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.
This entry was posted in equallogic, iscsi, MD3000i, MD3200i, storage, virtualization, vmware, vSphere and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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