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VMWARE ESXI CONFIGURE (VSWITCH) VMKERNEL NETWORK PORT FOR ISCSI STORAGE

July 6, 2017 08:13PM

Series Parts
MICROSOFT WINDOWS 2012 R2 ISCSI TARGET STORAGE SERVER FOR ESXI AND HYPERV 
POWERSHELL INSTALLING AND CONFIGURING MICROSOFT ISCSI TARGET SERVER
VMWARE ESXI CONFIGURE (VSWITCH) VMKERNEL NETWORK PORT FOR ISCSI STORAGE
POWERCLI: VMWARE ESXI CONFIGURE (VSWITCH) VMKERNEL NETWORK PORT FOR ISCSI STORAGE
VMWARE ESXI INSTALL AND CONFIGURE SOFTWARE ISCSI STORAGE ADAPTER FOR VMFS VERSION 6 DATASTORE
POWERCLI VMWARE: CONFIGURE SOFTWARE ISCSI STORAGE ADAPTER AND ADD VMFS DATASTORE
VMWARE VCENTER STORAGE MIGRATE/SVMOTION VM AND PORT BINDING MULTIPATHING TESTING
POWERCLI: VIRTUAL MACHINE STORAGE MIGRATE/SVMOTION AND DATASTORE PORT BINDING MULTIPATHING

Starting from my earlier article on iSCSI Target server creation on Windows server 2012 R2, Before configuring storage on Esxi, I must have networking configured.

vmware vsphere vcenter esxi, virtual switches vmkernel vms iscsi storage design architecture port binding, design.png

When using iSCSI protocol for VMFS storage configuration, ESXi server must have VMKernel port added and configured, By default there is a management port exist, It can also be used for iSCSI configuration (Not at all recommended), but for best practices always  isolate storage traffic with separate physical adapters if you are using 1 Gig network adapters. Try to keep and use separate network adapters for iSCSI Storage if possible use physical switches also separate from VM and other traffic if possible, (Now a days using 10 Gig network adapter hardware is common practice and if ESXi virtual networking designed and architected with distributed virtual switches properly only 2 network adapter in Esxi Servers are enough to perfectly handle all load of VM, vMotion, iSCSI stroage and other network flow with segregation using Distributed Virtual Switches), For this demo I am using Standard vSwitches and I have 4 one Gigabit Ethernet adapters in my Esxi server. 

As per the above visio diagram, I will install additional two standard vSwitchs, I will be concentrating only on creating and configuring iSCSI VMKernel ports and its isolated vSwitch. As you can see I have four physical adapters vmnics, three unassigned, I am using selected vmnic2 for this part, in the next part I am going to use same process using vSphere Powercli. 

Adapters list can be viewed on ESXi server >> Configuration tab >> Networking >> Physical adapters.

VMWare vSphere vCenter Esxi Server Configuration Networking Physical adapters vmnics, Used and unused

Once I know which Adapters are free and unassigned, Go to Configure tab on Esxi, choose Networking >> Virtual Switches, Here I can see there is by default vSwitch0 created, I am not touching it, click the 4th step to create new standard vSwitch >> Add host networking. New Add Networking popup box open, in the select connection type, choose VMkernel Network Adapter, (The VMkernel TCP/IP stack handles traffic for ESXi services such as vSphere vMotion, iSCSI, NFS, FCOE, Fault Tolerance, Virtual SAN and host management), Click next.

VMWare vSphere vCenter Esxi Server virtual Switches Add Host Networking Select Connection type VMKernel Network Adapter .png

Under select target device, As this is my new deployment, choose new standard switch, (select an existing standard switch option for if you want to add VMKernel port to existing vSwitch), click next.

In the next 3rd step, Assign adapter by clicking green plus sign, Select free vmnic2 (already decided above), It will be added to selected Active Adapter failover order group list, here I can see either CDP (Cisco Discovery Protocol) or LLDP (Link Layer Discovery Protocol), Physical port and switch information for the NIC also PCI location. (This is also a good way to know that I using correct vmnic). If you want to use single switch and and 2 vmkernel nics and 2 vmnics you will have to adjust the failover order group (active adpaters and unused adapter), Here in the later chapter I am configuring separate standard switch for another VMKernel and Physical adapter. 

Here is some nice whitepaper from vmware https://www.vmware.com/content/dam/digitalmarketing/vmware/en/pdf/whitepaper/iscsi_design_deploy-whitepaper.pdf

VMWare vSphere vCenter Esxi Server add networking,create new Standard switch Assign free physical adapters vmnics, active, standby, unused adapters, Add physical adapters to switch, esxi physical nic adapter properties, CDP and LLDP

Next step is important, Provide it label name, and VLAN ID, in most of the cases for storage vmkernel port other settings are not required to be configured. Here I see new option TCP/IP stack, It gives me option to provide different gateway and I can make storage network traffic routable (I am not recommending this option), also do not enable and share other available services on same VMkernel port, do not merge other traffic as other network can choke storage traffic, click next.

VMWare vSphere vCenter Esxi Server add networking configuration Port Properties, specify VMKernel port settings, Network label, VLAN ID, IP Settings, TCP IP stack, available services vmotion, provisioning, ft, management replication, vsan, virtual san, vsphere replication nfc, fault tolerance logging

Configure static IPV4.

VMWare vSphere vCenter Esxi Server add networking configuration VMKERNEL IPv4 Setting, Default gateway override, tcp ip stack, dns server addresses, static and dynamic ip

This is the last screen of Add networking, Review settings of selection before finishing the wizard, and click finish, I reviewed my settings all looks good.

It takes few seconds, and results are visible under Esxi >> Configuration >> Networking >> Virtual Switches, Select vSwitch1. It shows Nice graphical view of virtual network.

VMware vSPHERE web client vcenter esxi vswitch, virtual switches, standard switch, iSCSI, Physical adapters diagram

In the last make sure you have configured maximum (9000) MTU setting on the interface as well as Physical switch (MTU settings should be configured end to end)., If your switch don't have maximum MTU configured, below steps can be ignore, one thing to note, MTU configuration to 9000 is a best practice for iSCSI storage.

For changing MTU size on virtual switch select the vSwitch under Networking expand Virtual Switches, Select the last created vSwitch1. There is edit settings button looks like pencil. Click it. and on the properties choose 9000 amd click Ok to exit.

VMware vSPHERE web client vcenter esxi vswitch, virtual switches, standard switch, edit virtual switch properties, increase MTU, edit settings vmware

I will be configuring same setting on VMkernel adapters as well under Esxi Server>>Configure Tab>>Networking>>VMkernel adapters>> Select vmkernel adapter>> edit settings>>NIC settings>>9000>>Ok.

VMware vSPHERE web client vcenter esxi vswitch, virtual switches, standard switch, edit virtual switch properties, increase change MTU settings on VMKernel Port, NIC settings , edit settings vmware

I have configured only one VMKernel interface in this article, As I am planning for Port binding for redundant storage path,  and need another VMKernel Port which will be creating and configure using Powercli in next series.

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