FCNI
Contributor
Contributor

Inexpensive iSCSI storage host for VM's

I'm looking for some inexpensive iSCSI options on which to move from internal storage of VM's to external. I've been reading about the NETGEAR ReadyNAS 2100 and the Promise VessRAID iSCSI enabled NAS appliances. Both boast VMWare compatibility but I have found that both have limitations with their ISCSI NIC's. Each for its own reason, I'd be left with a single iSCSI gigabit connection to the NAS. Is is ill-advised to run one or more ESXi servers, each running three to five VM's sharing storage on a NAS via a single gigabit ethernet interface?

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13 Replies
DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

I'm looking for some inexpensive iSCSI options on which to move from internal storage of VM's to external. I've been reading about the NETGEAR ReadyNAS 2100 and the Promise VessRAID iSCSI enabled NAS appliances. Both boast VMWare compatibility but I have found that both have limitations with their ISCSI NIC's. Each for its own reason, I'd be left with a single iSCSI gigabit connection to the NAS. Is is ill-advised to run one or more ESXi servers, each running three to five VM's sharing storage on a NAS via a single gigabit ethernet interface?

What are the limitations? I think they both support load balancing/failover.

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator
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FCNI
Contributor
Contributor

The ReadyNAS has only two ethernet ports. It could be configured with one as a management port and one as an iSCSI port on the iSCSI network, or both on the iSCSI network in an active/passive configuration. Either way, you get the throughput on one interface.

The Promise VessRAID has one management port and four iSCSI ethernet ports. Unfortunately, it only supports active/passive configuration on a given pair of ports with no aggregated throughput.

Can anyone weigh in on the viability of running ESXi storage for several VM's with only a single gigabit iSCSI nic on the san?

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malaysiavm
Expert
Expert

do you need a NAS or only pure ISCSI? there are plenty of it certified to run on VMWare like DELL MD 3000i or Netapp FAS 2000 series.

Craig

vExpert 2009

Malaysia VMware Communities -

Craig vExpert 2009 & 2010 Netapp NCIE, NCDA 8.0.1 Malaysia VMware Communities - http://www.malaysiavm.com
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AndreTheGiant
Immortal
Immortal

Have a look also on Iomega products.

But remember that for a production environment you need a reliable solution with some redundancy (at least on NIC cards, power supplies and storage processor).

Andre

Andre | http://about.me/amauro | http://vinfrastructure.it/ | @Andrea_Mauro
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FCNI
Contributor
Contributor

I'm looking for an inexpensive iSCSI storage host for VM's. What makes the Netgear, Promise, and Iomega NAS's appealing is they took their NAS products, added iSCSI connectivity to them, and sought VMWare certification. The price point here is $2000-$4000 which makes it a viable alternative for small businesses using local storage. True iSCSI storage by Dell and Netapp start higher in the $7500+ range so I can not consider them. So that's why I'm querying the community as to whether anyone is actually using these 'glorified nas' devices for iSCSI storage of ESXi VM's in the production network. So far I have only heard from the manufacturers that they are running VM's on these devices in their test labs.

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DCasota
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Hi

Have a look to www.drobo.com. I haven't tested it myself, but it sounds promising for a small environment.

HIH.

Daniel

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dmauder
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Hi FCNI:

I'd love to recommend the Dell PowerVault NF600 with the iSCSI option as it comes in under your price point. However, I don't believe it has been certified yet for use with VMware, and the iSCSI option still indicates "for test/dev environments only" on the tech specs. As you already mentioned, Dell doesn't really offer anything else that would be in the sub-$4K price range. Although, if you ever get the budget for it - EqualLogic arrays ROCK!

Far be it from me to ever recommend a non-Dell solution :smileysilly: , but have you checked out the Thecus N8800SAS? I've read some pretty cool stuff about it, and it definitely would meet your pricing requirements. This is structly a personal recommendation based on some reading I've done and others I've talked to. I've never used any Thecus products myself.

Dave

-Dave
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J1mbo
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

How about using and NFS share?

Please award points to any useful answer.

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TimPhillips
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Are you limited only to hardware solution? Because based on my experience I can say, that if you need disaster recovery functions you cannot get them in cheap storage. I`m considering you should give a try to software iSCSI solutions: most of them offer much more wide set functions for less money.

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milos77
Contributor
Contributor

Openfiler (www.openfiler.com) and Network Bonding may be a solution using legacy server such as Hp proliant dl DL120

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Paul_Lalonde
Commander
Commander

I checked the specs on the Promise unit and it indeed says its supports "Microsoft MPIO". The term "Microsoft MPIO" essentially means multiple target connections are possible, which is good news for you.

At the same time, the specs refer to 64 simultaneous sessions. Any decent iSCSI implementation either supports multiple target logins ("Microsoft MPIO") or multiple connections per session (MCS). My bet is that the Promise device would work fine for you.

At the end of the day, if an iSCSI array doesn't offer MPIO or MCS but only Ethernet link aggregation, know that you'll still see aggregate I/O throughput (ie. 4 NICS on SAN = 400MB/s) as long as you have at least FOUR servers connecting to the array. The more servers connecting to the array, the better overall load distribution across all available NICs on the SAN in an link aggregation.

Paul

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razornet
Contributor
Contributor

I'd sugest looking at the Qnap series of storage. You can get excellent throughput, iSCSI connectivity and NFS flexibility. I would opt for the "pro" versions as they sport he Intel processors. The Small Net Builder website may also be helpful as they review and benchmark the performance of a number of NAS / Baby SAN devices.

Qnap

Small Net Builder

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venom78
Contributor
Contributor

Do not use Drobo product. I have my Drobo Pro replace twice, and even upgraded to a Drobo Elite. It simply doen'st work. It will connect itself under heavy IOs, and the only way to resolve it is to reboot the Drobo. It is a nightmare that I am still living with now.

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