port HBAs as has been mentioned. If you need to save costs a single switch is OK for now but a single point of failure is obviously something you always want to avoid.
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