Październik, 2012

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Definite guide to iSCSI with FreeNAS on ESX(i) – Part 4 – Configuring iSCSI on ESXi 5.1 (standard vswitch)

środa, Październik 31st, 2012

In this part of the guide we will have a look on iSCSI configuration under ESXi, in my example ESXi 5.1. The initial configuration of the host is very similar in what we saw in the previous part. There is one vSwitch and the host is equipped with 3 network interfaces.

Initial network configuration

Initial network configuration

Network interfaces (uplinks)

Network interfaces (uplinks)

Just like before we will first configure the networking part. Go to your host configuration and click on Configuration tab. Go to Networking. Click on Add Networking…

Selecting connection type for the new portgroup

Selecting connection type for the new portgroup

Select VMkernel as your connection type. You can notice that where in ESX we had 3 options to choose from (management, VMkernel, virtual machine networking), here in ESXi management networking has been merged into VMkernel stack which now is responsible for management, iSCSI connectivity, VMotion and FT logging. Select one of your NIC specifying to create a new vSwitch. Click Next.

Available uplinks

Available uplinks

Here you can see what I was talking about. Select what this VMkernel portgroup will be used for. We will use it for iSCSI traffic only (remember: traffic separation) so we don’t have to select anything. Give your portgroup a meaningful label and click Next.

Configuration for the new VMkernel port<br>

Configuration for the new VMkernel port

Insert a correct network configuration and click Next and then Finish.

IP network settings

IP network settings

The networking configuration is ready.

vSwitch for iSCSI configured

vSwitch for iSCSI configured

Click on Storage Adapters. if iSCSI Software Adapter is not installed, click on Add.. and install it.

Software iSCSI Adapter

Software iSCSI Adapter

Right click on the iSCSI Software Adapter and select Properties.

Software iSCSI Adapter properties

Software iSCSI Adapter properties

As you can see it is already enabled so no need to do it. Click on Dynamic Discovery tab and click on Add. Insert IP and port of your FreeNAS portal (check part 2 for FreeNAS installation and configuration guidance).

Dynamic Discovery

Dynamic Discovery

Click OK and Close. when asked to rescan the hba, select Yes. when everything went fine, you should see a device – a LUN presented on your FreeNAS server.

Presented LUN

Presented LUN

If you looked carefully during iSCSI Software Adapter configuration you might have noticed that there is an additional tab called Network Configuration.

Network configuration and port binding? Hm...

Network configuration and port binding? Hm...

However, we haven’t even touched it and the iSCSI storage seems to be working fine, so what’s the big deal? Well, imagine that you want (and usually you do) to use more than one NIC for iSCSI storage for multipathing and failover, you will need to bind vmknics (virtual adapters) to vmknics (physical) in 1:1 manner. Go back to Networking and click on vSwitch1 Properties. Click on Network Adapters tab and then on Add…

Adding some redundancy

Adding some redundancy

Select the unused vmnic, click Next twice and then Finish. Close vSwitch proprieties. Now our network configuration looks like this:

Second uplink added

Second uplink added

Now we will create another vmkernel portgroup on vSwitch1. The procedure is very similar to the first one except this time we add a new portgroup to the existing vSwitch. Click on vSwitch1 Properties and on Ports tab click on Add… Here’s the result:

2 uplinks, two vmkernel portgroups

2 uplinks, two vmkernel portgroups

Let’s go back to Storage Adapters and to Software iSCSI Adapter properties. Click on Network Configuration tab and click on Add…

VMkernel ports are not compliant

VMkernel ports are not compliant

Ops, there is no VMkernel adapter available except Management Network and if you select anything else you see the following message:
The selected physical network adapter is not associated with VMkernel with compliant teaming and failover policy.  VMkernel network adapter must have exactly one active uplink and no standby uplinks to be eligible for binding to the iSCSI HBA.

Why is that? That’s why. Basically, like I have mentioned before, you need to bind VMkernel port with physical uplinks (vmknics) 1:1 and if you go back to Configuration, Networking, click on vSwitch1 properties and then edit one of two VMkernel ports you will see (on NIC teaming tab) that each of them has got two NICs selected as active.

Two active uplinks for iSCSI vmkernel port? A no-no.

Two active uplinks for iSCSI vmkernel port? A no-no.

This is not a supported solution. what we need to do is to select Override switch failover order and mark one of the uplinks as unused. Then on the second VMkernel port we need to do the same, with another uplink of course.

That's better...

That's better...

