vSAN iSCSI Target with vSphere 6.7

With vSAN 6.7 iSCSI target, shared disks hosted on vSAN  can now be presented to Virtual Machines on the same vSAN cluster and do officially support Microsoft WSFC. This mean s that we can now offer highly available File Servers and SQL servers without the customer having to purchase shared storage. vSAN features such as deduplication, compression and storage policies are all supported. In this blog post we are going to go through how to get it setup, test it and highlight some of it’s limitations

iSCSI vSAN Networking

We are going to create a distributed port group and a vmkernel port group to isolate the iSCSI traffic.

I created a VMkernel Adapter on each hypervsior and assigned it to the  SDDC-vSAN-iSCI port group.

Enable iSCSI Target Service

Click on the cluster object > Configure > Services > vSAN iSCI Target Service > Edit > Enable the service then click apply

Create iSCSI Target

Now that the  service is enabled we can go-ahead and create an iSCSI Target.  To create iSCSI Target select  Cluster > Configure > iSCSI Target > Add

Leave the IQN blank so the system can auto generate it.

Create LUNs

To create iSCSI LUNs select  Cluster > Configure > iSCSI Target > Select the iSCSI Target > Add LUN

Choose an ID if you need it to be different from the system generated one, choose an Alias, the size of the LUN and the storage policy that you would like to apply.

Create Initiator Group

By default, all the initiators are allowed to connect with target. We need to create initiator group to restrict the access of VIT target

Cluster > Configure > iSCSI Target > Initiator Groups

Click Add

Choose a group name and add the member initiator name of you Windows servers. Also, add the target group that we configured above.

The setup is now complete from vSphere. Let’s do some testing.

Windows File Server Cluster Testing

I have a couple of Windows 2016 VMs to test with. I have configured MPIO with a policy of Failover and configured a file cluster

Below is the configuration of the vSAN iSCSI LUNs from a Windows perspective.

My file cluster settings

Ownership change

Let’s now test if can change the cluster node owner. Currently, the owner node is Win-FB0DV3TONQA, let’s change it to the other node of our cluster

The new owner is now Win-9P9RG2FVAO1 and is Online.

Simulate a node failure

Currently node Win-9P9RG2FVAO1 is the owner node. We are going to go ahead an reboot it to simulate a failure

As soon as the node went offline, the other node took over

Simulate an ESXi Host failure

In vSphere, hyp03 is showing as I/O owner host. We are going to reboot it to simulate a planned or unplanned event: and check the impact on the Windows Cluster

I initiated the reboot. Notice the I/O owner has now changed to hyp02

The cluster nodes stayed online

With iSCSI MPIO and the configured failover policy the cluster recovered automatically.

I hope this post was helpful and thank you for reading.

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