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Posts Tagged ‘Netapp’

iSCSI Boot with ESXi 5.0 & UCS Blades

December 21, 2011 Leave a comment

UPDATE:: The issue was the NIC/HBA Placement Policy.  The customer had set a policy to have the HBA’s first, then the iSCSI Overlay NIC, then the remaining NICs.  When we moved the iSCSI NIC to the bottom of the list, the ESXi 5.0 installer worked just fine.  I’m not 100% sure why this fix is actually working, but either way it works.

So at a recent customers site i was trying to configure iSCSI Booting of ESXi 5.0 on a UCS Blade, B230 M2.  To make a long story short it doesn’t fully work and isn’t offically supported by Cisco.  In fact, NO blade models are supported for ESXi 5.0 & iSCSI boot by Cisco.  They claim a fix is on the way, and i will post an update when there is a fix.

Here is the exact issue, and my orgianal thoughts, in case it helps anybody;

We got an error installing ESXi 5 to a Netapp LUN.  Got an error “Expecting 2 bootbanks, found 0” at 90% of the install of ESXi. The blade is a B230 M2.

The LUN is seen in BIOS as well as by the ESXi 5 installer.  I even verified the “Details” option, and all the information is correct.

Doing an Alt-F12 during the install and watching the logs more closely today, at ~90% it appears to be unloading a module, that appears by its’ name, to be some sort of vmware tools type package.  As SOON as it does that the installer claims that there is no IP address on the iSCSI NIC and begins to look for DHCP.  The issue is during the configuration of the Service Profile and the iSCSI NIC, at no time did we choose DHCP, we choose static. (We even have tried Pooled)  Since there is no DHCP Server in that subnet it doesn’t pickup an address and thus loses connectivity to the LUN.

So we rebooted the blade after the error, and ESXi5 actually loads with no errors.  The odd thing is that the root password that’s specified isn’t set, it’s blank like ESXi 4.x was.

So an interesting question is what’s happening during that last 10% of the installation of ESXi 5??  Since it boots cleanly, it almost seems like it does a sort of “sysprep” of the OS, ie all the configuration details.  If that’s the only issue then it might technically be ok.  However I don’t get the “warm and fuzzies”.  My concern would be that, maybe not today but down the road some module that wasn’t loaded correctly will come back to bite the client.

Also, what is happening in that last 10% that’s different then ESXi 4.x??  We were able to load 4.1 just fine with no errors.

Again we called Cisco TAC and we were told that ESXi 5 iSCSI booting wasn’t supported on any blade.  They do support 4.1 as well as Windows, and a variety of Linux Distos.

Configuring iSCSI boot on a FlexPod

December 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Here is a nice document to follow to configure iSCSI booting for a FlexPod, ie. UCS Blades, NetApp array & ESXi.

UPDATE: This document has the fix i found for ESXi 5.0.  This was tested on B230 M2’s and seems to work every time.

This document will be updated as i get new information.

FlexPod iSCSI Boot-Fixed

Direct Connected Fiber Storage to UCS

August 24, 2011 Leave a comment

So i’ve come across this recently.  I have a client that is direct connecting the Fiber from their NetApp array to the 6120’s of the UCS.

The issue that has been raised is that this is not technically supported.  As is seems Cisco releases with the 1.4.1 firmware release that you can absolutely do this.  However there is a caveat, it’s supported by Cisco as long as the storage vendor will support it.

The biggest problem is that NetApp did support it, but they don’t any longer.  So it seems Cisco was left holding the ball when NetApp walked away.

So if your running a NetApp array that is direct connected to their UCS w/o an MDS or even a 5548 with the FC module, its no longer technically supported and you very well may run into issues if you need Vendor support.

For those not familiar with direct connecting the storage i’ll give a little but of information on it, as well as some of my experiences with it and some tips on making it “work” with UCS.

So inside the 6120 there is effectivly a very very dumb MDS switch.  There is no Zoning, it is all 1 big zone, you do vSANs, but obviously no inter-vSAN routing, no security, no real way of even getting any initiator/target information for troubleshooting purposes.

In order to even use the functionality, you must change the Fiber portion of the switch from “End-Host Mode” to “Switch Mode”.  This is EXTREMELY similar in method and functionality to switching the Network side to “Switch Mode”.

You MUST also make sure to select the default vSAN that is created upon inital set-up, and enable “Default Zoning”

Intersting note you MUST absolutely make sure the HBA name in the Boot Policy is the EXACT same as the HBA name in the HBA Template, or it won’t boot.
So again, in my opinion if you can avoid direct connecting your SAN storage to the 6120, please avoid it, at least until UCS 2.0 comes out  🙂