VMware Storage Configuration Using iSCSI SAN

Hi Friends,

As you know already a Datastore is a place where we can store the virtual machine files. And these Datastore's can be implemented using FC SAN, iSCSI SAN and NFS options. All these options are comes under shared storage, that means storage implemented using these technologies can be shared by multiple hosts. Now i want to tell you something about configuring iSCSI SAN for VMware Datastore's. Let me know in the comments, if anything  which is not understandable. So that i will post in clear steps. Thanks a lot for coming to my blog.

Many of the features of VMware ESX Server and VMware Virtual Infrastructure will be utilized only when the shared storage available. That applies to all the "cool" features like vMotion, VMHA and DRS etc. A fiber channel (FC) SAN can easily cost as much as a small house and enterprise iSCSI equipment may cost half of that. But for enterprises iSCSI is not recommendable as it does not support high speeds when connected between long distances.

So with the knowledge of Openfiler, you can create a DEMO setup of iSCSI storage for ESX Server. Here in our scenario the Openfiler system is acting as iSCSI Storage Box. For our demo setup we are allocating 100GB HDD for this storage box to create and assign the LUN's to the ESX Server.


Configuring iSCSI SAN for ESX Server. Please see the below video before going to read the concept (vSphere is used in this video).


One ESX Server and One Storage Box (Openfiler), for this scenario i am using VMWare workstation to setup these machines as Virtual. After installing both virtual machines need to check the connectivity between them first. If everything goes fine need to move to the next step i.e Configuring the storage and accessing it from ESX server end.

Steps to Connect VMware ESX to an iSCSI Server (OpenFiler)

In this case i am using ESX Server 3.5 inside the VMware Workstation. If you install the evaluation version you will get 60days of ESX server with iSCSI future enabled and Openfiler is an opensource software.

Step 1 - Check the iSCSI feature is enabled or not by navigating to the configuration tab and selecting Storage options. If it not enabled already, enable it.

imageStep 2 - Add the additional Networking Adaptor, why because we need to segregate the iSCSI traffic from the regular traffic. In other words, if we allocate a separate network adaptor for Storage traffic we will get faster performance and if in case of regular network failure also the storage traffic will

remain connected with the ESX server. To make this separation go to the network adaptor  properties and need to enable VMKernel Port as shown in the figure below.

 Step 3 - Open a port on your Firewall for iSCSI, on VMware ESX 3.5 configuration tab, go to Security Profile option and there you need to open a port in your security profile (your firewall) for iSCSI to function.



Step 4 - Configure your Storage Adaptors, Go to the Configuration tab, then to Storage Adaptors. Your adaptor may be called vmhba32 (usually iSCSI number starts from 32) or, in my case, it is called the iSCSI Software Adaptor. Select that adaptor, then click Properties.

Click on the Configure button, then check  Enable, then click OK, then Close. Your adaptor will be modified and you should see  Completed in your Recent Tasks, when done. image

Now, go back into the Properties for the adaptor and click on the Dynamic Discovery tab. Choose to  Add, and new Target. Enter the IP address of the OpenFiler iSCSI server and click OK.

Your adaptor will be modified and you should see Completed in your Recent Tasks, when done.

Now, click Rescan, and rescan for new Targets. When done, you should see that your iSCSI adaptor now has 1 Target (the image OpenFiler server), like this:

Step 5 - Verify that you have access to the new iSCSI Storage array

To verify that you can use the new iSCSI SAN volume, you should add a VMFS volume on it by going to the storage section, then clicking Add Storage. Here is what the 100GB array will look like with a VMFS volume on it:


Thanks for reading content in my blog. Some of the points and pictures are taken from petri.co.il.

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  1. Nice blog. Please send vsphere 5 version of your blog.


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