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Enabling iSCSI Software Initiator & Creating the Networking

I’ve been recently tasked with recreating my Dev environment. Since the addition of all the new servers and SANs, I keep inheriting hardware so why not take advantage. Here’s how I’ve been setting up iSCSI connections when using the built in iSCSI software initiator.

NOTE: I use a completely separate physical switch and therefore separate NICs for iSCSI traffic.

Start by going to the “Configuration” tab, clicking on the “Networking” section, and then clicking on the “Add Networking…” option:
Adding Networking

Add the Connection Type “VMkernel”:
VMkernel Connection

Add the NIC or NICs that are going to be connecting to the iSCSI network:
Adding in the NICs

Add a Network Label:
Network Label

Give the port an IP address and subnet mask that will work with your iSCSI connection:

Verify that everything looks good and click “Finish”:

That completes the networking portion of adding an iSCSI connection to your ESXi host

Now to turn on the iSCSI Software Adapter, go to the “Storage Adapters” section of the “Configuration” tab, select the “iSCSI Software Adapter” and then click on the “Properties” link:
Enabling the iSCSI Software Adapter

Verify that the “Software Initiator Properties” status is disabled, then click on “Configure”:
Disabled by Default

Check the box next to “Enabled” and then click “OK”:
Enable the Software Initiator

You will now see that the Initiator status reads “Enabled” and that it has been given a name:
Verify that it's enabled

We’ll now add in the already active targets. Start by clicking on the “Dynamic Discovery” tab and click the “Add…” button:
Adding Targets

Fill in the IP address of the iSCSI target and the port it uses (3260 is the default iSCSI transmission port):
Adding in Targets

The Dynamic Discovery list will populate with the IPs that you add, once you’ve added them all in, click the “Close” button:

ESXi will then prompt you with a message reading “A rescan of the host bus adapter is recommended for this configuration change. Rescan the adapter?”, click on the “Yes” button:
Rescan the Adapter

After the rescan has completed, click back on the iSCSI Software Adapter and it will show you all of the devices that were found via those target IPs (in this case, 4 disks I setup through Open Filer):

When you have multiple paths available for each device, which I do in this case (3 devices with 3 paths and 1 device with only 1 path), you can have the connection multipathed via Round Robin (a path that is built in with ESXi that helps to allocate the data sent through the path).

To setup multipathing, right click one of the devices that have multiple paths and select the “Manage Paths” option:

On this disk it has 3 separate active paths and all are active, but only one is actually used for I/O:

To change the path selection, click the “Fixed (VMware)” option and change it to “Round Robin (VMware)” and click on the “Change” button:

Now that Round Robin is selected, all the connections will be used for I/O traffic:

Click the close button and repeat on those that are left with multiple paths.

Your iSCSI network should now be fully functional and in operating order

Published inVMware

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