Proper install of NexenttaStor in vmware environment to act as a datastore

I have an rd630 with 16 bays for storage. interested in turning this into a datastore.
Trying to figure correct install and configure of NexentaStor in my environment.

I am doing the install of the NexentaStor, but I noticed in the manual it has for install option:
 1) VMware Virtual Environment
 2) Unified Appliance

 When I go through the instructions for option #1, I am asked to choose an appropriate virtual disk size. I have read through the documentation but there is no minimum or maximum, it does do a default of 13GBs as thick provision lazy zeroed by default.
 Is that the option I should keep?

 I have contacted Nexentor but no response from them keeps going to voicemail.

 Have you done one of these installs?

 Am I to choose the option for vm or Unified Appliance.

 The manual does not provide exact details.
j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, I've done many of these installations.

The VMware Virtual Environment is designed for labs, and virtual machines. This is why it's asking you to define a virtual disk of 13GB, this is not applicable for you.

I think this is confusing you, you do not select the VMware Virtual Environment, for use with ESXi, unless you want to run Nexentor a Guest VM, and you do not, you want to install on Bare Metal.

You need to select the Unified Appliance, and create a NAS/SAN.

See Chapter 4 on Page 15 onwards.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew, that makes a little better sense.
Right now on that rd630 I have 8 HDDs enterprise drives, I still have not purchased the other 8 SSDs to fill in the slot.
Trying to figure out if I should just go 16 SDDs or keep it split as 8 HDDs and 8 SSDs. But Inoticed with the configuration for Unified appliance it will need two drives mirrored. But it also mentions that it could be small drives nothing big. So I can order two identical SSDs that are about 80 or 126 GBs in size instead of spending $$$ on 250 or 450 GB drives.
I take it after the appliance install is complete I will treat it as a storage device.
I am wondering if I should first create a mirrored RAID for the appliance and then later when the other drives come in when I order them, create the next RAID 6 for them using the 14 drives. I think maybe I should create two datastores with 7 drives each as RAID 6.  I am wondering what would be the advantage of a single 14 disk RAID or two 7 disk RAIDs.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Waste of money.....

The benefit of ZFS based system, is you can use normal slow disks, and then use SSDs for Read and Write Cache, in the form of ZIL and ARC drives.

So you theory is correct.

It makes sense to use a MIRRORED PAIR for the OS.

But do not use RAID Array to do this, let the appliance sort out the pools, using JBODs.

Do not configure any RAID, let the appliance do it's own RAID.

see here

https://blogs.oracle.com/constantin/entry/7_easy_tips_for_zfs

It's based on ZFS, or use http://www.napp-it.org/

Eventually you will end up with a storage appliance for NFS or iSCSI, but planning is key.

with what you do with cache (ZIL) and ARC, and your pool of disks.

Nexenta takes all this pain away with the GUI....

so just let it do it's thing based on GUI, and Performance option.

But do not RAID the disks before hand, present them all as a JBOD to Nexenta.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew, good morning.
Strange thing, it would not allow me to install until I first created a mirror RAID from the rd630.
Once I created the RAID with two drives installed, I was able to install the software.
It is now in the process of installing.
Before installing it asked me to confirm if I am to use the dis and that it will be wiped and reconfigured.
I hope that works out.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
it maybe does not have drivers for JBOD mode.

What is more important is the disks are presented as a JBOD to the Nexenta OS, and it creates the RAID set!
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Install complete, registered and got the registration key, selected static ip, entered static ip, subnet, gateway, now it is asking for name server.
Not sure if they are asking for domain controller.
Read through the documentation but it does not reference name server.
What exactly is that.
I only plugged in only one network cord to our switch.
I did that for easy finding the correct connection.
pls advise.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Name Server is often referred to as DNS Server.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Oh ok.
Is there more steps required for completion.
I had to bring in my personal set of SSDs to get this party started.
Will it be through the software that I will add my other drives and connect and configure the other Ethernet cables to the network card?
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
ok, I am getting a timeout for each parameter.
I selected the wrong connector and then changed it to the correct one that had 169.x.x.x. ip address as the correct one.
I plugged in my values and I get a timeout
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Oh yes, many more steps, you need to configure the ESXi host, and also NAS.

select if you want to do iSCSI or NFS.

ok, I am getting a timeout for each parameter.
I selected the wrong connector and then changed it to the correct one that had 169.x.x.x. ip address as the correct one.
I plugged in my values and I get a timeout

