December 3, 2008

Exchange 2007 SCC Clustering in VMWARE using ISCSI for the Masses (and how I STILL went very wrong) – part 2…

Ok, it is at this point that I have a confession to make – I thought at the end of the last article that I had managed to get an ISCSI disk located on the OpenFiler NAS solution to mount as part of a Windows 2008 Failover Cluster, however I was a little over eager (arrogant perhaps???) – essentially I didn’t.

If you have read my previous article here: you will see that I intended to make use of OpenFiler as a presentation mechanism for a number of ISCSI targets which could be used as part of an Exchange Failover cluster.

Now before I wrote the article – I had done quite a lot of research into ISCSI and indeed OpenFiler – however I obviously did not dig far enough into the OpenFiler architecture – as I received an e-mail from a chap called Juergen Hasslauer made me delve a lot deeper into what I was doing – I have reproduced some of the e-mail that he sent:

I am keen to read your upcoming post about the iSCSI OpenFiler target. I assume it will not support SCSI-3 persistent reservation because it is based on IET, which does not support persistent reservation.

I ran across the same issue when I self studied Windows Failover Clustering on Windows Server 2008 for an article that I wrote about Exchange storage design.

I had a look at the links that Juergen sent to me and found that the implementation of ISCSI in OpenFiler uses IET which does not support persistent reservation (see my previous article for information of SCSI and Windows 2008 disk reservation) however more worryingly the mail item contained a link to the following post from the OpenFiler issue tracker: which states at the end:

05/22/08 14:49:55: Modified by [email protected]
  • milestone changed from 2.3.1 to 2.4.

Looks like there is a much bigger issue at play here – namely IET doesn’t support persistent reservation. Will have to wait till we move to iSCSI target in OFEE.

10/01/08 01:31:14: Modified by [email protected]
  • severity changed from major to critical.
  • milestone changed from 2.4 to 3.0-RC2.

SCST will eventually support PR.

The above means that support for persistent reservation in Windows 2008 will not arrive until 3.0 RC-2 of OpenFiler (bearing in mind the current release 2.3) which when looking at the product roadmap has no set release date (therefore it could be months).

** Bugger **, and indeed sorry everyone!

Now considering that I had already put out part one of the series and indeed intended to cover the installation of the OpenFiler in this part I have had to make a choice – I could either abandon the article, or work out a way to salvage something from this which I can give back to my readers – therefore I have decided to switch focus from Windows 2008 to Windows 2003 but still maintain the theme of the article which is obviously Exchange 2007 SCC clustering using and ISCSI target.

So from now on this multi part series will focus on the following:

  • Installation and Configuration of OpenFiler for ISCSI in VMWARE
  • The Configuration of ISCSI on Windows 2003 using the Microsoft ISCSI Initiator and OpenFiler also using VMWARE server
  • Setup of Windows 2003 Failover clustering
  • Setup of Exchange 2007 to use SCC Clustering

I hope to do a full Windows 2008 walk through when OpenFiler has reached the appropriate support level – mainly because as a product it is really very good and costs nothing.

One thing that I would like to say at this stage is that people like Juergen are absolutely essential to this blog, I (as you have seen) do not always get things right and I really have no ego when someone points out a mistake that I have made – or indeed puts me on a different path the key is making sure that the information on the blog is as accurate as possible.

I have always wanted this blog to be as much my readers blog as mine, I also do not believe in hiding my own mistakes.

Moving on – Before we begin;

Before we get into the fun stuff within this article you need to ensure that you have the following:

  1. Downloaded and installed VMWARE Server 2.0 onto a suitable machine within your test environment – VMWARE Server can be downloaded and registered from here:
  2. Downloaded the ISO of OpenFiler which can be obtained from here:
  3. If you do not wish to use VMWARE server for the Virtualisation process the article may still be of some use, however you will need to substitute the VMWARE configuration processes for that of your chosen VM solution (e.g. Hyper-V, VMWARE versions which are not equal to 2.0 of the server platform

Installing OpenFiler

OpenFiler is a Linux based NAS / SAN solution which is released under the GNU public license. Essentially it is free for personal use, however if you would like to use it commercially you are advised to purchase on of the support options – bear in mind under the terms of the GNU you are not given any for of warranty – and you are also not given a manual – you have to buy that separately.

In this part of the series I would like to focus on the configuration of your VMWARE 2.0 environment to support OpenFiler, and the installation of the OpenFiler.

Configuring a VMWARE 2.0 Guest for OpenFiler.

Obviously before we can install OpenFiler we need to establish our VMWARE Server guest configuration. OpenFiler is a pretty hungry product in terms of resources (well at least for a Linux distro) below is the absolute minimum specification you can get away with whilst running it under VMWARE:

Guest RAM = 500MB (should have 600MB) (Running it with less than 350 MB of RAM results in heavy paging)

System Partition (System VMWARE Disk) = 2GB

Now that we have established the sort of minimum configuration that you will require to run OpenFiler lets configure the Virtual Guest in VMWARE.

