StarWind Virtual SAN Supports HA Storage for a vSphere VI with Virtualized iSCSI Devices on DAS

Published: February 2015

This document contains openBench Labs analysis that assesses the setup of High Availability (HA) features in a StarWind Virtual Storage Area Network for a VMware® vSphere™ 5.5 environment. Using StarWind Virtual SAN software, IT is able to create virtual iSCSI storage devices using internal direct attached storage (DAS) resources on one or more servers. These virtual iSCSI devices can be shared among multiple virtual infrastructure (VI) host servers to create cost-effective environments that eliminate single points of failure.

This paper examines how to use StarWind to implement multiple, software-defined, hyper-converged, Virtual SANs that support VI high-availability (HA) features, including vMotion® in a VMware vCenter™. Using several StarWind servers, IT is able to configure storage platforms with differing levels of HA support, on which HA systems can be built using native VI options. More importantly, by layering HA systems support on a foundation of HA-storage resources, IT is able to provide a near fault tolerance (FT) for key business applications, for which IT is frequently required to support a service-level agreement (SLA) addressing business continuity.

StarWind is seeking to change the old notion that high-performance shared storage requires an expensive hardware-dependent SAN to provide enhanced HA capabilities. Building on a mature iSCSI software foundation, StarWind uses advanced virtualization techniques to decouple iSCSI targets from the storage devices that they represent. By doing that, StarWind virtualizes distinct device types, which enables IT administrators to configure ESX datastores that have specialized features required by applications on VMs provisioned with logical disks located on these datastores.

This document is for advanced StarWind users who want to learn more about High Availability in virtual storage solutions for critical business applications. It shows the ways of building a Highly-Available storage in VMware vSphere environment with virtual iSCSI devices on DAS. StarWind solution is aimed at cost-efficiency and complete fault-tolerance in critical business applications and achievement of business continuity.

Test configuration:

- 3-node vSphere 5.5 datacenter, consisting of a 2- node vSphere HA cluster using 2 x Dell PowerEdge R710 servers and 1 x Dell PowerEdge 2950 server hosting a third StarWind Virtual SAN VM.

- local SATA drives configured as a single RAID-5 logical volume on each host system

- a VM running Windows 2012 R2 on each host

- Qlogic dual-channel iSCSI HBAs, adding two independent gigabit Ethernet (1GbE) ports

StarWind Virtual SAN Provides HA Storage for Hyper-V Clusters with DAS-Based Virtualized iSCSI Devices

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