Video: Configuring an Iomega SAN and VMware vSphere for iSCSI

- select the contributor at the end of the page -
I have found the Iomega SMB level network attached storage (NAS) arrays to be very powerful and flexible units.

I recently aquired an Iomega Ix4-200D which is a 4TB NAS or SAN (which runs for under $999). It does not only Windows file share but can also be enabled for iSCSI (and many other protocols).

I have used advanced vSphere features on it such as VMotion, SVMotion, and even performed VM backups of VMFS datastores on the array with the destination being a CIFS file share on the array (causing some major contention) with the array handling it well.

I have been so pleased with the array I thought that I would create this video to share briefly the models of the product line and, in more detail, how you connect one of these arrays to vSphere using iSCSI. Here is what you'll learn:

  • Overview of the Iomega NAS/SAN Product Line
  • How to enable iSCSI in the Iomega StorCenter
  • How to enable iSCSI in vSphere and connect to the SAN
  • How to format the new iSCSI disk with VMFS
  • How to migrate a running VM to the Iomega SAN with SVMotion

And if you want to set this up yourself, here are the step by step directions along with helpful screenshots and additional information that should help you out.

Connecting VMware vSphere to Iomega iSCSI Storage

In this tutorial we'll show you how to use VMware vSphere to connect an ESX/ESXi server to an Iomega iSCSI Storage.

We'll start with an overview of the NAS/SAN options offered by Iomega. We'll then proceed to enable iSCSI and create a new volume using the Iomega StorCenter configuration tool; enable iSCSI on an ESXi server using vSphere; and then connect that server to the iSCSI SAN created just before that. Next, we'll format the new VFMS iSCSI volume and, finally, migrate a VM to the Iomega SAN using SVMotion.

Let's begin.

Iomega NAS/SAN Product Line

The Iomega Network Attached Storage line consists of the following:

  • Iomega StorCenter ix2-200
  • Iomega StorCenter ix4-200d
  • Iomega StorCenter ix4-200r
  • Iomega StorCenter ix12-300r

Iomega NAS/SAN Product Line

That list is arranged by increasing expandability and performance capabilities, with the ix2-200 having the lowest and ix12-300r having the highest. The difference between the ix4-200d and the ix4-200r is that the the ix4-200d is a desktop type (hence the 'd'), while the ix4-200r is a rack-mountable type (hence the 'r').

In preparing this tutorial, we used a 4TB ix4-200d. Here's what it looks like:

Iomega SAN 4TB ix4-200d

Enabling iSCSI using the Iomega StorCenter

Let's assume your network attached storage (NAS) device is already configured, assigned an appropriate IP address, and powered on.

To begin, connect to the NAS by entering its corresponding IP address on your Web browser. Let's say you assigned it an IP address of: 10.0.1.250. Once you've entered the IP address on your browser, you'll be brought to the Iomega StorCenter Home Page.

Iomega StorCenter Home Page

You may see the status of your NAS by clicking the Dashboard tab. Make sure it has sufficient free disk space, which of course depends on how much you need, before you create a volume. In our case, we have 1.2 TB free.

Iomega StorCenter Dashboard

To enable iSCSI, navigate to the Settings tab and click iSCSI.

Enable iSCSI settings in Iomega StorCenter

Now, all you need to do is:

  1. check Enable iSCSI,
  2. check Enable discovery with iSNS (Internet Storage Name Servce),
  3. select a suitable iSNS server option, and
  4. click the Apply button.

Enabling iSCSI in Iomega StorCenter

You'll then be ready to create a new volume. To proceed, navigate to the Shared Storage tab and click the Add button. On that same page, you'll also see your existing volumes. In our case, we have one named 'vSphereDataStore', which has 500 GB.

Adding a volume using the Iomega StorCenter

To create the new volume:

  1. Select iSCSI Drive from the Shared Storage Type drop-down list.
  2. Give the volume a name. e.g. vSphereDataStore2
  3. Enter a suitable size for it. e.g. 500 GB.Also visible on this page is a visual representation of the currently used space, the space that will be occupied by the new volume, and the remaining free space after that.
  4. Click Apply.

Adding a volume in Iomega

You'll then see some relevant information regarding the iSCSI drive being added. Take note of the IQN Name as you'll be using that later.

Click OK to proceed.

iSCSI drive information

On the next page, you'll see the new volume being added. You'll have to wait until adding is completed (the % disappears).

Adding iSCSI volume

Heres how that same page will look like after the volume is finally added.

Volume creation on Iomega NAS

At this point, your newly created volume will now be ready for mounting on an ESX or ESXi server. This is what we'll be doing in the next section.

Enabling iSCSI using vSphere and Connecting to the Iomega SAN

Go now to your vSphere Client and look for the ESX/ESXi server where you plan to mount your newly created volume. If you click on that server, you'll be able to see the datastores to which that server is presently connected.

In our case, we'll be mounting our volume on an ESXi server named esx3. As you can see, that server is only connected to one datastore, datastore1.