You'll have to expand on this, haven't got a clue, what you are talking about, but 169.x.x.x. ip address, is not really an IP Address, it's a lookback address, and it will not get you anywhere, with network traffic.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Bummer, I clicked on "return" to many times and know wants me to log into the host.
it says to use a specifi ip address but that does not work.
looks like I am going to have to re-insall again
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
did you give it an IP address, or have DHCP on your LAN ?

otherwise re-install, and note the IP Address.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
I gave it an ip address but it kept telling me it failed to configure and it time out error message.
then was to reconfigure-
I said no.
then it told me to use the ip I assisgned it and that I can test it by pinging from an external host but that did not work.
I decided to do a re-install
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I think re-install is best....
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Hello Andrew, I am back in the office today after taking a week off to relax with the family.
I just did a re-install after initializing two new SSDs and use the software nexentastor to use them as for installation.
I went through the install process.
After install I get the page where it displays the nic ports, one of them #igp0 had a dhcp default value. I changed it to static and gave it a static IP not being utilized/off the IP pool of DHCP.
I was then asked to enter the mask, names server 1 , nameserver 2, as well as the gateway.
I entered those values but when it cycles through it states that the gateway, DNS1 and DNS2 = timeout

On my dns I manually entered an "a" record for the host, but still I am unable to stop getting a "timeout" on them when I run "setup appliance init" command.

please advice if I am missing some steps. the documentation is not reader friendly.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew, if I do a "nslookup" under the ip address I get the host name, if I reverse it, I get the IP address.
If I ping the IP address I get: "destination host unreachable"
If I ping the host name I get : "destination host unreachable"

If I open an URL and enter the "https://x.x.x.x:8457" it states "this page can not be displayed"
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Ok, I found what my error was.
I had the wrong cable connected to the switch from the rd630.
I am now upto Step#3: Disks

It sees my RAID1 volume where nexentastor is installed, but it does not see the other 4 drives that I do have installed.
I believe the tech from nexenta said that I can place the drives in and the software would initialize them when I go into the portal.
But this section does not sees the disks.
I wonder if I have to initialize them myself through the rd630 raid setup screen?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
This would indiciate that the OS, is not detecting the disks, because of the RAID controller, and the RAID controller is not in JBOD mode.

e.g. the RAID controller just creates RAID arrays and presents them to the OS.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
How do I turn it into a jbod mode?
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
trying to figure out how to restrt the server without hitting the power off button so I can jbod the raid controller.
is it safe to power off manually?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
That very much depends on the support of the storage controller, they either support RAID or standard SCSI (JBOD).

You could try creating the RAID set in the storage controller, but this then defeats the purpose of using ZFS RAID.

But it's worth a try, because otherwise you are stuck.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Going to call Lenovo to find out why I can not get into BIOS to change the raid to JBOD.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Where is the storage controller?
the card is: lsi megaraid sas 9260-bi

Lenovo technician said it does not support jbod.

does that mean I have to initialize every ssd drive before inserting into the rd630?

what happens if I have a drive failure, does that mean I have to power down rd630 to get into bios raid setup to initialize and add to array.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
It does not matter, because the storage controller is in RAID mode, and expecting to build RAID arrays.

I believe with LSI controllers, you can turn them into JBOD, or SCSI cards, and disabling RAID by flashing with different firmware, but this may not be a supported method by your vendor.

Try creating RAID sets, and see if the OS can use them.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew, I will try that then after I get my other SSDs.
I used two for the OS, and then I placed four in there.
I will need another 3 to complete the RAID set of 7 SSDs.

The way the software works and the RD630, my concern is, what happens if one of my drives goes bad and I have to replace it. Will the system recognize the new drive when I put it in and rebuild the drive or accept it in it's RAID6 config.

Right now for the software to recognize the drive, I have to go into RAID software and initialize the drives and put them in an array.
I hope that this is not the case everytime a drive goes bad, for me to power down the system to get into the WEB-BIOS for the RAID to initialize ,add to group, and then put them in a span array.

I hope the software can do it itself, once it has it raid setup on the software.

Is there a way to initialize a drive before putting it in the RD630. I tried doing the format thing but different options and I do not want to do trial and error.

