I have an IBM Blade HS22 and an Iomega NAS ix4-200r. I need to boot the ESX off the iSCSI target. Is it possible to do so, if my NAS is not in the IO devices HCL.
Well thats because it was not bought with a local storage. We read the specs on the blade that it was able to boot off iSCSI and since the NAS was iSCSI ready we believe it would work. The balde detects the iSCSI partition fine but i i boot off the ESX CD, it does not detect the iSCSI target, so i was thinking if I would be able to append the boot up process for it to be able to detect the NAS...Any idea if it possible?
Any luck with your setup? I've come to the conclusion with what I've read and with my own lack of success, that if you don't have an iSCSI HBA that is supported by ESX, then you won't be booting it from SAN or NAS. I've got some broadcom NICs that support booting from SAN. Yet when I configure them to do so, the ESX installation can't see the target LUN. When I install ESX to local storage and bring up the Configuration in vCenter, it doesn't show the NICs as a Hardware iSCSI Adapter. I'm thinking that if ESX can't recognize your NIC card as a Hardware iSCSI Adapter, then it can't use it to boot from SAN.
Is this thinking correct?
NIC - is network interface card, while SCSI HBA is another thing. There is no iSCSI NICs at all. To boot from SAN you need both or software target.
StarWind Software R&D
Can an iSCSI HBA be used as a NIC? i.e, pass through service console, VM traffic, and such? Or it it limited to iSCSI traffic?
To clarify, are the following statements correct? To boot ESX from a SAN, you need an iSCSI HBA and an iSCSI target. The HBA will show up under Configuration as an "iSCSI Hardware Adapter". You cannot use the "iSCSI Software Adapter" to boot ESX from SAN. You cannot use a NIC, whether it is multifunction or not, to boot from SAN.
Just to clarify: NIC is network adapter, which can pass throught all kind of traffic. iSCSI is protocol that incapsulate SCSI commands for disks into TCP/IP packets, therefore all what iSCSI HBA does - takes this commands out and put`em in TCP/IP traffic, while iSCSI target is hard disk. iSCSI targets are connected directly HBA. Also are available software iSCSI targets (StarWind, Datacore, LeftHand, etc.). ISCSI HBA are limited only to iSCSI traffic and must be connected to separated port on NIC. For best perfomance of iSCSI it`s you should use a VLAN for it. For booting ESX you can use either HBA, as software targets. You got write: ESX will see iSCSI adapters, and in storage section you will see disks (LUNs) dedicated for this device. You can use only NIC to boot ESX if you use software iSCSI.
StarWind Software R&D
I was looking at Intel iSCSI boot rom yesterday but haven't got a chance to try it out.
Basically for iscsi boot to work, you need 2 things:
1. iscsi boot option rom on nic (all non-onboard Intel pci-e gigabit nic can be flashed, motherborad manufacturer may not have option rom for onboard nic)
With the option rom in place, you can configure iqn, target, etc in the option rom to tell it what target to connect during boot.
2. OS iscsi initiator driver needs to support iscsi boot (not sure if software initiator driver in ESX 4 supports it)
For IBM blades, I believe they use broadcom nic which also has iscsi boot rom.
You can take a loot at Intel site to understand how iscsi boot for regualr nic works. http://www.intel.com/network/connectivity/products/iscsiboot.htm
Yes can be, and ESX (not ESXi) can be installed and booted from SAN. How to boot from SAN. This articel is about ESX 3.5, but I do not think that there was changed really a lot.
StarWind Software R&D
I am not sure if you have found a fix for this, but wanted to post a possible resolution.
We use the IBM Blades with Lefthand iSCSI storage. We use the pass through modules on the Blade chassis. But you do need to buy the expansion card for the blade in order to use iSCSI. The part number for the HS22 blades is 44W4477.
Once this is in, when you install vSphere, it sees the iSCSI storage and allows you to install to it for boot.
Personal note: I install to a local drive for vSphere and put the VMs on the storage. Reinstalling vSphere is quick. But that is just my personal preference.
Hope this helps.