VMware Solutions Discussions

Using Microsoft Initiator to connect large volume via iSCSI directly to a VM



We recently began using netapp to provision NFS storage to our esxi 4.1 vmware hosts.  We set this up using a virtual switch with 2 physical NICS.  We set load balancing  route based on IP Hash on the virtual switch.  Lacp is setup on 2 cisco switches and on the netapp itself.  This works great for our NFS datastores and provides the redundancy we need.

The question i really have is regarding using iSCSI protocal to the NETAPP through the same virtual switch directly from a virtual machine.  Our reason for needing to do this is to be able to easily provide a volume larger than 2 TB without using CIFS or dynamic disk to concatinate drives together.  I have been able to find best practices for setting up the NFS protocol for NETAPP and that is what we currently have.

However, i have not found much information on how to provide best practices for both protocols and specifically using the Microsoft Initiator to present a iSCSI volume directly to a virtual machine. 

Am i able to use the same virtual switch using LACP for iSCSI? is this the best practice? Or is there a recommended networking setup separate for iSCSI to NETAPP than NFS to NETAPP

Or should i create a separate virtual switch for the iSCSI traffic.

Previously with equalogic iSCSI we used MPIO and setup the virtual switch with multiple vmkernel ports and attached them to individual physical nics. Then installed the HIT kit and allowed multipathing to be handled that way.  It seems to be different with NETAPP or at least it seems you would have to create separate networking to use MPIO properly as the current setup does not really provide for MPIO

I know that NETAPP has a DSM that has similar advantages but have not used that yet either and have not found to many posts about people using it either.

Essentially i am just looking to see if anyone is using NETAPP in a similar fashion and can provide any insight as to how they setup there virtual networking for best practices that include both protocols.  If any of this is confusing, please let me know and i will clarify



Hi There,

I think most of your questions will be covered here:



You should probably use the one for vSphere first. http://www.netapp.com/us/library/technical-reports/tr-3749.html