Over the years, I have come across several SMB customers running vSphere on iSCSI. While a majority of them opt for EqualLogic storage, some have existing MD3000i/MD3200i SANs that have been the workhorse Dell storage solution for years. One question I that comes up often is ‘Can I run both EqualLogic and MD3200i SANs for vSphere?’
There is a simple way to configure both MS3200i and EqualLogic storage in the same iSCSI network while utilizing only 2 physical NICs for SAN traffic on each vSphere host.
iSCSI SAN Switch Configuration
- Create 5 Vlans on your redundant SAN switches.
- vlan10- EqualLogic
- vlan20- MD (A)
- vlan30- MD (B)
- vlan40- MD (C)
- vlan50- MD (D)
- All ports designated for vSphere host connectivity should be trunk ports with all iSCSI Vlans.
- Ports designated for EqualLogic should be access ports on VLAN10- EqualLogic.
- Ports designated for MD3200i should be access ports on the appropriate VLAN.
vSphere vSwitch Configuration
- Create 6 x vKernel ports for iSCSI connectivity
- Bind vmk01, vmk02, and vmk03 to pNIC1
- Bind vmk04, vmk05, and vmk06 to pNIC2
Configure storage as per Dell MD3200i Deployment Guide for ESXi 5 http://dell.to/SYILt6
Configure storage as per EqualLogic Configuration Guide http://bit.ly/16NNR4N
This will offer the best redundancy available while utilizing only 2 pNICs for iSCSI storage. If your hosts have additional pNICs available, you can break out the EqualLogic ports (vmk01 and vmk04) onto two pNICs. On the other 2 pNICs, bind vmk02 and vmk03 to pNIC3 and vmk05 and vmk06 to pNIC4. Of course, you could always put them on separate pNICs if you have the spare capacity.