russ_elliott
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Netgear Stora as ESXi 4.0 Datastore?

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Hi

I was wondering if anyone has had any success using the Stora as a datastore for ESXi. I tried openfiler with no success for 2 weeks so went and got a Stora without doing the research. Thought it would be good to go since it was network attached. I got it and saw that it is 'not quite' what I expected. Can anyone give an ESXi newbie a hands up?

If this is the wrong area to ask please point me in the right direction and I will go post there.

Thanks in advance

Russ

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Jackobli
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Just for a test, if you are willing to try linux, you could go without affecting an installed other os, like that:

  • Download Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Desktop

  • Burn it to a CD

  • Boot the CD into the Desktop (use option "Try Ubuntu 10.04 LTS" instead of "Install...")

  • Attach the external disk, it will show up as an icon on the Desktop

  • use the package manager to download and install (it's working like an install, even if it does not write permanently) nfs-server (using the shell, that would go like "sudo apt-get install nfs-server)

  • The package nfs-server will be downloaded, installed and started

  • Using the shell, you issue "mount" to see, where the USB-Disk has been mounted (something like /media/LabelOfTheDisk)

  • issue "ifconfig eth0" to see the IP-Address of your Ubuntu (should be using DHCP).

  • Using the shell again, you have to edit the file /etc/exports (like "sudo nano /etc/exports)

  • add the following line "/media/LabelOfTheDisk IPAddressOfESXi(rw, no_root_squash,sync,no_subtree_check)"

  • CTRL+X ends nano, use "Y" to save

  • issue "sudo /etc/init.d/nfs-kernel-server reload" to load the edited /etc/exports

  • now, you should be able to use the nfs-server from within your ESXi (add datastore, NFS, Server="IP of Ubuntu", folder="/media/LabelOfTheDisk"

Going like this, you should be able to test your setup. This is a test, the performance will be low as at least the mounted disk is more often flushed. The disk may be NTFS or vFAT which are not best for linux.

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Jackobli
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Hello and welcome to the VMware ESXi community forum.

NAS is not NAS Smiley Sad

You are looking for something that can talk NFS or iSCSI (I'd prefer NFS).

I checked that Stora but did not find any useful technical data. But I assume, it's CIFS only device. So you can't use it for ESXi.

What was the problem with Openfiler? It should work (use NFS and allow root to use and write).

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russ_elliott
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Contributor

Thats what I thought Jackobli Smiley Sad Oh well... Sure I can find some use for it or maybe return and get a ReadyNAS.. Now just have to make sure I get the correct one. I was looking at a 2110 but it wasnt on the compatible list for ESXi so not sure I want to take the risk again.

As to Openfiler, have vmWare server installed on a windows 7 box. Created the Openfiler there and attached the storage I wanted to share (1TB USB). Set up the iSCSI and so on. Have another server that I boot up with a ESXi on a USB thumb drive. No matter what I have tried, when I go to connect and create the datastore, using vSphere, it doesnt connect, and if it does (I believe I was able to get it to connect once) it still doesnt see the shared space I created.

I've attempted to follow this set of instructions:

http://www.vladan.fr/how-to-configure-openfiler-iscsi-storage-for-use-with-vmware-esx/

and these:

http://www.petri.co.il/use-openfiler-as-free-vmware-esx-san-server.htm

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

I say "attempt" because although I followed them as well as I could I still couldn't successfully connect. Willing to try again though. One thing I was curious about, and I didnt see it noted anywhere, was "do I have to create the openfiler VM on the ESXi host server" or would that at least simplify things? If so I need to clear off one of the drives on that systems so that I can dedicate it for ESXi. My end goal is to connect three servers to that central share and take advantage of all the features available.

Thanks for any additional info you could provide and also for proving to me once again that I am a firm believer in the 7 Ps (military thing) and that I should have stuck to it this time as well.

Russ

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Jackobli
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Sure I can find some use for it or maybe return and get a ReadyNAS.. Now just have to make sure I get the correct one. I was looking at a 2110 but it wasnt on the compatible list for ESXi so not sure I want to take the risk again.

Most of the consumer and SOHO devices are not on the list, just because of the time and cost for such a certification.

If a device is capable of NFS v3 and/or iSCSI target, it should work. There are QNAP devices that are on the list as well.

As to Openfiler, have vmWare server installed on a windows 7 box. Created the Openfiler there and attached the storage I wanted to share (1TB USB). Set up the iSCSI and so on. Have another server that I boot up with a ESXi on a USB thumb drive. No matter what I have tried, when I go to connect and create the datastore, using vSphere, it doesnt connect, and if it does (I believe I was able to get it to connect once) it still doesnt see the shared space I created.

I would look for windows 7 as the problem Smiley Wink Perhaps some Firewall problem. I tried OpenFiler once and didn't like it so much. But that may be because I do not depend on a nice web interface.

I've attempted to follow this set of instructions:

They are all ok. Ask yourself about iSCSI vs NFS. In my opinion, NFS is more flexibel.

