Friday, 10 December 2010

VMWare iSCSI targets with FreeNAS

Due to budgets (I think I remember what they are, its been so long since I had one with anything left in it..... :) we do not have the money to get a decent SAN system for our VMWare environment at this point. Local storage works fine - its not as flexible as a SAN and we loose some functionality but it is fast enough and reliable.  However as we have just purchased Veeam Essentials for backup of our virtual machines I thought it would be worth trying a few things out to see how it would work. Definitly a productive exercise as although not as fast as the directly attached storage it gives us more flexibility and having a few hundred spare GB for testing is very useful as speed is not such a big issue there.

Steps required to get this going:
  1. Install FreeNas and setup iSCSI target, a good guide (ignoring the first bit which deals with installing it in a virtual environment) is here: 
  2. Setup Win7 to connect to iSCSI (if you want to for testing).
  3. Setup VMWare ESXi to connect to the iSCSI target: 
  4. Profit!
If you are using Veeam to do backups you can increase the backup speed greatly by allowing Veeam to connect directly to the iSCSI target rather than using the ESXi host as a proxy. This also reduces the workload on the ESXi host. so is a good thing all round. Handy guide to doing this here:

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