Mixed EqualLogic and MD3200i design for vSphere storage

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
    • vmk01-vlan10
    • vmk02-vlan20
    • vmk03-vlan30
    • vmk04-vlan10
    • vmk05-vlan40
    • vmk06-vlan50
    • 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

Mixed iSCSI Networking



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.

About timantz

I am a Solutions Architect at SimpliVity, helping people around the country with their virtualization, storage, backup and recovery projects.
Image | This entry was posted in equallogic, iscsi, MD3000i, MD3200i, storage, virtualization, vmware, vSphere and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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