Oli_L
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

iSCSI target solution

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We are currently in a test phase of installing and configuring esx 3.0.1 infrastruture. Our current SAN solution does not support iSCSI which is the intented solution for our storage and therefore we have to upgrade our SAN. This will take a couple of months as the upgrade is fairly complex

Anyway, in the interim I need to set up a temporary iSCSI target to demonstrate HA DRS VMotion etc so we can plan what will work for us after our SAN upgrade

can anyone recommend a supported (if possible) iSCSI target solution.

We have a netware environment - I have seen the following solutions - can anyone say whether they have had any luck working with these..

Novell iSCSI for netware

iSCSI on Linux

Windows 2003 Enterprise R2 release

It will only be a temporary solutions for say 3 months but I would like any suggestions people may have

TIA

Oli

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Paul_Lalonde
Commander
Commander

If you're looking for a low-cost solution that will perform well and allow you to demonstrate a complete proof-of-concept of iSCSI, check out Wasabi Systems and their Storage Builder product:

http://www.storagebuilder.com

They have an \*excellent* iSCSI solution that has just passed VMware certification. I have first-hand experience with it and it is the best solution in its class.

Storage Builder comes on a DOM (Disk on Module) that plugs right into the IDE port of your server. It's a commercial grade NetBSD environment that runs on commodity hardware.

Paul

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51 Replies
VirtualKenneth
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

I would take a look at www.freenas.com it also supports iSCSI and I hear a lot of good stories about it. (very easy setup)

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Paul_Lalonde
Commander
Commander

The NetWare iSCSI Target (running on 6.0 or 6.5) does not support SCSI reservations, so unfortunately it won't work in an ESX environment. Tried it Smiley Sad and Novell tech support confirmed it.

I would highly recommend you use a NAS solution for the short-term. Any *nix distro should be capable of providing a decent NFSv3 over TCP/IP daemon, and this is really all you need.

There is the iSCSI Enterprise Target project (on Linux) but I'm not sure I would recommend it for production use just yet.

Paul

Oli_L
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Thanks for your replies... I didn't get much luck with www.freenas.com but I think the NAS storage solution would be my best bet in the short term, especially whilst we're only in a pilot stage. I've read that ESX Server supports NFS Version 3 over TCP only so need to get the right equipment for the job.

Could you please expand on *nix distro? Any recommendations on what NAS storage to buy?

I understand Windows 2003 Enterprise R2 release can act as a iSCSI target - it has be suggested to use this to become familiar with iSCSI technolocy. Have you any thoughts on using Windows 2003 Enterprise R2? And more importantly is it supported by VMWare?

I have reasons not to use Netware iSCSI due to SCSI reservation issues and Linux is not up for production which is a fair point so need to work out whether Win Ent 2k3 R2 would do the job? Any comments?

As always TIA

Oli

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VirtualKenneth
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Just for my curiosity, why didn't you get any luck with freenas?

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Paul_Lalonde
Commander
Commander

If you're looking for a low-cost solution that will perform well and allow you to demonstrate a complete proof-of-concept of iSCSI, check out Wasabi Systems and their Storage Builder product:

http://www.storagebuilder.com

They have an \*excellent* iSCSI solution that has just passed VMware certification. I have first-hand experience with it and it is the best solution in its class.

Storage Builder comes on a DOM (Disk on Module) that plugs right into the IDE port of your server. It's a commercial grade NetBSD environment that runs on commodity hardware.

Paul

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oreeh
Immortal
Immortal

I've read that ESX Server supports NFS Version 3 over TCP

only so need to get the right equipment for the job.

You can use Microsoft Services for Unix (if you're a Windows shop - free to download) for NFS or any newer Unix/Linux distribution.

Could you please expand on *nix distro?

IET (ISCSI Enterprise Target) works with ESX (though not officially supported), but you have to make sure that you use at least revision 75 from the repository.

You should avoid RedHat based (Fedora,CentOS) Linux distributions with IET.

If you want t use NFS with Linux as the storage server the distribution really doesn't matter (just choose what you're familiar with).

If you have some BSD guys at hand, I recommend FreeBSD for NFS storage (more stable and faster).

If you don't have the need for VMotion or shared storage you can use Openfiler too.

Openfiler uses an older IET version (reserve/release not implemented).