Logon into your VMWARE 2.0 environment using the appropriate admin credentials – when logged in navigate to [ Virtual Machine -> Create Virtual Machine ] – see below;


You will be presented with the “Create Virtual Machine” wizard – your will need to provide a name for your new guest and indeed a Datastore in which to place the VM configuration file – I have named mine “OpenFiler-NAS” however you can vary this to meet your own specifications when you are done client on the “Next” button – see below:


When you have provided the destination and name for the virtual machine you will then need to specify the type of operating system and indeed the version that is being used – for OpenFiler choose “Linux Operating System” and under the version you need to select “Other 2.6x Linux (32-bit)” – when done click on the “Next” button – see below:

You will then be asked to configure the Memory and Processors for your virtual machine – you can have 1 processor – but should have a minimum of 300 MB or RAM (anything less than 256 will result in poor performance and not being able to use the ISCSI aspect of the software) – in my example I have provided the VM with 500MB of RAM. When you have configured the above click on the “Next” button – see below:


Next you will be asked to configure the System disk – from the right hand plane of the window choose the “Create a New Virtual Disk” – see below:


The window will then change and ask you where you for the name of and where you would like to place the VMDK file – provide a name and location for the file and then click “OK” – see below:


You will then be presented with the Hard Disk properties section of the wizard – here you need to provide the capacity and allocation options – ensure that you have allocated a capacity of 2GB for the disk (my example shows 1.5GB – THIS WILL NOT WORK) – when you have chosen 2GB expand the “File Options” and tick the “Allocate all disk space now” box – then expand the “Virtual Device Node” and ensure that the Adapter is “SCSI 0” and “Device 0” – when done click on the “Next” button – see below:


You will then be presented with the configure Network Adapter settings – click the “Add a Network Adapter” – see below:


The screen will then change to look like the following – ensure the the “Network Connection” is set to “Bridged” and the “Connect at Power On” is set to “Yes” – when you are done click on the “Next” button – see below:


You will then be asked to configure a CD/DVD ROM drive for the guest – from the right hand pane in the wizard choose the “Use and ISO Image” – see below:


The screen will then change so you can navigate to the ISO of the OpenFiler software – locate is (it will be where you downloaded it to) and then click on the “OK” button – see below:


You will then be returned to the CD/DVD Drive screen – click on the “Next” button, which will present you with the “Add Floppy Drive” section of the wizard – I personally skipped this part and clicked on the “Next” button where you are asked if you would like to add a USB controller – again I choose not to and clicked “Next”.

You will then be presented with the “Ready to complete” screen – here just click on the “Finish” button – see below:












You should now be able to see your new Virtual Machine Inventory (on the left hand side of the VMWARE Server 2.0 Management interface – see below:


We are now ready to boot the guest therefore click on the “Console” tab and start a remote connection to the VMWARE (this will have the effect of powering on the VM) – see below:


OpenFiler Installation:

When your VM powers on it should boot from the ISO that you connected in the earlier step you will be presented with the Installation introductory screen – here ensure that the VMWARE remote console has focus and press the key – see below:


When you have hit the installer bootstrap will fire – see below:


When complete you will be asked to confirm if you would like to test the Installation media prior to the installation – personally I would skip this part – therefore (making sure that the VMWARE remote console has focus using the directional keys (or Tab) on your key board (remember this is Linux! ;-p) choose the “Skip” option – see below:


Upon skipping the CD check the installer will continue to boot – see below:


After a brief pause you will be presented with the OpenFiler installation wizard Welcome screen (more good news is that you now have mouse control back and its a GUI install) – click on the “Next” button – see below:


You will be asked to choose a Language setting – please choose the configuration option most appropriate to your own installation (when done click “Next”) – see below:


You will then be presented with the Disk Partitioning section of the installation – you have two options you can either 1) Proceed with Automatic Partitioning –or- 2) Use Disk Druid (for a manual configuration) – as I am a coward I recommend that you choose option 1) (Automatic) configuration and then click on the “Next” button – see below:


You will receive a warning about the primary partition not being readable and proceed will erase all data – click on the “Yes” button – see below:


You will then be presented with the “Automatic Partitioning” section of the installation – on this screen choose the following options:

  • Ensure that the “Remove all partitions on this system
  • That the primary drive is selected
  • That the “Review and Modify” check box is ticked

When done click on the “Next” button – see below:


You will receive another scary message about destroying data – click on the “Yes” button – see below:


You will then be presented with the summary of the Automatic Disk Configuration you will see that three partitions have been created – a boot partition, binaries and swap partition (typically called sda1, sda2,and sda3) – click on the “Next” button – see below:


At this stage you will now have to configure the Network interface for the OpenFiler Nas – you will be presented with a screen where the default network configuration is DHCP – under the Network Devices section next to the entry for the eth0 interface click on the “Edit” button – see below:


You will be presented with a dialog box ensure the following setting are choose:

  • Under the entry for “Configure eth0” ensure that “Configure using DHCP is NOT ticked and the “Activate on bootIS ticked
  • Provide an IP address and subnet mask

When done click on the “OK” button – see below:


You will then be returned back to the Network Configuration screen – you will need to now provide the following Information:

  • A DNS host name for the OpenFiler NAS
  • A Default gateway (if required)
  • A DNS Server (if required)

The Default gateway and DNS settings are useful if you wish for the appliance to be able to update from the Internet (also useful if you have a segmented network) – when you are done click on the “Next” – see below:


You will now be asked to confirm your Time Zone – choose the Time Zone which is most relevant to your installation and then click on the “Next” button – see below:


You will now be asked to provide a password for the “root” account (remember this is a Linux based system) – like Windows 2008 you should note that this needs to be a complex password. When done click on the the “Next” button – see below:


You will then be presented with the about to install screen – if you wish to make any configuration changes to your installation it is at this point that you should go back – if you are happy with your configuration click on the “Next” button – see below:


OpenFiler will now install – see below:


When the Installation has completed you will be presented with the following screen – click on the “Reboot” button – see below:

Closing Part 2:

Even though my tail is between my legs in this part we have managed to cover the following:

  • Why I screwed up again
  • How I would like to go forward
  • How to configure VMWARE Server for OpenFiler
  • How to install OpenFiler within a VMWARE guest

I hope that you have found this useful.

In the next part of this series (Part 3) I would like to cover the following:

  • Creation of a VMWARE guest to support a Windows 2003 based Exchange 2007 SCC cluster node
  • Installation of Windows (overview only – including the ISCSI initiator )
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