One thing I was curious about, and I didnt see it noted anywhere, was "do I have to create the openfiler VM on the ESXi host server" or would that at least simplify things?

I don't understand that? For testing or for going into some kind of production?

If you got three physical machines, there you could go with one fileserver and two ESXi connecting to the fileserver. Both ESXi are mounting the same datastore. Only one server runs the vms, the other one is a warm standby.

Or is your goal really to go fully licensed and use VMotion, HA and such things?

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Formatter
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Enthusiast

I use an Iomega Storecentre IX4-200d 4 TB and itdoes ISCSI and NFS. Works great.

russ_elliott
Contributor
Contributor

Firewall not an issue.. Triple checked that.

As to what I meant, would it be easier to set up the Openfiler if I installed it as a VM on the ESXi system rather than under vmWare Server on another box (windows 7 or otherwise)? May or may not use the extended tools as I progress, right now I just want to set it up so that I have that option if I want to try. At the least I plan on setting up multiple VMs on multiple systems (3 systems for now) and connecting them all to the central storage. As to doing it from a prompt, I donwloaded the CLi I'd be willing to give it a shot if you could give me some guidance.

Thanks Smiley Happy

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russ_elliott
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Contributor

Thanks. Just took a look at it. Def cheaper than what I was looking at and certified from the looks of it.

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Jackobli
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

OpenFiler should be pretty the same thing setup on a dedicated host, a VMware Workstation, a VMware Server or on ESXi.

I did not use VMware Server anymore. I made the step from Server 1 to ESXi 3.5 (now 4.0). Read some postings about troubles with VMware Server and networking.

On ESXi, the external USB drive would/could be the biggest problem.

If unsure for OpenFiler, you may also try FreeNAS.

I personally go with a linux (console only) fileserver with NFS. Which is just installing kernel-nfsserver and one line in /etc/exports.

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russ_elliott
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Contributor

So the linux console only would allow me to hook up an external USB drive to it and allow me to use that as my VM repository/NAS?

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Jackobli
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Just for a test, if you are willing to try linux, you could go without affecting an installed other os, like that:

  • Download Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Desktop

  • Burn it to a CD

  • Boot the CD into the Desktop (use option "Try Ubuntu 10.04 LTS" instead of "Install...")

  • Attach the external disk, it will show up as an icon on the Desktop

  • use the package manager to download and install (it's working like an install, even if it does not write permanently) nfs-server (using the shell, that would go like "sudo apt-get install nfs-server)

  • The package nfs-server will be downloaded, installed and started

  • Using the shell, you issue "mount" to see, where the USB-Disk has been mounted (something like /media/LabelOfTheDisk)

  • issue "ifconfig eth0" to see the IP-Address of your Ubuntu (should be using DHCP).

  • Using the shell again, you have to edit the file /etc/exports (like "sudo nano /etc/exports)

  • add the following line "/media/LabelOfTheDisk IPAddressOfESXi(rw, no_root_squash,sync,no_subtree_check)"

  • CTRL+X ends nano, use "Y" to save

  • issue "sudo /etc/init.d/nfs-kernel-server reload" to load the edited /etc/exports

  • now, you should be able to use the nfs-server from within your ESXi (add datastore, NFS, Server="IP of Ubuntu", folder="/media/LabelOfTheDisk"

Going like this, you should be able to test your setup. This is a test, the performance will be low as at least the mounted disk is more often flushed. The disk may be NTFS or vFAT which are not best for linux.

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russ_elliott
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Contributor

Thanks again Jackobli. Printed and will give it a go. Went to look for the Ubuntu. If I read correctly the only flavor for 64bit is if you have an AMD based system. Otherwise, for us Intel folks, we are stuck with the 32bit ver. Correct?

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russ_elliott
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Contributor

I should have asked the following as well:

Could this be done on a VM or do I have to install/run it directly off one of the systems? I mean I could attach the ISO to run off the CD on a virtual and then turn on the VM, possibly do the install vs the "test drive" and it just becomes a matter of whether the VM sees the external drive or not. As long as I am not using the ESXi to run the Ubuntu VM I should be able to see the external drive.... I think Smiley Happy

Thanks

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Jackobli
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

It's called AMD for 64Bit to make sure, no one get's confused with Itanium and AMD was first too Smiley Wink

You may use the AMD build also for Core 2 Duo and (newer) Xeon.

I wrote the howto for using on real hardware to avoid any effects that may occur inside a vm. That's also why I suggest Ubuntu 10.04 as a Live CD to not interact with the installed OS of this physical device.

When using a vm, you may choose Ubuntu 10.04 Server. It installs as a vm in about 6 Minutes. You wouldn't even need to attach a USB drive. Instead you could use a part of the virtual disk inside or a second virtual harddisk.