Is there a faster and easier alternative to prep a new drive for NexentaStor without having to do restart the RD630?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Usually you do not use any hardware RAID controller with NexentaStor, RAID is all handled in software, e.g. NexentaStor OS, including the re-build.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew, I tried to add the new drives but NexentaStor did not recognize it.
I had to go through the process of using the raid of the rd630 to initialize it.
In the process it stripped away my original RAID1 that had the NexentaStor on it.

Now I have to re-install it next week.

Why is it that the Nexenta does not recognize the drives?

How would I go about to initialize them all without having to power down and power up the rd640 to initialize my SSDs?

Is there a method without using the RD630 to initialize any disk I have?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Why is it that the Nexenta does not recognize the drives?

Storage Controller.

Is there a method without using the RD630 to initialize any disk I have?

Replace or add a different storage controller.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Do u have a recommendation for a suitable storage controller for the rd630?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
An LSI SAS/SATA interface card, e.g. LSI SAS 9211-8i Host Bus Adapter

but it would be wise, to check with Lenovo, what storage controllers are compatible, which support a Non-RAID function.

You can also read this article

http://www.servethehome.com/ibm-serveraid-m1015-part-4/

I'm not suggesting you do this with your current LSI Mega RAID card, unless you are familiar with the process.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Good morning Andrew, the RAID controller we have installed in the rd630 is: LSI MegaRAID SAS 9260-8i.
Is it possible to disable the RAID function of the controller card that you may be aware of?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, it's in RAID mode.

It is possible, see the article I posted. But please not if you are not aware of the process, you can damage your card with incorrect firmware.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew, the article talks about the 9240 model not the 9260 model.
Does it apply to it as well?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, you just need to get the non RAID firmware.

I recommend getting another LSI SCSI card to "play" with, so you do not brick your only storage RAID controller.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
maybe I should just buy the 9211 card instead?
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew, I actually have two spare 8240-8i cards.

I wonder maybe I should just purchase the 9211 card instead of twinkering around.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
We use 9211-8i cards.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew, just spoke to Tech support for LSI.
They informed me that the 9240-8i supports JBOD.
They gave me instructions on how to configure it.
They said,
1) Power on device
2) CTRL H
3) Drive Menu
4) Click on one drive
5) Choose properties
6) Make JBOD
7) Click "next" to go to the next drive.

This will make all the ports JBOD, then the software would recognize it and no need to set each drive manually with a power down.
I will switch out my cards and let you know how it went.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
In a previous post http:#a40803655

it was noted:-

http:#a40803630
Going to call Lenovo to find out why I can not get into BIOS to change the raid to JBOD.

http:#a40803655
Lenovo technician said it does not support jbod.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew,

I just powered up the rd630 with the LSI 9240-8i controller, it gave me the option to configure for jbod.
I did that and then restarted the system.
But before that, I noticed I placed 16 drives inside but only 15 came up in the menu to configure into jbod?
Would you be familiar why only 15 drives (0-14) appeared versus 16 drives (0-15)?
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Hello Andrew, I created my first volume with 7 SSDs (RAID 6) in the NexentaStor.
The next step, what type of volume should it be for VMware to run my desktops?
Should it be CIFS?
I am uncertain about this part.
I only had 12 SSDs, so I will create the next volume when I get more SSDs.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
NFS or iSCSI.

CIFS is for Windows Shares.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew,
Regarding "record size" is it referring to the block size of a VMFS datastore?
VMware uses 1MB, but the options here are 512, 1K, 2K, 4K, 8K, 16K, 32K, 64K, 128K.
I am wondering should I use 8K for block size, which would be better in performance between NexentStor and VMware?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Use the default.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
I skipped the iSCSI section so I can do it later after I figure out how to set up my switch.
I need to create a group in it to allocate the ports. I figure I keep that traffic separate from the other traffic.
But makes me wonder since this will only house VMs, is there a need to separate the traffic?
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Ok,
I choose the "default" settings for creating the folder.
 I am in step#5, I have to select from:
cifs
nfs
ftp
rsync
index,

I do not see iSCSI.
Should I first have created the iSCSI so it will be visible as an option?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
nfs
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew, should I create a new ticket for further help?
This way I can assign you the points for the earlier assistance.
The new post can help me with final config
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, it might be easier, and other experts will get on the radar.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew is a great asset. His comments been very helpful.
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j_ramesesInfo Sys MngrAuthor Commented:
Andrew, here is the item# for the next post:
ID: 28687823
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