Written by Chuck Armstrong

Are you running your VMware virtual machines on 1Gb PS Series storage? Are you considering moving specific VM workloads to 10Gb SC Series storage? Are you looking for the best way to build your environment to support VM workloads on both platforms together?

If yes is your answer to these questions, this is the paper you want to read:

Deploying ESXi 6.0 with Dell PS and SC Series Storage on Separate iSCSI Networks

This blog post covers some of the high-level pieces from the paper.

PS Series best practices

To level-set, if you’re running a PS Series environment now, you should already be familiar with the best practices regarding the iSCSI SAN infrastructure. Even if you’re not, the figure below shows the first half of this solution: best practices design for a 1Gb PS Series iSCSI SAN architecture.

1Gb PS Series iSCSI best practices design

 The key requirements of the PS Series iSCSI SAN infrastructure include:

  • Single IP subnet
  • Single stacked (or LAG) network fabric
  • Port-binding of the kernel ports to the VMware Software iSCSI Adapter

SC Series best practices

If you’re new to the SC Series storage platform, you may not be familiar with the best practices regarding the 10Gb iSCSI SAN infrastructure. There are some differences in how this infrastructure should be configured as compared to a PS Series infrastructure. The figure below shows on the second half of this solution: best practices design for a 10Gb SC Series iSCSI SAN architecture.

10Gb SC Series iSCSI best practices design

The key recommendations of the SC Series iSCSI SAN infrastructure include:

  • Two Fault Domains
  • Two IP subnets
  • Two redundant switches (not stacked or LAGd)
  • No port-binding of kernel ports to the VMware Software iSCSI Adapter

Dual-platform best practices

The challenge is configuring VMware hosts to connect to storage on both infrastructures while maintaining best practices for both, as shown in the figure below.

1Gb PS Series and 10Gb SC Series infrastructure

The first step is to select adapters to be used for dedicated iSCSI traffic on the host. The 1Gb PS Series environment can use any supported NIC for dedicated iSCSI traffic. Configuring the 1Gb adapters is addressed in the white paper referenced in this blog. Additional detail can be found in the Dell Storage PS Series Configuration Guide.

The 10Gb adapters you use are identified as Dependent Hardware iSCSI Adapters. See VMware Documentation for a definition of Dependent Hardware iSCSI Adapter and models supported.

With the proper adapters identified, installed, and dedicated for respective 1Gb and 10Gb iSCSI traffic, and both 1Gb and 10Gb switches properly configured to support the iSCSI traffic, the rest is all in the host configuration. This is covered from start to finish in the white paper as well.

As always, check Dell TechCenter for additional storage solutions technical content.