ESX server datastores on vSphere

You can also see similar information, i.e., which datastores your server is connected to, by first clicking the Configuration tab, then Storage. Select the datastore itself (e.g. datastore1) to see even more datastore details.

ESX server connected to a local datastore

Again, you see that ours is connected to datastore1. You now also see that our datastore1 is actually a local datastore. We have yet to connect to a SAN datastore.

The next step is to set the iSCSI software adapter to connect to your iSCSI SAN. Start by clicking Storage Adapters, then scroll down in the Storage Adapters list until you come to the item named iSCSI Software Adapter. Next, select that item, go to its Details box, and click Properties.

iSCSI software adapter

When the iSCSI Initiator (iSCSI Software Adapter) Properties window appears, click the Configure button. Notice that the Software Initiator Properties Status is still Disabled at this point.

iSCSI initiator properties window

In the General Properties window, just check the Enabled checkbox and click OK.

General properties window

Notice now that the Software Initiator Properties Status is set to Enabled. Notice also that your ESX server is given an IQN name.

Enabled software initiator

The next thing to do is to configure a discovery type for iSCSI. The easier option is Dynamic Discovery. To set that, go to the Dynamic Discovery tab and click the Add button.

iSCSI initiator properties

When the Add Send Target Server dialog box appears, enter the IP address for the iSCSI Server. In this case, this is just the IP address of your Iomega SAN. Click OK to confirm.

iSCSI Server IP address

This will allow dynamic discovery of iSCSI targets from that IP address. You'll see the newly added IP address in the Dynamic Discovery tab. Click the Close button to proceed.

IP address for dynamic discovery

When you're asked whether a rescan should be performed, click Yes.

Rescan?

If you inspect the iSCSI Software Adapter again by clicking it, you'll see that a new set of LUNs have been added. These are the two iSCSI disks that were shared out in the Iomega SAN.

New LUNs for iSCSI adapter

However, if you inspect the datastores of your ESX server by clicking Storage, you won't see the volume you created earlier in there yet.

In case you're wondering, the 500-GB Iomega SAN (499.75 GB capacity) you see on the screenshot below is not our newly created volume. We know this because the one on the screenshot only has 302.30 GB free, which is not what you would expect from a newly created 500-GB volume. What you see is actually the volume named 'vSphereDataStore', which already existed before our new volume was created.

Storage datastores for esx server

Formatting the New iSCSI Volume

To add your newly created 500-GB volume to this list of datastores, just click Add Storage.

Add storage to ESX datastores

In the Add Storage dialog box, select Disk/LUN for the Storage Type and click Next.

Add storage disk LUN

When you'll be asked to select a LUN, select the volume you created earlier. If you don't know which one it is (assuming there are many), recall the IQN you jotted down from an earlier step and select the volume with that IQN. Click Next when you're done.

Select a LUN

You'll then be informed that the disk is blank and that a partition will be created and used. Click Next.

Current disk layout

Give the datastore a name, e.g. Iomega-500GB-LUN2. Click Next.

Give the datastore a name

Select a suitable file size. Click Next.

Choose a maximum file size

Review the disk layout to make sure everything's set just the way you want it, then click Finish.

Review the disk layout

With that, the LUN will be formatted and then added to the server. After it's added, you'll see it in the list of datastores for your ESX server.

New LUN added to ESX server list of datastores

Migrating a VM to the Iomega SAN using SVMotion

In the last leg of this tutorial, we'll migrate a VM to the Iomega SAN using SVMotion.

Select the VM you want to migrate. For example, in the screenshot below, the VM we're about to migrate is named Filetransfer and it presently resides in datastore1 of esx3. Right-click on the VM you want to migrate and select Migrate.

Selecting a VM to migrate

You'll then be brought to the Migrate Virtual Machine window. Since our intention is to move the virtual machine to another datastore, select Change datastore. Click Next.

Select migration type for the VM

In the next window, select the destination datastore. In our example, it's Iomega-500GB-LUN2. Click Next.

Select destination datastore

In the Disk Format window, you'll be asked to select the format in which the virtual disks will be stored. Choose whatever best suits you. In our case, we selected Thin provision format. Click Next.

Select disk format

If everything looks fine in the summary, click Finish.

Complete VM migration

That was a pretty long process but at last you're done. Enjoy!

Get our content first. In your inbox.

Loading form...

If this message remains, it may be due to cookies being disabled or to an ad blocker.

Contributor

David Davis

David has authored over 50 courses for Pluralsight around enterprise data center technologies such as cloud computing, virtualization, and (especially) VMware vSphere. He is a partner at ActualTechMedia.com where he creates compelling enterprise technology content, moderates online events, and helps to connect some of the best-known technology companies in the industry with the end user community. With over 20 years in enterprise technology, he has served as an IT Manager, administrator, and instructor. David is an 11x VMWare vExpert, VCP, VCAP, & CCIE# 9369.