VSAN 6.5 whats’s new – VSAN iSCSI End to End Deployment Guide

In my previous post I have demonstrated how to deploy VMware vCSA 6.5 and enable Native high availability for vCenter Server Appliance, I am going to demonstrate vSAN 6.5 iSCSI support for physical servers in this post. With vSphere  6.5 and vSAN 6.5 you can now you can extend vSAN data stores to physical servers using iSCSI target service. The main use case for extending vSAN support for physical servers is to support legacy non virtualized clustered application which requires RDMs (MSFC for instance). Now customers need not to maintain multiple storage solutions based on applications they run at their data center and unifi. In previous version only virtual machines on the vSAN cluster could access the vSAN. Please refer this link to know more about what’s new VSAN 6.5

First lets setup VMkernel for VSAN traffic. I have already configured virtual switch hence I am skipping vSwitch configuration part.

1. Click on Host >> Configure >> Virtual Switches >> and then Click on Add host networking.new-bitmap-image

2. Select VMKernel Network Adapter option and click Next. untitled

3. Select an existing standard switch ( I have configured it already, vSwitch4 in this case). You may use an existing vDS as well depending your licence. untitled1

4. Enter the Network label of your choice and check  the Virtual SAN option and then click on Next. untitled2

5. Enter the  IP address for hosts in VSAN nodes to communicate and click Next.

6. Review the settings and finally click on Finish,untitled4untitled3

Now that we have created VMkernel for VSAN, lets proceed with  enabling VSAN. Please refer the documentation for VSAN design and sizing considerations.

  1. Select the cluster in which you want to enable VSAN, Navigate to Configure >> General >> Virtual SAN and then click on Configure.untitled5

2. Select the Enable check box and click Next.untitled6

3. Review the VSAN network settings on all hosts within the cluster and click on Next. untitled7

4. Select the disks for capacity and cache tier, I have chosen manual method in step 2 of this hence we have to chose the disks manually. Disks will be added to the group automatically If you chose Automatic option in step 2.untitled8

5. At this stage you can create fault domain if you want, I will go ahead with default since this is lab setup.untitled9

6. Finally review the settings and click on Finish to enable the VSAN.untitled10

Now we have  enabled VSAN on a cluster lets verify disk groups and disk format version are proper.

Navigate to the cluster we enabled VSAN on, Navigate to Configure >> Virtual SAN >> General. You should see some thing similar to picture below.untitled13

Validate the disk groups and disks for each host within VSAN cluster are mounted and healthy.

Navigate to the cluster we enabled VSAN on, Navigate to Configure >> Virtual SAN >> Disk Management. You should see some thing similar to picture below.untitled12

Now is active, lets proceed with configuring new VSAN 6.5 feature iSCSI access to physical servers. We need to first enable  iSCSI Target Service, this will enable access to physical nodes to access the VSAN data store using iSCSI protocol. You need to use IP address of one of the nodes within VSAN cluster (VSAN kernel ) in order to access the data stores, I will show how to that in later section of this post.

  1. Navigate to Virtual SAN General Section, Click on Edit option available under  Virtual SAN iSCSI Target Service.


2. Check the Enable VSAN iSCSI target service option, select the default iSCSI network ( VMK 3 in this case, you need to use this network for extending iSCSI to physical nodes outside of VSAN cluster), leave the default TCP port. Select the authentication type ( CHAP, Mutul CHAP or None ). Select the storage policy if you have defined any and Click next OK to enable the service. untitled15

3. Validate the if iSCSI target is active or not by navigating to Virtual SAN General Section.untitled16

4. Lets enable the iSCSI targets by navigating to VSAN iSCSI targets section, click on to create the target. untitled17

5. Enter the target alias, Select the authentication type, LUN ID, LUN alias size and storage policy if any and click OK once done. untitled18

6. Finally validate the iSCSI targets.untitled19

At this stage we have fully functional VSAN setup, its time to map VSAN LUN on a node which is outside of VSAN cluster. I have a Windows 2012 host with one NIC configured on a network same VSAN network in this post.  untitled5

Launch the software iSCSI initiator. You can chose dedicated physical iSCSI adapters of your choice for your production (Qlogic, Broadcom etc). untitled6

Navigate to Discovery tab in iSCSI initiator application click on Discovery portal, enter the portal IP address  ( One of the VSAN node, multiple IP addresses with iSCSI multipath is recommended for production use cases ).untitled7

You will see target is getting discovered ( This is the same iSCSI target we created in VSAN configuration section of this post ).untitled8

Click on connect to to connect the target. Click OK to complete.untitled9

Now the iSCSI target should show as connected.untitled10

Now you should see the LUN on Server disk management. and its VMware VSAN disk. How Cool is that !!  untitled11

Thank you for reading.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *