I have an ESX3 server with locally attached storage.
Is there a best practise for storing ISO files? I am planning to keep them separate datastore. Should the ISO datastore be formatted as VMFS3?
You should format the the partition as VMFS so that you can browse to it when you edit the settings for a VM, or otherwise you have to create a partition and mount it as /vmimages to access it.
On this page there are some instructions for storing your ISO images on a Windows servers if you want an alternative.
You can store them on your local storage VMFS datastore, I just create a ISO directory and out them there then the VM's can map to them. You can also map to a Windows Server to store them there.
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How do I create a ISO mount point that points to a Windows Server for storing ISO files for my VMs? You can create a mount point inside /vmimages so your VMs can access ISO files when needed. You could just create a directory on your VMFS volume and copy them there but this takes valuable disk space away from the ESX server. You can also use this technique to create other mount points on the ESX server if you need to copy files from a Windows server to or from it for patches and other things.
First you will have to open the firewall port in ESX by typing in the service console esxcfg-firewall -e smbClient. This opens outbound TCP ports 137 139 and 445.
Next make sure the Local Security Policy on the Windows Server you are going to map to has the following settings under Security options. If you do not do this you may get a Stale NFS Handle or Permission denied error when trying to mount.
o Microsoft network client - digitally sign communications (always) DISABLED
o Microsoft network client - digitally sign communications (if server agrees) DISABLED
o Microsoft network server - digitally sign communications (always) DISABLED
o Microsoft network server - digitally sign communications (if server agrees) DISABLED
Next type cd /vmimages and then mkdir ISO
Next type mount -t smbfs -o username= 0 0
o Edit /etc/rc.local using Nano or Vi
o Add the following line to the bottom of the file mount a
How do I create a NFS volume on a Windows Server to use for storing ISO files for my VMs? You can do this if you have Windows 2003 Server R2 which has built-in NFS Services
On the Windows 2003 Server make sure Microsoft Services for NFS in installed. If not you need to add it under Add/Remove Programs, Windows Components, Other Network File and Print Services
Next go to folder you want to share and right-click on it and select Properties
Click on the NFS Sharing tab and select Share this Folder
Enter a Share Name, check Anonymous Access and make sure the UID and GID are both -2
In VirtualCenter, select your ESX server and click the Configuration tab and then select Storage
Click on Add Storage and select Network File System as the storage type
Enter the Windows Server name, the folder (share) name and a descriptive Datastore Name
Once it finishes the configuration you can now map your VMs CD-ROM devices to this new VMFS volume
We use a LUN on the SAN that all ESX servers have access it. Quick and simple.
This is an excerpt from our ESX Host build document - hope this helps you out.
By default, virtual centers looks at the /vmimages partition when you try to mount an .iso image from Virtual Center. However, we want the .iso images stored on the SAN so we can maintain a single copy at each site. To do this, we will create an iso_images directory on a VMFS-3 partition and then create a symbolic link within the /vmimages ext-3 partition. The result will be a directory structure that looks like this:
In reality, the iso_images directory will really be pointing to the VMFS-3 directory.
Creating the iso_images directory in /vmfs/volumes//iso_images
After you copy it change directory to /vmimages/iso_images
If you see the file, you did things correctly. Delete the file.