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Hey everyone, I have recently been getting into VMware, running RHEL4 as the guest OS on VMware Workstation (running on my laptop). Currently, I run three RedHat boxes and one ...
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  1. #1
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    Question vmware SAN virtualization


    Hey everyone,

    I have recently been getting into VMware, running RHEL4 as the guest OS on VMware Workstation (running on my laptop). Currently, I run three RedHat boxes and one Solaris box all talking to each other within the virtual environment. I wanted to know if anyone knew what tools I could use to virtualize a SAN storage for my growing network.

    What release/product of VMware supports this (for use in a windows, laptop environment)? Is there maybe a "how-to" out there on how to set up a virtual SAN?

    I have never used SAN before and needed to be guided in the right direction.

    ~NB

  2. #2
    Linux Newbie athlon_crazy's Avatar
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    get iscsi-target

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    What is the link you provided? Is iscsi-target available on that site? Thanks for the quick reply by the way!!

    ~NB

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    A SAN is just a big SCSI bus with lots of initiators and targets (to explain it simply.) Fiber channel just encapsulates SCSI commands. The targets are devices that receive commands (tape drives, disk drives, disk arrays, etc.) and initiators are the devices sending commands (mainly fiber HBA's.)

    VMWare Workstation/Server has no ability to "virtualize" a SAN (altho the next release of ESX may have support for adding HBA's to the virtual machines.) To any OS, a disk from the array on the SAN is just another disk to be accessed. So RH will just show a disk device under /proc/scsi/scsi. The part that VMWare can't do is add an "HBA" device that the RH VM sees as a fiber HBA.

    If your quest for a SAN is to play with clustering technologies, you *can* create VMWare disks (VMDK files) that are shared between multiple VM's. I have not found any clustering that requires shared disks that doesn't work in VMWare. I have used it for MSCS, VCS, and NetWare clustering. (Altho Win2008 MSCS will not work due to SCSI-3 shared disk requirement.)

    The VMWare Server documentation describes how to set up shared disks in VMWare for clustering use.

    HTH.

  5. #5
    Linux Newbie athlon_crazy's Avatar
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    Up the 4th node as iscsi-target using either :

    For windows
    Win iSCSI Target download from Networking category

    For Linux
    SourceForge.net: iSCSI Enterprise Target

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by athlon_crazy View Post
    Up the 4th node as iscsi-target using either :

    For windows
    Win iSCSI Target download from Networking category

    For Linux
    SourceForge.net: iSCSI Enterprise Target
    Hmmm...not sure why you would install beta, third-party software *and* add another virtual machine to get access to shared disks via i-SCSI when VMWare supports creating shared disks natively.



    To each his own...

  7. #7
    Linux Newbie athlon_crazy's Avatar
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    coz:

    - nvr try vmware shared drive
    - iscsi-target work like a charm
    - to feel real SAN environment

  8. #8
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    I understand your first 2 points, but this is bad information:

    "...to feel real SAN environment"

    Fiber HBA's, and specialized iSCSI controllers (hardware) are not emulated by VMWare inside virtual machines. The only thing that the (software) iSCSI initiator inside the VM is getting access to is a shared disk. Without any further software, this is the same thing VMWare can do natively. (Shared disks in VMWare go at least as far back as Workstation version 3.X)

    Both of these will give you shared disks in order to use clustering, but neither is an emulation of a "SAN environment."

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    Virtual SAN

    I appreciate all this info, thanx!!

    HRO, if you are talking about shared disks in VMware, I am aware of this --> (how to create a "vmdk" disk of which multiple vm's can use/point to)...and have actually done it. Is this similar to SAN storage array technology? My interest lies in providing a SAN learning environment whereas I may practice and add this skillset concerning what jobs look for in a Unix/Linux admin. Will I have to wait until VMware implements support for such an environment?

    Also, Athlon, I plan on looking more into this iscsi-target that you mentioned.

    ~NB

  10. #10
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    Again, it depends on what you're looking for.

    If you want to create clusters, yes, VMWare can do this.

    If you want to install/configure HBA's, verify the drivers using lsmod, look at /proc/scsi/qla2xxx, configure zoning on fiber switches, etc., then no, VMWare cannot do this.

    HTH.

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