Well, if you want to configure a Failover Cluster you can present the LUN to each server and then bypass all VMware capabilities or create a physical RDM and present it to each server as a virtual disk.
Here is more information about how to set up a Failover Cluster: https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.5/vsphere-esxi-vcenter-server-651-setup-mscs.pdf
If you just want to share storage with hosts, just create a LUN, present it to a host and create the Datastore.
Then you can easily add the Datastore to the remaining host.
You don't need to configure vSAN if you already have a SAN or NAS.
Is NFS or iSCSI storage?
"If you just want to share storage with hosts, just create a LUN, present it to a host and create the Datastore."
Yes this is what I am trying to do.
"You don't need to configure vSAN if you already have a SAN or NAS."
I don't have a SAN or any NAS. It is a virtual lab so I don't have any physical hardware as such, it is mainly software defined.
For example would any of these methods work in theory?
1. Attach a new disk to one of the hosts, create a LUN, format it as a VMFS datastore, and then mount it on the other hosts?
2. Create a share on the network and mount it on the hosts?
3. Or just create a vSAN but I suppose we know that this will work.
I need to do a bit more reading, but the way I used to do it before in the Windows world was by creating a vSAN and iSCSI.
If you are from MS word, then probably the easiest way would be configuring one Windows Server (physical or virtual) as an iSCSI target for your ESXi hosts and mount the storage over iSCSI (or you can play with failover clustering of the iSCSI target server if you want high availability).
No problem if you don't have physical HW for your lab
As a summary:
So, the bet here would be to install a W2k12/16/19 whatever you want, install the File Server role with iSCSI.
Now you will have to create the target (destination) and a virtual disk which will be the disk shared between the hosts.
Creating a vSAN is not in the Win World I don't know where you hear that...
Anyway, once you have your iscsi target prepared, go to the hosts, add a software iscsi adapter, and you will add the iSCSI target which will be the
IP for the server who hosts the iSCSI disk. (for this you will need to have created a virtual switch, a vmk and add a NIC (in a very simple way) )
Finally you could create a datastore on both ESXi hosts.
How to create the iSCSI target (destination and add the initiators (source): How to create an iSCSI target on Windows Server 2012
Nice video for adding the iSCSI target on the ESXi: How-to: Configure Software iSCSI Initiator in ESXi 6.5 that Contains a Single NIC - YouTube
Yes that is what I am trying to get to in reality. I used to do something similar in my Hyper V labs and it worked quite well.
I just need to fathom out how to replicate it in the VMware world.
dbalcaraz has posted some good pointers and I will piece it together.
I haven't had time to view the videos but I briefly read the other docs.
That is basically what I am trying to do and kind of similar to what I used to run, but I just need to work out how to do it in the VM world of things.
Where before I was using a third party vSAN made by Solarwinds to do the job.
But the good thing now is that it will be one less product to use if I can set things working like you say.
I have also just found the set of instructions I made for my old HA FS lab with using iSCSI. So I all I need to do now is have a re-cap and get to work using all the material that I have in front of me.
I will let you know how I get on and will be back if I need any other advice.
Thanks for the advice and I hope to be a VMware pro soon
Of course! I have a setup in my lab and all I do is present LUNs via iSCSI with a W2k16, easy and fast (as I am MS guy I am quite familiar about the OS).
Of course you can use whatever you want, FreeNas or another OS.
I didn't use the vSAN by Solarwinds but I suppose it will do the job.
Let us know if you need anything else and please, select the answer you consider is the correct.
Another good option is to create a machine and install FreeNAS. With that you can present both iSCSI and NFS to the ESXi host.
I have read some of docs and I don't think that the scenarios are applicable to what I am trying to achieve.
For example most of those scenarios in there are related to running a Cluster on the hosts.
I'm talking about creating a Cluster within vCenter and adding two ESXi hosts.
I've already created a Cluster within vCenter and added two EXSi hosts, now I just need to add the NFS storage to them.
But I'm not too sure how the Clustering Service works for the VMs and migration etc.. I think I will have to create a couple of switches in the process too i.e for Management, v Motion and Heartbeat etc..
You want to cluster the virtual machines?
You will need vmkernel port group for Management, vMotion, NFS.
I have just found this site and its quite good. https://www.nakivo.com/blog/category/vmware-administration/
It explains a lot about what I need to know.
I was trying to work out how the Cluster worked without any kind of Clustering management software on the hosts. But I now know that it is handled and managed by vSphere DRS.
I'm piecing the bits together and working it out.
It's slightly different to Windows but it's good to know.