Posts Tagged ‘VMware ESX Server 3i’


Installing: Xtravirt Virtual SAN

February 10, 2009

Today we’re looking at the Xtravirt Virtual SAN Appliance (VSA) solution for use with VMware ESX Server 3. It is designed to be a simple to deploy, redundant (DRBD synchronization), high-availability iSCSI SAN between two ESX servers. We are installing it on two ESXi servers, each with local storage, running the latest patch update (3.5.0 build 143129).

Initial Installation

XVS requires a virtual machine import: either using Converter or manual process. We follow the manual process. We used the command line to convert the imported disk into a ESXi-compliant format:

vmkfstools -i XVS.vmdk -d thin XVSnew.vmdk
rm -f XVS.vmdk XVS-*

After conversion, you have a 2GB virtual machine (times two) ready for configuration. We removed the legacy ethernet and hard disk that came with the inventory import. Then add the “existing” disk and new Ethernet (flex) controller.

We then added a 120GB virtual disk to each node using the local storage controllers: LSI 1068SAS (RAID1) for node 1 and NVidia MCP55Pro (RAID1) for node 2. Node 1 and 2 are using the same 250GB Seagate ES.2 (RAID edition) drives. Read the rest of this entry ?


ESXi Firmware Update

February 10, 2009


This release closes an unspecified vulnerability in ESX and ESXi 3.5 that created a host crash when snapshots of corrupt VMDKs were made. This was assigned CVE-2008-4914.

Problems with the following hardware were also addressed:

  • E1000 NICs
  • Broadcom HT-1000 SATA controllers
  • SATA CD/DVD drives
  • SanDisk SD-USB cards
  • 64-bit SLES9 SP3 virtual machines with e1000 drivers
  • Broadcom BCM5700 NICs
  • iSCSI Software Initiator

It also fixes a problem with FC-based N-port ID Virtualization (NPIV) targets used with RDM. The problem caused VM’s with NPIV-based RDM’s to fail (not power on) after removing the world wide name (WWN) assignment. After the patch, the VM powers on even in the absence of the WWN.

For ESXi-on-USB-flash fans, the patch fixes a problem with some SanDisk USB media by updating the usb-storage driver.

For details on the update, see VMware’s Knowledge Base article.


Update: FreeNAS and ESX 3i

February 9, 2009

NOTE: There seems to be a known problem with local pass-through RDM and LSI Logic SCSI controllers related to this post. FreeNAS running on ESX Server 3i using virtual disks from VMFS storage does not exhibit a failure problem, although the logging issue remains.

FreeNAS (0.69) and VMware ESX Server 3i (ESXi) would seem like a good “free as in speech” pairing for low-end virtualization. Unfortunately, the reality is not a good one. Mine’s not the first problem with FreeNAS and VMware.

FreeNAS’s iSCSI target and VMware ESX Server 3i (update 3) get along fine until you push the connection between them. Initially, ESXi finds the target, formats it and appears to be working fine: you can even create some light-weight VM’s on the allocated storage. However, it’s when copying VM’s from one storage array to another where things go wrong. Read the rest of this entry ?