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russ_elliott
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Contributor

Going through the instructions now (loaded it as a 'test' on one of my XPS systems) and you say to add the following line:

"/media/LabelOfTheDisk IPAddressOfESXi(etc etc etc)"

1st - looks like my label might be "FreeAgent Disk" is that space going to cause an issue? Can I encapsulate in quotes?

2nd - You wrote "IPAddressOfESXi". Did you really mean ESXi or the IP adress of the system I am running the ubuntu on? Just wondering because your instruction prior to that had me looking for the IP for the machine I was on Smiley Happy

Also, being the newbie that I am on the ubuntu (or linux for that matter) I could not get the wireless portion working. The package installer for the Broadcom did not want to 'activate' properly even when I had a wired connection and access to the net. Wondering if it is because I am using the 'test'. Either way, if this works I'll do the full install and do some more reading. Looking forward to your reply so that I can go that next step.

Cheers

Russ

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Jackobli
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

"/media/LabelOfTheDisk IPAddressOfESXi(etc etc etc)"

1st - looks like my label might be "FreeAgent Disk" is that space going to cause an issue? Can I encapsulate in quotes?

You say, issuing "mount" shows the disk somehow like:

/dev/sdb1 /media/FreeAgent Disk (the sdb1 is just a guess, sda = first, sdb = second disk, numbers are showing partitions?

That indeed would create a problem. IMHO nfs exports are not supporting blanks, not even in quotes.

You would need to umount that disk and remount it with a short/other name.

Like "sudo umount /dev/sdb1" (if it is this name/number) and then create your own directory "sudo mkdir /media/RussDisk". And then mount the external harddisk "sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/RussDisk"

2nd - You wrote "IPAddressOfESXi". Did you really mean ESXi or the IP adress of the system I am running the ubuntu on?

The nfs export list exports that directory (/media/something) to a host, that may mount that export. It's quite old and unsecure. That's why most people are using the last bit of security and export to just one host. If your network is your own, you may use an asterisk "*(...)" to allow every host to mount that export.

Also, being the newbie that I am on the ubuntu (or linux for that matter) I could not get the wireless portion working. The package installer for the Broadcom did not want to 'activate' properly even when I had a wired connection and access to the net. Wondering if it is because I am using the 'test'. Either way, if this works I'll do the full install and do some more reading. Looking forward to your reply so that I can go that next step.

Ok, wireless is another not so trivial (depends on the hardware and security settings like WPA) thing under linux.

You may need to read through the manual and ubuntu forum. "sudo lspci" gives a list of devices, that may help identify your wireless device better.

It's now 1am here. Sorry, but I have to go for a little nap.

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russ_elliott
Contributor
Contributor

Jackobli - Gave you credit for the correct answer

Formatter - Gave you credit for a helpful answer

Jackobli - Changing the name did it for me Smiley Happy I can now connect to it using the ubuntu. Since I dont want to dedicate one of the systems I wanted to use to run VMs just for the datastore going to see if I can figure out how to get it running from a VM. Thinking I may have to install the Ubuntu on a vmWare Server VM since it has the passthrough for the USB to the VMs. If I am wrong dont hesitate to correct me Smiley Happy THANK YOU ever so much for your assistance and the walk through. I was not able to use the unmount command though. Did not recognize it...

Formatter - Gave you a partial credit because I did some more research and ended up buying one of the StorCenters... Not 100% sure on whether it is working on not since I havent had the chance to hook it up yet, been busy getting Jackobli's method to work, but everything I read points to it being a great choice.

Cheers gentlemen, I am quantum steps forward thanks to your assistance Smiley Happy

Russ

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Formatter
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Enthusiast

No Problem,, If you need any advice with the storecenter Iomega please feel free to private message me.

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russ_elliott
Contributor
Contributor

Jackobli - FYI - Got it running from within a VM on vmWare server and connected from a separate system that was running ESXi to the datastore with 0 problems. This is awesome. triple Cheers again :smileygrin:

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Jackobli
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

I was not able to use the unmount command though. Did not recognize it...

That's because some one in early linux times saved the first "n", the command is "sudo umount" not "unmount" Smiley Wink

If you install Ubuntu, try to use the Server Edition, quite small, installs in about 6 to 7 minutes. Doesn't bring any overhead, but looks a bit brittle.

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russ_elliott
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Contributor

aha.. the N killed it for me then Smiley Happy Glad I read this, I am currently at the stage where it is asking me for the keyboard layout. If I go with the 'brittle' version will it still be similar enought to what I saw to the point where I could proceed with the process of installing the shared space? If it just gives me a terminal window will that still accept the commands you so graciously provided?

OH YEAH! While I am at it, could I map to a subfolder instead of the root by typing /media/labelofdisk/foldername? As I said, this is just the beginning for me, learning as I go. Want to try to share the storage between 3 different ESXi Hosts and thinking that if I map the root (/media/labelofdisk) that I wont be able to connect to it from another host... Or am I incorrect in this assumpion? If you prefer I could always start another thread so you can get the points or I can, if it allows you to have both, give you the other 6 points that are supposedly available for a 'helpful' answer.

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