Better Together – HiPerStor & A5808-32 with VMWare ESX server

After we successfully installed and tested VMWare ESX server 3.5 with Linux and Windows machines, it was time to test HiPerStor with VMWare ESX server.

If you are not familiar with HiPerStor, it is a storage product from HPC Systems, Inc. featuring support for NFS, SMB/CIFS, iSCSI and Apple shares. read more about it here.

To start with, we would like to use the iSCSI target features of HiPerStor and add a new VMFS datastore to our ESX server. ESX comes with a builtin iSCSI initiator and hence there is no need for additional iSCSI hardware.

Since the HiPerStor has no default iSCSI volumes defined, the first step is to open up the web management GUI and add a new iSCSI volume. With that taken care of, ESX server has to be configured, as follows, to be able to access iSCSI volumes.

  • Create VMKernel port group
  • A corresponding Service Console port group on the same subnet as the VMKernel port group
  • Enable ESX software iSCSI initiator
  • Discover new LUNs after configuring appropriate security settings
  • Utilize the new storage device as VMFS datastore

None of the above steps posed any serious challenges. Discovering the iSCSI volumes was a breeze. However, we need to manually initate a “rescan” on the software iSCSI initator before the LUNs show up in a reasonable time. ESX was also happy to extend an already “hybrid” VMFS datastore we created earlier (SCSI partition on LSI controller + raw SATA disk on on-board controller). Well, thats nice.

But for now, I chose to create a separate datastore from the iSCSI volume so it will show up in the following screenshot.

Better Together - HiPerStor & A5808-32 w/ESX server 

You can also notice in the screenshot that there is also an NFS datastore created from an NFS share on HiPerStor. There cannot be a better testament to the versatility of HiPerStor than this screenshot. You should also know that the same HiPerStor system is concurrently serving up a bunch of CIFS shares as well. On the background you can catch a glimpse of the HiPerStor management GUI.

Now, to install a VM on the iSCSI datastore and boot it up. For this time, lets try it with SLES 10. And here is a screenshot of SLES 10 up & running successfully from the iSCSI datastore provided by our own HiPerStor.

SLES 10 running off an iSCSI datastore

You can notice in the background, the datastore information for this VM (SLES 10) and other key parameters. 

Next up: time measurements of booting up a VM from local disk and VM from an iSCSI disk, if I can figure out a way to measure the time accurately.

EDIT: I had to login to the ESX server and execute the commands to enable iSCSI before I could see the LUNs from the storage server.



One Response to “Better Together – HiPerStor & A5808-32 with VMWare ESX server”

  1. [...] VMotion was a natural next step after our success in initial tests with VMWare ESX on A5808-32. iSCSI services on HiPerStor provide for a very affordable shared [...]

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