Configuring QNAP for VMware iSCSI

As part of the vSpecialistLabv2 set-up, I recently purchased a QNAP 459 Pro II NAS, with the purpose if connecting it via iSCSI to the physical and virtual hosts in the rest of the lab.

The main part of the configuration of this device is to configure the QNAP storage for iSCSI for use with ESXi.

Pre-requisites:

  • Do the basic set-up of the QNAP device, using the configuration wizard. (See the QNAP manual).
  • Assign the network information to the device, and ascertain successful basic network connectivity. (See the QNAP manual).
  • Update the firmware to the latest version. (Easiest way is to use the auto-update feature in the admin GUI). (This how-to was done using firmware 3.7.3 Build 20120801).

Process:

1) Connect-to and login via the QNAP GUI with admin credentials.

2) Under Home menu on left, select ‘Disk Management’ then ‘iSCSI’.

3) On the ‘Portal Management’ tab, enable the ‘iSCSI Target Service’, leave the port number as default.

4) Select the ‘Target Management’ tab.

5) Click the ‘Quick Configuration Wizard’ button.

6) Select ‘iSCSI Target with mapped LUN’.

7) Click Next to confirm the wizard actions.

8) Give the target name and target alias names consistent with the environment. (In this example, I’m using ‘vsldatastore04’). The target IQN will be completed automatically.

9) CHAP. Because this is a lab and I’m not using CHAP authentication yet, this is blank. Click Next.

10) Choose the LUN allocation, LUN name, disk allocation, and LUN size. (I’m choosing thin provisioning, LUN name – consistent with target name and alias above, and 1TB size).

11) Confirm the settings required, click Next to create the LUN. When complete, click Finish to return to the GUI. Under the iSCSI list, the new LUN should be now listed with the status as ‘Ready’.

This is the end of the QNAP part of the connection. Now we need to configure each ESXi host (I’m using vCenter 5 and ESXi 5) to connect to the new iSCSI LUN.

1) Connect to your vCenter server using vSphere client with admin credentials.

2) Select the ESXi host, then select Configuration tab / storage adapters. If this is the first time you are using an iSCSI connection for this host, you may need to add a software adapter for your host. To do this, click the Add… link, then select iSCSI software adapter. Once added, it should appear under the Storage Adapters.

3) You may also need to enable the storage adapter. Select the iSCSI adapter from the list, then click Properties. If the adapter reports as Disabled, enable it by clicking Configure then checking the Enable box. Click OK to confirm.

4) There are 2 ways to configure iSCSI discovery – dynamic and static. We shall be using the dynamic method. On the configure screen, select the Dynamic Discovery tab. Click Add to add an additional iSCSI host. This will be the IP address of the NAS server (mine is 192.168.1.10). Use the port number defined in QNAP config. step 3 above – 3260 if you left it as default. As I mentioned before, I’m not using CHAP so this was left un-configured.

5) Confirm that the iSCSI server has been added, by checking the new server is listed.

6) I now usually rescan the storage adapters, but this isn’t always a required step. To do this, click Rescan All to rescan for new storage devices and VMFS volumes.

7) Select the Configuration / Storage option. Select Add Storage.

8) Select add Disk / LUN. Click Next. (Ignore the other option for NFS).

9) Select the iSCSI target from the list of available storage. If all has been configured correctly above, your new LUN should appear in the list. You can see in the example the IQN for the iSCSI target includes the datastore / target name specified above, in this case ‘vsldatastore04’. Select the new LUN, click Next.

10) Choose the VMFS version you require for this datastore. As I only have vSphere 5 in the lab, I’ll be using VMFS-5.

11) Confirm the settings applied, click Next.

12) Name the datastore. Give it the consistent name (vsldatastore04 in the example).

13) Select the capacity required (if different from default LUN size). Click Next.

14) Confirm the layout of the LUN options, click Finish to complete the configuration.

15) The new LUN is now available to the host. This process needs to be repeated for all ESXi hosts in the cluster to maintain a consistent configuration. Either this can be done manually by repeating the defined steps above, or can be configured using Host Profiles if your licensing permits. The LUN can also be included in a datastore cluster (version permitting), or used as a standalone vSphere datastore.

Jeremy loves all things technology! Has been in IT for years, loves Macs (but doesn't preach to others about their virtues), loves virtualization (and does shout about it's virtues), and sometimes skis, bikes and directs amateur plays!

Comments

  1. says

    just be careful with iscsi with the QNAP, only very few models support ESXi 5… I myself have had issues with iSCSI and QNAP with esxi 5, kinda upset over that. For me the iscsi luns keep disappearing overtime, and no its not my network.Apparently its a known issue, if you find a work around please o share. I might be testing nfs on ESXi 5 now, I hear that’s pretty stable but still only.

  2. jeremyjbowman says

    Hi Bilal,

    Thanks for the comments. I did investigate this with QNAP beforehand, and the result from the VMware HCL and from their pre-sales tech guys was ‘use a combination of the latest firmware and one of the x59 QNAP models and this will guarantee compatibility with vSphere 5. I’ve been testing this for a few months now, and (fingers crossed) all seems stable at the moment. If I get any issues like you’d had, I’ll report back and talk to friends at QNAP who I might be able to get to investigate. In the meantime, I hope your issues get sorted and NFS works out ok.

    Cheers.
    Jeremy.

  3. says

    Hi Jeremy,
    Will you be coming to VMworld 2012 sf? I would really be interested in finding what you did to keep your side stable. I am running a 459 pro II with 3.7.3 and still have the instability of luns vanishing. I have tried both jumbo on and off with no issues. Also I am running a power connect 2716. When I look at the HCL I only see x69 and x79 approved for esxi 5. Also, only x79 is approved for iSCSI so I am not sure why the pre-sales guys are saying that. Please have a look yourself in case I am missing something:

    http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?deviceCategory=san

    Also, according to what I have been able to put together so far is that X69 and X79 were approved for vSphere 5 after 3.7.2 and here are the build notes:

    http://www.qnap.com/en/index.php?lang=en&sn=848&n=12762&d=1

    Prior to that nothing from QNAP was supported or approved from what I understand. If I am missing something please do point out. I love my QNAP box but the hide and seek I have had to play with esxi 5 and qnap has been very annoying to say the least.

    And a big hello to Michael of course :)

  4. jeremyjbowman says

    Hi Bilal,
    Yes – I’ll be there at SF. Meet up with you at vBeers SF on Saturday – would be great to have a natter! If I can, I’ll pass on your issues to friends at VMware and QNAP to see if a solution can be found!
    Catch you soon.
    Cheers.
    Jeremy.

  5. Todd Simmons says

    Jeremy, I have the TS-239 PRO II+ which I love (upgraded the internal memory to 2 GB). NFS performance is excellent, if I upload the Windows 7 .iso image (3.09 TB) it takes 57s using the vSphere Client Datastore Browser. iSCSI performance is not nearly as good, if I upload the same Windows 7 .iso image (3.09 TB) it takes 10m 03s. Do you have performance issues uploading files to iSCSI LUNs using the datastore browser as well?

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