How do you emulate disk drive that are in disk canister in vSphere

Stan J
Stan J used Ask the Experts™
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In VMware, is there a way to emulate disk drives that reside in a canister that connects to the back of an ESXi Server?

We have some VMs on a 6.0 vSphere system that accesses a real canister of disk attached to an ESXi Server.  I think RDM is used. We do not have the canister and cannot obtain one or attach it to our ESXi Server

Is there a way to emulate the disk drive connection in VMware?

Possibly by using datastores, shared drives, or even a USB device (RDM) ?

thanks
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Top Expert 2014

Commented:
By canister do you mean an enclosure / shelf? If so then they are no different than normal internal disks, generally connected to a RAID controller although a dumb HBA may be used instead.
Stan JVirtualization Engineer

Author

Commented:
From what i can tell, it is not a enclosure/shelf as we typically think of a SAN.
It plugs in an can be moved.  The drives are removable and use RDM to the VMs on the ESXi.

We have the VMs, but need to emulate the disk in our environment in some manner so the VMs have something to access.
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
Sounds like a SAS or SATA enclosure, can't tell from your description though, Something like this maybe?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
You can create a SATA RDM, but it's not supported.

e.g. take any SATA or SAS disk on the BUS, and create direct access to it, e.g. RDM this will emulate it.

BUT this is NOT SUPPORTED in any way, and your milegage may vary, e.g. it does not work as expected or at all.

generally the crackers, tweakers, hackers use it to direct access a disk for "performance!"

I wrote an EE article here, many years ago...

HOW TO: Add Local Storage (e.g. a SATA disk) as a Raw Disk Mapping (RDM) or Mapped RAW LUN to a virtual machine hosted on ESXi
Stan JVirtualization Engineer

Author

Commented:
thanks for this info,,,

we will take a look,,

without the real canister to consider, we don't have many options to emulate the disk in the canister
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
if it’s RAW mapping you need it can be kind of emulated you just need a disk of X size present to VM as RDM
Stan JVirtualization Engineer

Author

Commented:
when you say,,,,,"..you just need a disk of X size present to VM as RDM.."

is this what you are describing in the paper?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
The article shows you how to add this RAW disk to a VM.

What do you need to emulate ?

1. Storage of size X attached direct to a VM ? (e.g. RAW) instead of actually using a VMDK.

or

2. Actually emulate a storage enclosure with X disks - for that you'll need some sort of hardware. Because 4 disks of 2TB, in an enclosure when it's presented to ESXi as a JBOD is just 8TB.

So what need to be tested and emulated....?

You could use the NetApp Simulator, which is a NetApp Filer simulator on ESXi, this would allow you to use your ESXi storage, you can then add disks, into the NAS, and then present them to ESXi has an RDM.

If you do not have access you could build a NAS (virtualy) or use Starwind iSCSI software to do the same.
Stan JVirtualization Engineer

Author

Commented:
the canister disks have some types  of data in zip or tar files.
the VMs we have on ESXi need to access these types of data so we can test software residing on the VMs
for this first go around, we first want to have the VMs start and access the data.

I will take a look at the  NetApp Simulator, which is a NetApp Filer simulator on ESXi.

I have played with StarWinds SAN software a while back and will also take a look at it

i will report back after investigating these,,,may be a week or two
Top Expert 2016

Commented:
what in the world is a canister drive?  is it something like this? The Panasonic 1 TB Hard Drive with Canister is suitable for use with the WJ-HD716 and WJ-HD616 Digital Disk Recorders. It easily fits in the HDD bay slots inside the front cover of the WJ-HDE400 storage extension unit. that connects to a WJ-ND400 NVR Series  (DVR/NVR)  The drives use RAID5/6 before they are formatted and you can view the files via SMB and other protocols DataSheet_WJ-ND400.pdf
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
in that case all can be done as an RDM, either direct with iSCSI or SATA.
Stan JVirtualization Engineer

Author

Commented:
It is not like any of the WJ units.

The customer is using RDM for their disk drive mapping from the disk in the canister to the ESXi

We don't have their canister or disk.  

I will look at what Andrew suggested ,,,hopefully in the next week or so as I am tied up and out of the office some
Stan JVirtualization Engineer

Author

Commented:
I will be looking at NetAPP Filer,,,

However, StarWinds would require additional internal disk drives, if I recall,
  and we don't have the ability to add any drives at this time to our ESXi host.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
create a virtual server for Starwind!
Stan JVirtualization Engineer

Author

Commented:
Interesting ,,
  "create a virtual server for Starwind!"

Looks like a nested virtual SAN Setup ?
So, you are saying create something like a Windows 2019 Server VM with multiple Drives  and use StarWind to set  it up to share the drives as storage ?
Stan JVirtualization Engineer

Author

Commented:
Pulled down the simulator,,,below is from site.
Is this the correct software that I can try  to replicate a canister disk?

Overview:
Simulate ONTAP 8.x and 9.x is a virtual simulator of the ONTAP software.
You can run the virtual simulator on a Windows or Mac system.
Simulate ONTAP 8.x and 9.x runs in a VMware virtual machine.

Looks like only v9.5P6 supports ESXi and not the new 9.6
VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017
Commented:
That's the NetApp Simulator.
Stan JVirtualization Engineer

Author

Commented:
I will have to sift through the install guide to see where to begin,,,

in order to add disks to the simulated NAS and then present them to ESXi has an RDM.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Correct, it's going to be a long project, you will need to configure iSCSI both on ESXi and the NetApp Simulator, and then present the RDM.

The setup of NetApp Filer Simulator will require a new question if you have issues.
Stan JVirtualization Engineer

Author

Commented:
ok,,are there any video's that may help in this endeavor?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j23thgjgt9c

I've now watched this so, not sure how relevant.
Stan JVirtualization Engineer

Author

Commented:
Ok,,
Interesting o he download

I downloaded vsim version vsim-esx-DOT9.5P6-cm_nodar.ova

The checksum download, MD5Checksums_9.5P6.txt, has listed:

vsim-esx-DOT9.5P6-cm.ova  1b498410991e9ca41e93b496f441491b

vsim-netapp-DOT9.5P6-cm_nodar.ova  1ce11d4f357d45383dd433a607758016


I do not see  a vsim version vsim-esx-DOT9.5P6-cm_nodar.ova

Is this a typo in the MD5Checksums_9.5P6.txt file?

Should the checksum file name be vsim-esx-DOT9.5P6-cm.ova  instead of vsim-esx-DOT9.5P6-cm_nodar.ova?

thanks
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
I'm afraid your question is now going off topic.

I believe the original question "How do you emulate disk drive that are in disk canister in vSphere" has been answered by myself and andyalder, please select solutions and award points.

Please post a new question on "How to setup NetApp Simulator" and myself or other Experts will be glad to assist.
Stan JVirtualization Engineer

Author

Commented:
ok,

What option awards points on the forum?  

I only see Yes this is my solution,, No but it is helpful, No Collapse
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
That will do it, Yes this is my solution. (and that Accepts the solution, and Awards points).
Stan JVirtualization Engineer

Author

Commented:
thanks for the help.,,, i was not asked to award points ...

I only saw,,,,You marked this as a solution
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
When you select a solution it Awards points.
Stan JVirtualization Engineer

Author

Commented:
ok,,,i will start down the path of the path of NetApp Sim,,

I will post accordingly as i work through it

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