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Sunday, November 28, 2010

How to turn your old servers into shared iSCSI Storage for VMWare


On many occasions after server consolidation into Virtualized environment, there are left over pieces of "iron" servers laying around that are useless and leaves the IT engineering staff with ideas of what can we do with these servers. Many times these servers have nice CPU configurations (dual Quad core) and/or lot's of storage with decent performance 15K SAS drives.

One option is to turn one or more of these servers into a Shared storage device that can be used within a VMWare infrastructure as shared storage for backups, utility VM servers or a test environment for test/dev servers. CPU and memory requirements are minimal (2+ Ghz Single or Dual cores and 2-4 GB Ram) and the setup is very easy. There are a couple of open source Linux utilities that even support Bonded interfaces with Jumbo frames to enhance the overall performance.

There is an Open Source Linux utility called OpenFiler. This utility supports many interfaces and is ideal for iSCSI shared storage. I recently had a couple of ESX servers (DL380G7's) that had approximately 1.2TB extra storage each (ordered way to much local storage for ESX servers). I used OpenFiler to create shared lun's for Veeam backups and a VDI test environment, by building OpenFiler VM's and created (4) 256G Luns on each VM on the ESX servers. Now I had 2TB shared storage to use for backups and Test/Dev environments.

Anyway, below are the (2) links you can use as reference to build your environments. Works great!! Just follow the steps.

OpenFiler Information:

VMware Configuration Instructions:

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