Then go back to iSCSI Software Adapter’s properties, to Network configuration tab. Click on Add… and you will see both iSCSI VMkernel ports.

vmkernel ports are now compliant

vmkernel ports are now compliant

Add them both, you see they are compliant. If they are not, these are the possible reasons:

  • The VMkernel network adapter is not connected to an active physical network adapter or it is connected to
    more than one physical network adapter.
  • The VMkernel network adapter is connected to standby physical network adapters.
  • The active physical network adapter got changed.

If you’d like to know how to configure it from CLI, here’s your documentation.

Now if you right-click on the LUN presented by your FreeNAS and select Manage Paths… you will see that you can choose different path management policies for iSCSI storage.

Changing PSP for iSCSI storage is simple as that

Changing PSP for iSCSI storage is simple as that

Looking for some reading for a weekend?

poniedziałek, Październik 29th, 2012

I know it’s Monday but for those looking for an interesting lecture for the next weekend I have some interesting suggestions of free ebooks and articles.

From Microsoft:

Introducing windows Server 2012Free ebook: Introducing Windows Server 2012 (RTM Edition) – PDF, MOBI and EPUB formats

 

 

 

Intruducing Windows 8Introducing Windows 8: An Overview for IT Professionals (Preview Edition)

 

 

 

Programming Wiondows 8 Apps

 

 

 

For those more interested in VMware solutions:

VMware Architect Summit EMEA September 2012 documents

vCenter Server 5.1.0a update – some bugs fixed

niedziela, Październik 28th, 2012

Ok, vSphere 5.1 is kinda buggy and I am not talking about functional bugs that can break your environment but rather about annoying bugs that impact administration. VMware has just release an update for vCenter – 5.1.0a that fixes some bugs like:

  • vCenter Server takes an unusually long time to start and the vSphere Client might time out

and

  • Upgrading to vCenter Server 5.1 might fail with error 29107 even though the service or solution user is already registered

and certificate issue. Have you encountered any vCenter 5.1 bug that made impossible or difficult for you to work with this release? This update can help. Release notes are here.

„Did you know?” Saturday – VMware posters

sobota, Październik 27th, 2012

Did you know that several high-resolution VMware posters are available for download on VMwarer website? Find them here, download, print and hang on a wall in your office!

Veeam 6.5 – more ways to WOW!

piątek, Październik 26th, 2012

Yesterday a new Veeam 6.5 was released. I really love Veeam for it’s simple yet powerful so I am downloading the new release at this moment.

 

What’s new under the hood?

  • Free e-discovery and item recovery for Microsoft Exchange
  • Easy VM recovery from SAN snapshots
  • Advanced monitoring, reporting and capacity planning (requires Veeam Management Suite 6.5)
  • New hypervisor support: VMware vSphere 5.1 and Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V
  • and more!

VMware PVSCSI overview

środa, Październik 24th, 2012

VMware Paravirtualized SCSI (VPSCSI) has been with vSphere since version 4.0. With versions 4.1 and 5.0 its limitations were generally removed so that this type of adapter can now be broadly used.

VMware Paravirtualized SCSI adapter goes hand in hand with vmxnet3 paravirtualized NIC and offers better performance for I/O intensive disks. Our old friends – BusLogic and LsiLogic adapters emulates physical devices they are based on. That means that most modern operating systems will have correct drivers shipped with them and will work with these SCSI controllers out-of-box. VPSCSI on the other hand requires drivers, has some limitations (or used to have as we will see) but works on guest systems in much more efficient manner providing you with better performance using fewer CPU resources.

When introduced in vSphere 4 VPSCSI presented some problems. This is a short lists of things you need to consider before you deploy a VM with VPSCSI on vSphere 4.0:

  • Not suitable for VMs with VMware Fault Tolerance,
  • Worse results on low I/O intensive disks (lower than 2000 IOPS),
  • Severe problem on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 virtual machines (see this excellent post from Michael Webster for more details and where to find fixes).
  • And last but not least – it is not possible to use the VPSCSI adapter for boot disks.

So as one can see VPSCSI adapter was designed with the following in mind: “Use LSI Logic adapter for your boot and OS disk and introduce VPSCSI with read/write intensive disks for solutions such as MS SQL Server or Exchange”.  Fortunately all the problems stated above has been already fixed and in vSphere 5.0 we can enjoy VMware Paravirtualized SCSI under all circumstances.

For details check this excellent article by Scott Lowe on PVSCSI limitatuons and his update on fixes introduced in vSphere 4.1.

