VMware Cloud Community
JBrd487
Contributor
Contributor

Using a NAS Server with a Windows 2008 R2 Storage OS for Shared Storage to VM Hosts?

Hello,

I have 2 vm Hosts running ESXi 4.0 with vSphere on them. I was wondering if there is a way to still use Shared Storage if I have a NAS server in place for file sharing and access? Please let me know of any ideas for that, thanks?

Jbrd487

Reply
0 Kudos
8 Replies
kac2
Expert
Expert

yes. you can still use shared storage. You have the choice of Fiber Channel, iSCSI, or NFS.

Reply
0 Kudos
brentquick
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

If you already have the NAS setup then I would assume it does not currently support NFS or FC, so that leaves you with block level access over iSCSI.

Good luck.

Enterprise Technology Geek and Converged IT Person. NC Triad VMUG Leader vExpert 2012-2013 Information Technology Expert
Reply
0 Kudos
asatoran
Immortal
Immortal

To clarify, your NAS is using Windows Storage Server 2008? If so then, yes, you can share it to multiple ESX hosts. WSS is a specialized version of Windows, but you can do almost anything the same way as "normal" Windows server. So the tutorials on using a Windows server as NFS storage for ESX will apply. And if you have the iSCSI option for WSS, you can also connect that way.

What were you planning to store on this NAS? For example, I have a HP DL320 running WSS2003r2. My four ESX hosts connect over NFS and iSCSI to the NAS. I use the iSCSI connection for a few VMs, but the most access for the ESX hosts is to share ISOs over NFS. (The rest of the NAS' storage is being used as traditional Windows shares for the users.)

Depending on the speed of your NAS, you may be able to run some VMs from it. But it often is slower than local storage. So in my shop, the NAS only has some test or temporary VMs.

Reply
0 Kudos
brentquick
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I was running an OpenFiler SAN as a test iSCSI target and (15 K U320 HD's in an old IBM x345) found that I could run about four or five light load (AD, DHCP, print server) VM's but above that I was thrashing the network cards (no HBA's) to hard.

Enterprise Technology Geek and Converged IT Person. NC Triad VMUG Leader vExpert 2012-2013 Information Technology Expert
Reply
0 Kudos
JBrd487
Contributor
Contributor

Thats exactly what i am using them for. Its only a file share server and my Symantec Backup Exec. server, thats it, nothing else.

Yes, it has Windows 2008 Storage Server R2 64bit on it. What I would like to do is possibly set this up in a way for it to use Shared Storage to my VM hosts and that way I can utilize vMotion, HA, etc. I wrote my Dell rep and see if the server had already come preconfigured to present NFS already but havent heard back yet.

iSCSI, can you go a little bit more into that, is that using the cable hookup directly to the hosts?

Reply
0 Kudos
brentquick
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

You may have thought I said OpenNAS which is an open source Linux NAS distro. OpenFiler is an iSCSI SAN that does a bare metal install on x86 and x64 hardware and presents the storage as iSCSI targets. iSCSI is basically SCSI commands wrapped in TCP/IP and transmitted over normal ethernet cabling. So to the host the storage is seen as a target (you need to add a virtual HBA or have a physical HBA in the box already) and accessed like any remote/shared storage. I do not thing you can do a direct hookup unless you used static IP's and possible a crossover cable. Commonly you use a vLan or separate physical switch for the storage network.

Hope this help.

Enterprise Technology Geek and Converged IT Person. NC Triad VMUG Leader vExpert 2012-2013 Information Technology Expert
Reply
0 Kudos
kac2
Expert
Expert

to use NFS, you have to install NFS services on the Windows Server and IMO, it doesn't work like it should, linux hosts are better for serving up NFS shares.

iSCSI is done using an iSCSI software. here is a quick video tutorial.

http://edge.technet.com/Media/How-to-setup-iSCSI-on-Windows-Server-2008-11-mins/

Kendrick Coleman

www.kendrickcoleman.com<http://www.kendrickcoleman.com>;

twitter: @KendrickColeman

Reply
0 Kudos
asatoran
Immortal
Immortal

Yes, it has Windows 2008 Storage Server R2 64bit on it. What I would like to do is possibly set this up in a way for it to use Shared Storage to my VM hosts and that way I can utilize vMotion, HA, etc. I wrote my Dell rep and see if the server had already come preconfigured to present NFS already but havent heard back yet.

Windows won't come preconfigured for NFS, but you can enable it. Google for using Windows NFS with ESX. For example, this article.

iSCSI, can you go a little bit more into that, is that using the cable hookup directly to the hosts?

In the older versions of Windows Storage Server, iSCSI was an (expensive) optional module. I'm not sure if WSS2008 includes the iSCSI option or not. If you do have it, then you can configure it to communicate over ethernet. Preferably, you'd dedicate one or more NICs on both the NAS and ESX hosts for iSCSI traffic. In effect, this is the equivalent of a SAN, albiet with lower throughput depending on your hardware.

With either NFS or iSCSI, you will be able to use vMotion, etc. How fast it will be depends on your hardware, but it could be a good start. In my case, I don't have the budget to upgrade the LAN so I only have NFS & iSCSI going over gigabit NICs on a separate LAN. While I can run VMs this way, it's mostly for temporary VMs and ISOs. The use for ISOs worked out well since I can share ISOs to four ESX hosts without wasting the limited space on the local ESX datastores. For a poor-man's-DR, I use the NAS to have standby copies of critical VMs. While performance is a little less, it was a DR plan with no $$$, just a little bit of labor. It may or may not fit your needs, but for us was useful since we're a Windows shop and the rest of the techs have little Linux experience.

Reply
0 Kudos