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iSCSI and Virtualization

Has anyone used the iSCSI features in the NSS326 or any NSS300 product for virtualization support?

I am looking at a purchasing a small Dell server with a Citrix DOM and no hard drives. I would like to create virtual discs on the NSS326 using iSCSI both for the operating system and possibly for storage as well.

Does anyone have any recommendation or feedback? Is this a viable configuration?

I would like to use this solution for small clients with 5 to 50 concurrent users. Usually with about 1TB of shared CAD drawings and a few web apps along with Active Directory.

Thanks in advance...

Cisco Employee

I have used NSS326 to boot a Cisco C210 server with no local disk via ISCSI running VMWARE Esxi 4.1 - seems to work just fine.  I then turn around and NFS mount the same NSS326 from the same VMWare server and that gives me

access to shared storage for things like VMotion etc.  Performance seems just fine.  (My experience with the NSS326 boxes are that they are very fast )

I really appreciate your response. I had sat through a demo on the Cisco rack servers but had dismissed them. I just ordered a C210 to to test on.

Are you connected with the integrated NICs and a standard Layer 2 switch?

Also, I am wondering if I should just use the built in RAID since it has 16 storage bays if there is no need for shared storage between multiple servers. It seems like the IO would be better. Have you tried both ways? I am definitely going to spend a lot of time in the lab with this setup.

How are you booting VMWARE? Is there a bootable DOM or any software included for booting Citrix or VMWARE from the NAS?

Thanks again!

LOL one more question..

For small clients is there any advantage getting a C210 over a C200 other than storage arrays? Specs seem similar?

So I have a C210 Rack server using the internal on-board NIC attached to a Cisco 3750E.  There are NO disks

in the C210 M2 Rack server and I boot from the network via ISCSI off the NSS326.   So the way I booted

VMWare is that I first went into the BIOS of the C210 - configred it to boot via ISCSI off the NSS326.

(of course you have to configure the NSS326 for ISCSI).  I used a 50Meg partition on the NSS326 here

is a screen shot:

After the BIOS was setup to boot from ISCSI off the on-board NIC of the C210 - I droped in a DVD that had

vsphere 4.1 install on it and installed vmware on the ISCSI partion across the network.  (I guess I could

have mounted the .iso via the CIMC from the mgmt port on the C210)

Then I booted the server from ISCSI.

Regarding the C210 vs C200 - the C210 has room/options for 16 drives for local storage.  In my case

I didn't want local storage so I used the NSS326.   The nubmer of drives is really the only big difference

between the C200 and C210 - of course you need memory and processor but those are options

you can configure for you requirments.  (I am using E5620 Intel processors with 24G of memory in the C210 server)

I am a big fan of shared storage when using VMWare - since all your machines on the network have access to

the virtual machines - moving them is very fast and easy takes seconds for small test systems or desktops.

(ps if I get time I'll do a write up of how to configre the BIOS to boot from ISCSI on the C210)