Network Administrator Knowledgebase

May 15 2008   1:54AM GMT

iSCSI in VMWare ESX 3



Posted by: Michael Khanin
Tags:
Virtualization

iSCSI has become a very popular way of having shared storage among several physical or virtual computers. The benefits of shared storage are even greater when combined with the abilities of VMWare such as VMotion, High Availability and Distributed Resource Scheduler.

Below are the basic (and I do emphasize basic) to configuring iSCSI storage with VMWare 3.0. Like any shared storage infrastructure there are a number of possible methods and structures that could change the way that iSCSI is installed and used.

Step 1 – Add in extra Service Console and iSCSI VMKernal
The service console and VMKernal need to be on the same physical NIC on the ESX server. The IP’s for these services need to be on the same subnet as the iSCSI storage device. The pictures below outline the end-result if your iSCSI VLAN were to be 192.168.4.0/24. Note that the service console that you is shown below is the second and therefore additional service console. The original stays unchanged.

Sample Configuration Page

Sample End Result

Step 2 – Allow iSCSI traffic through the firewall
The Software iSCSI Client for ESX needs to be allowed through the firewall which is located under the security profile section. If you don’t do this then you will not be able to use the service. I found this interface “tricky” to use. Sometimes I would make changes and they wouldn’t take effect until the server was rebooted.

Step 3 – Enable Software Initiator Properties
The iSCSI storage adapter needs to be configured. Find the newly created iSCSI Software Adapter on the Storage Adapters tab you will need to:

  1. Open the properties
  2. Configure and subsequently enable the iSCSI Initiator
  3. On the Dynamic Discovery tab you can add in the iSCSI server IP


Step 4 – Create iSCSI targert on iSCSI device
This will depend on your iSCSI hardware as to how you do this. Each manufacturer has their own way of doing this.

Step 5 – Add LUN to target

Links:
VMWare’s design guide for iSCSI – short but good: http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vi3_iscsi_cfg.pdf
Really good blog post by David Davis about VMWare and iSCSI:

http://www.petri.co.il/connect-vmware-esx-server-iscsi-san-openflier.htm

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