More resources:

VMware KB: Configuring disks to use VMware Paravirtual SCSI (PVSCSI) adapters

Permissions for Veeam account on vCenter Server

poniedziałek, Październik 22nd, 2012

When you use an account to set up a SOAP connection to vCenter Server:

SOAP connection to vCenter in Veeam 5

SOAP connection to vCenter in Veeam 5

you need to assign to these account certain privileges. The easiest way to do so is to create a role in vCenter and assign it to this account. The role will need to get the following permissions, according to backup type you intend to use. This table has been taken from this great Veeam blog note. Check out this article should you want to know how to set up VSS-enabled backups and what else you need for successful Veeam backups.

Privilege Level vStorage API Virtual Appliance mode vStorage API Network mode vStorage API SAN mode
Global Log event Log event Log event
Datastore Low-level file operations Low-level file operations Low-level file operations
Virtual Machine state Create SnapshotRemove Snapshot Create SnapshotRemove Snapshot Create SnapshotRemove Snapshot
Virtual Machine configuration Disk change trackingChange resourceAdd existing diskRemove disk Disk change tracking Disk change trackingDisk lease
Virtual Machine provisioning Allow read-only disk access Allow read-only disk access Allow read-only disk access

 

„Did you know” Saturday – VMware early history

sobota, Październik 20th, 2012

Did you know that in February 1998 only 5 people were working for VMware? That and more funny facts on this awesome short movie on VMware history.

 

Definite guide to iSCSI with FreeNAS on ESX(i) – Part 3 – Configuring iSCSI on ESX 3.5 (standard vswitch)

piątek, Październik 19th, 2012

This is Part 3 of the definite guide to iSCSI with FreeNAS on ESX(i). Make sure to check out the other parts as well.

1. Introduction
2. FreeNAS installation and configuration
3. Configuring iSCSI on ESX 3.5 (standard vswitch)
4. Configuring iSCSI on ESXi 5.1 (standard vswitch)
5. Configuring iSCSI on a distributed vswitch
6. Migrating iSCSI from a standard to a distributed vswitch

 

3. Configuring iSCSI on ESX 3.5 (standard vswitch)

Make sure your ESX server has got at least two NICs – if you’re doing this in the nested, virtual environment and you have created a virtual ESX with only one NIC, shut it down, add a new network card and start the server again. We will use one for management and the second for iSCSI configuration. You will probably want to use more NICs anyway (for VM traffic, VMotion, redundancy, etc.) but for this demonstration we will use only two NICs – vmnic0 (management) and vmnic1 (iSCSI).

After you have installed ESX 3.5, go to the Configuration tab and under Hardware click on Networking.  All you will see is one virtual switch (vSwitch0). First of all we will create a new vswitch for iSCSI traffic. In the upper-right corner click on ‘Add Networking…’.

Select VMkernel and click Next.

Select VMkernel

Select VMkernel

Select ‘Create a virtual switch’ (this option is available if you have at least one unassigned NIC) and select an uplink NIC to be used with your new vswitch. Click Next.

Adding an uplink tpo the vSwitch

Adding an uplink tpo the vSwitch

Now you will create a new portgroup on your new vswitch. Give it a meaningfull name (label) like ‘iSCSI’ for example. Configure VLAN (if necessary, if not – leave this field empty).

Setting IP configuration for VMkernel port

Setting IP configuration for VMkernel port

Click Next and then Finish. A new virtual switch called vSwitch1 is created.

New virtual switch

New virtual switch

Under Hardware click on Storage Adapters. And select iSCSI Software Adapter. Click on Properties.

Software iSCSI initiator

Software iSCSI initiator

The software initiator is disabled by default so click on Configure and enable it.

Enabling software adapter

Enabling software adapter

You will see the following message:

Service Console needs to be able to communicate with iSCSI storage too

Service Console needs to be able to communicate with iSCSI storage too

Here’s the thing – target’s discovery is done by the Service Console. That means that both ports: VMkernel (the one we created) and Service Console (already created on vSwitch0) must be able to communicate with iSCSI target (on the FreeNAS server). If you look on the screenshot above you will see that both Service Console and VMketnel port for IP storage are in the same subnet (as well as FreeNAS server of course) so they both will be able to communicate with the target. However, if your Service Console is in the different network (and it should be if it is a production environment in order to introduce traffic separation), you will need to create a second Service Console – on vSwitch1 – and assign it an IP address allowing it to discover the FreeNAS iSCSI target. In our case it is not necessary.

