vSphere Storage Appliance

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  • 1.  NFS or ISCSI

    Posted Aug 05, 2010 02:27 PM

    How should i connect the NAS box to the ESX Hosts?

    not sure which is better then the other..we only have two nics in our esx hosts.


  • 2.  RE: NFS or ISCSI

    Posted Aug 05, 2010 02:35 PM

    I don't think you can go wrong with either of them and I don't think either holds large performance advantage over the other. I recommend doing a lot of reading and testing to see which one you are comfortable with.


    Thread on the same subject. http://communities.vmware.com/message/1326752;jsessionid=CEA7ED901635A566A8728B949BDF9642

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  • 3.  RE: NFS or ISCSI

    Posted Aug 05, 2010 02:37 PM

    My preference is for iSCSI over NFS due (at least in part) to NFS's limitation of only allowing you to use thin provisioned VMDK files. With iSCSI you can go either thin or thick at will. There are many cases where you want to use thick provisioned disks still.

    A lot also has to do with what storage you're using, or plan to use. I would advise getting some additional NIC's for the host servers no matter which option you go with. Unless you're only running a few VM's on each host, you'll want/need the bandwith segregation of using different NIC's... Such as one for the management network, one for VM Network, and at least one (or two) for iSCSI/NFS/SAN traffic. If you have two slots open on the host servers, I would go for dual, dual port Intel NIC's (Gb of course, and on the HCL). I would put one port from each NIC into the vSwitch for the SAN connection, and then use the remaining ports to make the VM Network and Management Network redundant (or load balance the VM Network)... I would also advise using jumbo frames on the iSCSI configuration (if the SAN and your current switches support it)... You'll need to create the vSwitch and port group on the hosts using CLI, not the vSphere Client (you cannot enable jumbo frames from the GUI, at least not yet)...

    Network Administrator

    VMware VCP4

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  • 4.  RE: NFS or ISCSI

    Posted Aug 05, 2010 03:41 PM

    Although I agree that there isn't much to choose from as far as performance is concerned and there are good things to say about both of them I personally like NFS for it's shear simplicity and reliability. If things go wrong with iSCSI connectivity, and they will, you won't have any direct access to the datastore until you have the issues sorted out.

    I have a long relationship with iSCSI since before there were commercial products and really like the technology. If you have a high end iSCSI device with lots of high end features and strong support then by all means. If you don't, go with simplicity.

  • 5.  RE: NFS or ISCSI

    Posted Aug 05, 2010 04:00 PM

    I agree with some of that... I do agree that going with a quality SAN is critical, no matter which protocol you use to connect to it. I've had nothing but excellent results with the EqualLogic product. By the same token, I've had recent exposure to some really crappy storage (Infortrends boxes) that were both setup poorly, and are problematic to say the least (and to be kind)... I would never recommend anyone uses one of their products, since they don't even have phone support.

    IF you need to go cheap, then look for something made by a company that has a long history (and generally good quality product) over one that has just started within the past few years. I would also look to get some customer feedback (check forums and such) on the product line(s) before making the investment... The Promise VessRAID line (especially the iSCSI products) look good... Reach out to their customer support line and ask to speak with an engineer to go over how you are looking to use the product, and they'll help you to get the correct model, and set it up optimally. That product is still on my list for what I'll be getting for my home lab environment...

    What kind of budget, and how much storage, are you looking at? What kind of performance are you looking to get?

    As you can already see, you ask a dozen people what they like for storage, and you'll almost get that many answers back... Some will like one protocol over another, and almost everyone will have a favorite brand (some will also have a few 'hated' brands/lines)...

    I did have a chance to meet with some of the people at EqualLogic not that long ago (in their Nashua, NH location)... They are constantly working on their product, making it better and stronger. They take their VMware certification very seriously, as well as making sure their firmware doesn't break anything when updated. They also constantly look to enhance how their products fit within the virtual environment.

    I do like how you can add more arrays to a group, within the management interface, and gain not only storage space, but performance too. I've done that at one of my past companies, and was impressed by it. For what you spend, there, you get some really excellent features (everything is included, where you have to purchase some of the additional features/functions when going to another storage vendor)...

    You could always try using both protocols in the same storage device... If the device will let you... Then judge for yourself which you like better. Keep in mind, most of the decent arrays will have at least a few different ways to connect into the interface. Such as via SSH, Telnet, or over the LAN into a web interface. Depending on what's going on, or you need to do, you use the correct interface. Such as configure via SSH/Telnet, then perform the general administration via the web interface.

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    VMware VCP4

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