Part Two: Need a free software SAN Solution for VMware ESX Server?

April 3, 2009


Now that we have a working SAN for our VMware Environment, let’s continue with the bulk of the work which is configuring Openfiler to work with VMware ESX Server.

When we left off the other day, Openfiler VM should have been powered on and the the management console screen should look similar to this:

***Make sure DHCP is enabled in your environment

open filer console

One thing you will notice is that is that a dynamic IP address was obtained, this can be adjusted from the Web administration GUI and I will touch more on this later.

So let’s go ahead and open a web browser and connect to the Web administration GUI.

gui login

The default Username is openfiler and the Password is password.

Once you are logged in, you will arrive at the Status page.

The first thing we can do is adjust the clock settings.  To do this, choose the System tab up top and you will see in the picture below an example of the right side of the screen underneath the System section where there is a link to to Clock Setup.

clock setup I


After browsing to the Clock Setup page, you can see that the system clock and time zone can be set manually or synchronized with a NTP timeserver (a few NTP servers are even listed as examples).

clock setup 3

Now we can move along and configure the Local Area Network settings.  to do this, simply browse to the Network Setup link underneath the System section to the right.

You will see that there are several sections that need to be modified:


First you will want to assign a Hostname, DNS servers for name resolution and a Default Gateway (as seen below).

***Be sure to add an A Record onto your DNS Server.


Next you will want to configure a static IP address as opposed to the dynamic IP address obtained earlier.  Underneath the Network Interface Configuration section you will see your current interface settings and you will notice that the Boot Protocol is set to DHCP, let’s go ahead and change that by clicking on Configure underneath the Edit column:


You will need to select Static from inside the following drop down box:


Assign your static IP address, Netmask and MTU settings and click on confirm.


You will return to the Network Settings page and you will notice that your static interface has now been created.

The last section, Network Access Configuration can be used add additional network interfaces, by choosing a Name for the interface, set your Network/Host and Netmask and choose Share as seen below:netsetup8

Okay, so now we should have Network Interface up and running, you should now be able to ping the static IP address you assigned:


We can now continue on and configure our Volumes, If you browse to the Volumes tab up top, you will arrive to the Volumes Section.


the first thing we will want to do is create a physical volume, to do this, open up the virtual machine settings from inside VMware Workstation for your Openfiler virtual appliance.

You will notice you currently only have 1 virtual disk.  Let’s click on Add as seen below:


This will bring up the Add Hardware Wizard, choose Hard Disk and click Next:


This will bring up the Select a Disk Wizard, you can choose Create a new virtual disk, Use an existing disk or Use a physical disk.  We are going to Create a new virtual disk and click Next.


The Select a Disk Type window will now appear, leave the Virtual disk type set to SCSI, additionally, you can enable Independent if you do not want your physical SAN storage to be affected by snapshots.  Click Next.


The Specify Disk Capacity window will now open, set your Disk size, notice the option for Allocate all disk space now, this is important, if you want to assign a maximum capacity, but do not want to allocated all of the disk space immediately, leave this option unchecked.  This is great if you are only planning on using Openfiler in a testing or lab environment.  Choose Next.


The Specify Disk File window will now appear, you can either leave the vmdk file located locally with the virtual machine files or choose a new location to store the vmdk file.  In my case, I chose a new location on a different disk where I had more available free space to accommodate 100Gb.  Once this is set, click Finish.


Now, let’s return to the Openfiler Web administration GUI and return to the Network section where he left off.  From here, let’s choose create new physical volumes from the Create New Volume Group section.


This will bring up the Block Device Management section and you will now see a list of your physical drives.  We are going to create a partition on the newly created virtual disk we created in the previous step, so underneath the Edit Disk column, choose the virtual disk you just recently created.


The Create a partition window will not appear, choose the proper settings for your environment and choose Create.


If you return to the Volumes Section up top, you will see the Create a new volume group section.  We now want to create a volume group, assign a Volume group name, check the physical volume and click Add volume group as seen below.


The newly created Volume Group will now appear in the Volume Group Management section up top.


Return to the Volumes Section above once more and the newly created Volume Group it appears along with a pie chart displaying the individual volumes located inside the selected volume group.

Below the pie chart is an alert that no existing volumes were found, let’s click on Add Volume underneath the Volumes Section panel to the right.


Choose the volume group you want to create a volume in up top, then scroll down to the Create a volume section and chose a Volume Name, give it a description if desired, allot the amount of Required Space, in this case I am allotting the full size of the physical disk.  Choose iSCSI for the Filesystem/Volume type and click Create.


Return to the Volumes tab up top, and the new volume will appear as seen below:


Now let’s browse to the Services tab up top.  You will notice in the Manage Services window that iSCSI target server is currently disabled, let’s go ahead and enable it.

manage services

After iSCSI target server is enabled, return to the Volumes tab up top. Under the Volumes section panel to the right, choose iSCSI Targets.

The Add new iSCSI Target window will open, let’s go ahead and Add the Target IQN.


Nowreturning to the Target Configuration tab, you will see the newly created iSCSI target listed.


Now there are a couple of iSCSI settings we need to look at, first, let’s click on the Network ACL tab, you will see currently that iSCSI host access is denied to the local Network/Host.  From here we could Allow access to the network, but for now let’s take a look at the CHAP Authentication tab.


From the CHAP Authentication window, a username and password can be assigned for incoming or outgoing Users.  I opted to use the Network ACL instead so lets browse back to the Network ACL tab.


Back at the Network ACL tab, I went ahead and modified the Access drop down box to Allow and clicked update.


Now if we browse to the Status tab up top, there is an iSCSI Targets option underneath the Status section panel to the right.  Let’s go ahead and click on this and the iSCSI status window will now appear confirming are Open sessions along with the IQN used to identify this Openfiler iSCSI Server.


Congratulations!  We are now 1 step closer.  Come back for the 3rd and final steps for adding are newly created iSCSI storage to the ESX server.


One comment

  1. Thanks for the great article, I want to change my IP, Thanks.

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