Let’s continue with the software initiator’s confiuration. Click on the Dynamic Discovery tab and click Add… Put the IP address and you configured on FreeNAS Target.

IP  and port of FreeNAS server iSCSI service (remember the portal in Part 2?)

IP and port of FreeNAS server iSCSI service (remember the portal in Part 2?)

You will be asked to rescan the HBAs. Click on Yes.

Rescan the host's HBAs

Rescan the host's HBAs

If all goes well, you will see the target device:

LUN presented on FreeNAS to ESX host

LUN presented on FreeNAS to ESX host

Now you can go on and create a new storage for ESX server on the LUN (VMFS or RDM).

Definite guide to iSCSI with FreeNAS on ESX(i) – Part 2 – FreeNAS installation and configuration

środa, Październik 17th, 2012

This is Part 1 of the definite guide to iSCSI with FreeNAS on ESX(i). Make sure to check out the other parts as well.

1. Introduction
2. FreeNAS installation and configuration
3. Configuring iSCSI on ESX 3.5 (standard vswitch)
4. Configuring iSCSI on ESXi 5.1 (standard vswitch)
5. Configuring iSCSI on a distributed vswitch
6. Migrating iSCSI from a standard to a distributed vswitch

 

2. FreeNAS installation and configuration

FreeNAS will be installed and configured in the same way for both ESX 3.5 and 4.x/5.x so you can follow this point no matter which version you are planning to use. There will be an additional step if you are doing it in the nested environment.

Download iso with FreeNAS from here. At the time of writing the newest stable version is 8.2.0.

Create a new virtual machine and install FreeNAS machine. I advise to create one small disk for FreeNAS system files and the bigger one for the iSCSI storage we will present to ESX hosts later (where you will be able to create VMFS datastore or map it as a RDM). The installation procedure is trivial.

The only configuration necessary after it is installed is setting up networking. Open a console and assign an IP address, then complete the configuration of FreeNAS system or go ahead to the next point.

Open your favorite browser on the machine that has got a network connectivity with FreeNAS server and enter the IP address you configured for FreeNAS.

NAS configuration portal main page

NAS configuration portal main page

Click on Services and find iSCSI. It is disabled by default so click on the slider to turn it on.

Enabling iSCSI service

Enabling iSCSI service

Click on the tool icon next to iSCSI and begin service configuration. In  the upper menu select Portals.

No portal created yet

No portal created yet

A portal is an IP address and port your iSCSI NAS will be listening on. Click Add Portal button and insert portal’s name, IP and port (the default port 3260 is already there and you can leave it as it is or change it if neccessary).

Creating a new portal

Creating a new portal

Portal configured

Portal configured

Click on Initialtors in the upper menu. By default there is no authorized initiator group configured so no one can connect to the portal configured before.

No authorized initiators configured

No authorized initiators configured

Be creating an initiators group you can select who will be able to connect. Click on Add Initiator button. In my example below by using „ALL” keyword I explicitly allow anyone to connect. However, you can of course restrict the access to certain initiators’ names or authorized networks.

Everyone's invited... but not the safest configuration!

Everyone's invited... but not the safest configuration!

No we will bind the target with the initiator group by creating a target. In the upper menu you will find Targets button – click it and select Add Target. Select the target and the initiator group you created before. Give a meaningful name to your target. For the rest of the filds you can leave defauts.

Putting the portal and the initiator group together into target

Putting the portal and the initiator group together into target

While the portal answers the question „how?” and initiator group „who?”, the extent answers to „where?”. Well, if you connect, you’d like to get access to something, right? We will use the second disk (remember when I told you at the beggining to create the FreeNAS virtual machine with two disks? If you didn’t, do it now) to  be presented by iSCSI portal to authorized initiators. In the upper menu find Device Extents. Click Add Extent. If you have a second disk in your FreeNAS VM you will be able to select it in the Disk device menu:

Using a raw disk as a device extent

Using a raw disk as a device extent

The last things to do is to put all elements together and add the extent to the target. In the upper menu select Associated targets. Click the Add Extent to Target button.

Putting everything together...

Putting everything together...

From the menus select your target and extent. Click ok. You’re done.

Target + Extent = happy NAS

Target + Extent = happy NAS

Now if you cofigured everything correctly, you will be able to see the LUN from your ESX hosts. Check out the next parts of the guide to see how.

At the beggining I found it confusing to get what goes with what so I created this diagram to help you with that.

FreeNAS configuration diagram

FreeNAS configuration diagram