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andrew_hald
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

I would recommend OpenFiler.

http://www.openfiler.com/

Very robust, easy to maintain, comes as a virtual appliance.

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riffraff
Contributor
Contributor

A couple of years ago I tested iscsi with a windows 2000 pro guest under gsx, and a linux iscsi target, also under gsx. I believe I used http://linux-iscsi.sourceforge.net/. I successfully mounted an iscsi partition. I'm not sure how it would work under esx, but I didn't have any problem under gsx.

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doubleH
Expert
Expert

i would 2nd openfiler. i am currently doing a proof of concept in a test enviroment for the exact same reasons as you and have it working with no issues.

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oreeh
Immortal
Immortal

Not as stable and completely implemented as IET (only my personal experience and opinion)

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dsanders
Expert
Expert

I think I had read that some of the iSCSI targets did not properly handle locking and therefore should be avoided. Am I crazy and / or does anyone know if the latest version of OpenFiler or FreeNAS have addressed this? Thanks,

David

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oreeh
Immortal
Immortal

Neither the latest version of FreeNAS nor Openfiler addressed this.

That's why I explicitly mentioned IET revision 75 and up. This version fixes this (besides another workaround for ESX).

Message was edited by:

oreeh

Regarding IET and ESX take a look here http://www.vmware.com/community/thread.jspa?threadID=71294

and here http://www.vmware.com/community/thread.jspa?messageID=482260&#482260

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Oli_L
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

firstly Vliegenmepper - I will anser your last post. I was at the time more insterested in NAS but after reading these posts I have some interesting options that means I will also consider www.freenas.com

I'm definately going to look at openfiler as I'm interested to see what it will offer - never heard of it so good to look into. However reading that iSCSI targets did not properly handle locking and therefore should be avoided worries me - therefore if IET (ISCSI Enterprise Target) works with ESX 3.0.1 then that could be a better option - my linux guru is away for 10 days so I'll have to stump that one...

I'm gonna try SLES10 - we are a novell house anyway so should be ok using their eval (60 days trial) - it's comes with iSCSI Target software so I'll see how it goes - although i did read the thread posted earlier and it looks like Larry ran into problems Smiley Wink

ALSO i will look at this

http://www.storagebuilder.com/docs/WSB_VMWare_Appnote.pdf

great help - many thanks - I'll keep you updated and will let you know when this post has been answered

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Oli_L
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Storage Builder comes on a DOM (Disk on Module) that plugs right into the IDE port of your server. It's a commercial grade NetBSD environment that runs on commodity hardware.

OK - so a DOM plugs into the IDE port on me iSCSI target server which in turn connects to my array ?

What OS do i need to run on the iSCSI target server?

Looks v interesting! Could be my solution!

Ta

Message was edited by:

Oli L

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atdude
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I have had good luck with the free product below:

http://www.nimbusdata.com/products/mysan/mysan.htm

I allows you to configure a Windows 2003 installation as an iSCSI target. I don't think that it is supported by VMware, but it is a free solution and it works for me.

Hope this helps.

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Paul_Lalonde
Commander
Commander

MySAN doesn't support SCSI RESERVE / RELEASE commands, and you won't get passed formatting the VMFS volume before you get an "unable to find filesystem" error in the VI Client.

I've spoken to one of the product managers at Nimdus and they are hoping to integrate SCSI reservation support in time for the release version of MySAN.

Paul

Paul_Lalonde
Commander
Commander

Here's how it works: you take standard commodity server hardware, add a supported RAID controller (ie. 3Ware / AMCC), load it up with disks, and the Storage Builder product boots up and provides iSCSI target capability so you can carve up your storage into iSCSI LUNs.

There's no need for an operating system. The DOM is a self-contained OS that boots into a fully web-managed GUI where you can partition drive array space, configure iSCSI access control, create LUNs, etc.

It's pretty nifty. Contact Wasabi to arrange for a product evaluation. You won't be disappointed.

Paul

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oreeh
Immortal
Immortal

If you try SLES10 with IET make sure to use the 2.6.19 kernel from www.kernel.org and compile IET yourself with the sources from the repository.

Otherwise you might run into serious trouble.

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Oli_L
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

well i've just found out that storagebuilder only supports SATA and SATA II disks and not SCSI which is what we have.

Otherwise it looked like a great product

Still on the case!

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