December 3, 2008

Exchange 2007 SCC Clustering in VMWARE using ISCSI for the Masses (the Good Bits) – part 4…

These are getting to be the longest articles that I have written – but it has been an interesting ride along the way (well at least for me) – essentially the previous three parts are located here:

In the above articles we have covered the difficulties in using VMWARE and Windows 2008 for SCC clustering (essentially establishing the fact that unless you use a product such as StarWind iSCSI (or do it on hardware which supports SCSI 3 reservation) you are stuffed – or more to the point I was stuffed), we then move onto look at iSCSI and Windows 2003 whereby using a product such as OpenFiler and Windows 2003 you could construct a Windows 2003 failover cluster that will support. We have installed OpenFiler into a VMWARE environment and indeed in Part 3 installed out first Windows 2003 SCC node into VMWARE with the required software to run Exchange 2007 SP1 and access OpenFiler based iSCSI targets.

In this article I would like to go through how you can setup you iSCSI targets in OpenFiler whereby I can then in (part 5) move onto configuring the iSCSI LUNS and then the first cluster node with Windows clustering to use the iSCSI LUNs that you have configured.

If might be worth casting you mind back to part 2 of this series – located here: which is where we installed our OpenFiler based NAS/SAN solution.

You may remember that we installed this into a VMWARE guest machine which for this article is where we need to begin.

Add a Disk to the OpenFiler VM for Exchange iSCSI use:

In part 2 of this series we configured a VM to house the the Linux based OpenFiler solution – what we didn’t do at that stage was add a disk (or indeed disks) that the NAS could use via iSCSI for Exchange server.

Before we continue I would like to take you through adding the relevant disks to the configuration that we can then use as iSCSI targets which will be used as the Quorum, Exchange Binaries and Exchange database disks.

In order to complete this you will need to close down the OpenFiler server form the VMWARE management console and then follow these steps:

Choose the OpenFiler Server from the VMWARE Server 2.0 inventory list – then from the Commands Menu (Far right) choose “Add Hardware”.

From the dialog box that appears choose “Hard Disk” from the “Hardware Type” area.

The dialog box will then change to match you choice – from the options now presented choose “Create a New Virtual Hard Disk”:


Configure your disk as per below (remember this is a test lab – if you plan to use any of this in production you would obviously change the values and use a different disk configuration – also if you do not have the capacity to match the below – use values which suite your configuration):


When you are done click on the “Finish” button and then wait for the disk to be created.

When that is completed power on the OpenFiler virtual machine and and proceed to the next step.

Accessing the OpenFiler Management Interface:

Via VMWARE open a remote console to the the OpenFiler guest which should present you with the following screen:


The item of information that we are most interested in here is the “Web administration GUI:” (which is located at the bottom of the screen) – you will need to open up Internet Explorer and navigate to this URL – so in my example above the admin URL is

When you enter this into Internet Explorer you will be presented with the following logon page:


In order to logon you will need to use the following (default) credentials:

Username: openfiler (All Lowercase)

Password: password (All Lowercase)

As a point of note – you can logon as “root” but that will not give you any access to the disk administration features.

When you have logged in you will be presented with the following screen (or similar):

OFISCSICFG3 Before we begin it is an idea to perform a system update – this is not essential to the article or its objectives – but might prevent a few bugs further down the line.

In order to update the OpenFiler NAS solution from the main Status page (which is the page that you are brought to when you logon to the system) – choose the “Update” option from the top right menu bar:


You will be brought to a screen which looks like the following – click on the “Launch system update” URL:


OpenFiler will then go away and check to see what updates are available when this is completed you will be presented with the following screen:


Choose the “Update all packages option” and then click on the “Install Updates” button. When the updates are completed we are ready to proceed.

Activating iSCSI:

From the menu bar – choose the “Services” tab – from the list of services that is presented click “Enable” on the “iSCSI target server”:


Configuring the Quorum and Exchange Disks:

Click on the “Volumes” tab and then from the section entitled “Create a new volume group” click on the “Create New physical volumes” URL:


You will then be presented with the Block Device Management section:


Click on the 8GB disk (or the size of disk that you created earlier in this part of the article) – in order to bring this up select the /dev/sd which corresponds to the disk in my example it is /dev/sdb:

From the page that is then presented to you navigate to the section called “Create Partition in /dev/sd”:


Click on the “Create” Button – this will change the screen to look like the following:


From the Volumes Section (located on the right hand side of the screen) – choose the “Manage Volumes” option:


From the “Create a New Volume Group” section complete the following:

Provide a volume group name: in my example – Exchange_DISKS

Tick the volume that you have just created.


Then click on the “Add volume group” button.

You will notice that the “Volume Group Management” section of the page has now changed to reflect your changes:


From the “Volumes Section” menu (far right) choose the “Add Volume” option – from the page that appears scroll down to the bottom of the page to the section entitled “Create a volume in Exchange_Disks” – configure the options as follows:


Then Click on the “Create” button.

Repeat all of the “Add Volume” steps for Exchange Binaries and the Databases – in my example I have allocated 4GB for the Binaries and 2.6GB for the Exchange databases:


Creating network access for use with the iSCSI targets:

By default OpenFiler does not allow access to the iSCSI LUNS via IP this needs to be configured this manually.

You have a number of options here, you can for example narrow down access to LUNS via Host, or open it up to a subnet – in our example we will open up the LUNS to the Subnet which our Exchange Cluster sits on.

If you were doing this in production you would normally dedicate an entire VLAN to your iSCSI setup with its own IP subnet.

From the OpenFiler management interface choose the “System” tab – down the bottom of the screen you will see a section entitled “Network Access Configuration”:


Complete this section with the details which match that of your lab and then click on the “Update” button.

Summary and in the next part:

In this part we have covered adding a disk to your OpenFiler virtual machine, then enabling the iSCSI target server service and then adding the disk as a volume within OpenFiler where it will become an iSCSI target.

In part 5 of this series I will go through how you create the disks which will be presented to the first cluster node, adding them to Windows and then a whistle stop tour of installing the clustering services

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