EqualLogic VMware iSCSI Setup – Part 3: PowerConnect Configuration

PowerConnect 7048 SwitchSo, recently I configured a set of PowerConnect 7048 switches for iSCSI following all the standards and best practices I could find. Actually I had prepared the PowerConnect iSCSI configuration a few months ago, I have been waiting for the Dell experts to confirm the configuration is current best practice and fit for our environment.

Configuring any PowerConnect model is a very similar process, however you must check the switch documentation you downloaded from the portal on part 1 of this guide – there may be a few minor differences. I will note now that PowerConnect 5524/5548 switches are not approved for use in an iSCSI environment and that iSCSI Optimisation should actually be disabled on these switches. Continue reading

EqualLogic VMware iSCSI Setup – Part 2: Network Configuration

SAN LAN Network

The EqualLogic iSCSI network consists of the switches, EqualLogic arrays and ESX hosts, all of which need configuring properly to make the most of each others load balancing, performance and availability features. In terms of the network fabric, there are a few things we need to consider:

  1. High availability – multiple links and switches to provide redundancy
  2. Performance – elimination of bottlenecks
  3. Management – monitoring and management network

This guide can apply to a range of hardware as long as we are using EqualLogic arrays and VMware ESX/ESXi hosts. The switches can be Dell or Cisco for example, as long as they are on the Dell Approved Hardware list. The hardware I used when making this guide is as follows:

  • 2 x PowerConnect 7048
  • 6 x PowerEdge R710
  • 2 x EqualLogic PS6000

Here is some brief detail about my hardware specifications, and how I put the key design considerations mentioned earlier into practice when configuring each component. Continue reading

EqualLogic VMware iSCSI Setup – Part 1: Preparation

Dell VMwareEqualLogic VMware iSCSI setup best practices have gone through many changes recently, fortunately Dell and VMware seem to have partnered well and made some good improvements towards the integration of their products. Development may well settle down now along with the release of ESXi 5.0/5.1 and Dell’s own Multipathing Extension Module (MEM) available to those with Enterprise vSphere licencing.

There is a lot of documentation – whitepapers, manuals and blog posts on the topic of iSCSI setup which can become overwhelming quite quickly.The setup is actually really simple with the correct up to date documentation to hand. The entire process of the SAN network installation can be broken down into the following steps:

  1. SAN fabric design
  2. Switch configuration
  3. Array configuration
  4. Host configuration
  5. Monitoring

Continue reading