StarWind Resource Library

StarWind Virtual SAN Hyper-Converged Cluster: Scale-Out Existing Deployments for VMware vSphere

Published: August 21, 2014


Traditionally VMware requires having some sort of the shared storage to guarantee the data safety, allow the virtual machines migration, enables continuous application availability and eliminates any single point of failure within IT environment. VMware users have to choose between two options when choosing the shared storage:

• Hyper-Converged solutions, that allows sharing the same hardware resources for the application (i.e. hypervisor, database) and the shares storage, thus decreasing the TCO and achieving the outstanding performance results.

• Compute and Storage separated solutions that keeps the compute and storage layers separately from each other, thus making the maintenance easier, increasing the hardware usage efficiency and allows building the system accurately for solving the task.

This guide is intended for experienced VMware and Windows system administrators and IT professionals who would like to add the Scale-Out node to the StarWind® Virtual SAN cluster. It provides a step-by step guidance on scaling out the hyper-converged 2-node StarWind Virtual SAN that converts the local storage of the ESXi hosts into a fault tolerant shared storage resource for ESXi.

A full set of up-to-date technical documentation can always be found here, or by pressing the Help button in the StarWind Management Console.

For any technical inquiries please visit our online community, Frequently Asked Questions page, or use the support form to contact our technical support department.


Solution Diagram

The diagram bellow illustrates the network and storage configuration of the resulting solution described in the guide.



Preparing Cluster

Add Host to Cluster

1. Open your cluster inset and click Add a host.


2. Enter name or IP address of the ESXi host.

3. Enter the administrative account information.

4. Verify settings.

5. Assign the License.

6. Lockdown mode is not enabled by-default.

7. Verify the settings.

8. Result is on screen below.


Configuring Networks

1. Create vSwitch to use for HeartBeat and LAN.

2. Create 2 vSwitches to use as ISCSI Data channels.

3. Create 2 vSwitches to use as SYNC channels.



Preparing StarWind VM

1. Create VM (SW3) on this host with Windows 2012 R2 where StarWind will be deployed with the following settings.

2. Start the VMs, install OS and StarWind on it.


Configuring Automatic storage rescan

For third ESXi host configure automatic storage rescan.

1. Download vSphere PowerCLI and install it on each StarWind virtual machine:

2. In the VM running StarWind open Powershell and change the Execution policy to Unrestricted.

3. Type in Set-ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted and press Enter.

4. In the StarWind Management Console select the server, switch to the Configuration Tab on the right and press the Event Notifications link. Press the Add link in the upper right corner of the tab.

5. Select All events radio button and enable the HA plugin checkbox.

6. On the Action tab pick Add record to system event log from the menu.

7. Create a script which will do an HBA rescan on the hypervisor host

Add-PSSnapin VMware.VimAutomation.Core | Out-Null
$ESXiHost1 = “IP address”
$ESXiUser = “Login”
$ESXiPassword = “Password”
Connect-VIServer $ESXiHost1 –User $ESXiUser –Password $ESXiPassword | Out-Null
Get-VMHostStorage $ESXiHost1 –RescanAllHba
Disconnect-VIServer $ESXiHost1 –Confirm:$false

In the appropriate lines specify the ESXi host IP address and login credentials on which this StarWind VM is stored and running:
$ESXiHost1 = “IP address”
$ESXiUser = “Login”
$ESXiPassword = “Password”
Save the script as rescan_script.ps1 on C:\ of the VM.

8. Go to Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Task Scheduler -> Create Basic Task , and follow the wizard steps:

9. Click the Next button.

10. Click the Next button.

11. Click the Next button.

12. Click the Next button.

13. In the Add arguments field type: “- ExecutionPolicy Bypass – NoLogo – NonInteractive – NoProfile – WindowStyle Hidden – File C:\rescan_script.ps1”. Click the Next button.

14. Click Finish to exit the Wizard.

15. Configure the task to run with highest privileges by enabling the checkbox at the bottom of the window. Also make sure that “Run whether user is logged on or not” option is selected.

16. Switch to the Triggers Tab.

17. On the Triggers Tab verify that the trigger is setup correctly.

18. Switch to the Actions Tab.

19. On the Actions Tab verify the parameters for the task.

20. Press OK and type in the credentials for the user whose rights will be used to execute the command.


Replacing Partner for (DS2)

1. Add third StarWind node (SW3).

2. Open replication manager on device DS2 from second StarWind node .

3. Click Remove Replica.

4. Click Add replica.

5. Select Synchronous “Two-Way” Replication and click Next.

6. Enter name or IP address of the third StarWind node.

7. Select Create new Partner device.

8. Click Change Network Settings.

9. Select HeartBeat and synchronization channels.

10. Click OK. You will return to Network Option for Synchronization Replication. Click Next.

11. Click Create Replica.

12. After creation click Finish to close Replication Wizard.


Preparing Storage with StarWind (DS3) Creating Virtual Disk (DS3)

1. Open Add Device (advanced) Wizard.

2. Select Hard disk device as the type of a device to be created. Click Next to continue.

3. Select Virtual disk. Click Next to continue.

4. Specify a virtual disk location and size.

5. Specify virtual disk options.

6. Define the caching policy and specify the cache size (in MB). You can also set maximum available cache size by selecting the appropriate checkbox.

7. Optionally, define the L2 caching policy and the cache size. Click Next to continue.

8. Specify target parameters. Select the Target Name checkbox to enter a custom name of a target.

Otherwise, the name is generated automatically in accordance with the specified target alias.

9. Click Create to add a new device and attach it to the target.

10. Click Finish to close the wizard.

11. Right-click the recently created device and select Replication manager from the shortcut menu.

12. Then, click Add replica.

13. Select Synchronous two-way replication as a replication mode.

14. Specify a partner hostname, IP address and port number.

15. Choose Create new Partner Device and click Next.

16. Click Change network settings….

17. Specify interfaces for synchronization and Heartbeat channels.

18. Click Create Replica.

19. Click Finish to close the wizard.

20. The successfully added devices appear in the StarWind Console.


Preparing Datastores

Adding Discover portals

1. To connect previously created devices to ESX host click over manage tab, then click Storage and choose (or add) the ISCSI storage adapter. Under Adapter details section click Targets tab.

2. Under Dynamic Discovery click the Add… button to add iSCSI servers.

3. Enter the IP address of the first SrtarWind node (sw1) from the virtual local network 172.16.127.*

4. Add another IP addresses of the first StarWind node (sw1) form networks: iSCSI Data1 and iSCSI Data2.

5. iSCSI Data1 – 172.16.210.*

6. iSCSI Data2 – 172.16.211.*

7. Add another IP addresses of the second StarWind node (sw2) form networks: iSCSI Data1 and iSCSI Data2. iSCSI Data1 – 172.16.210.*

8. iSCSI Data2 – 172.16.211.*

9. The result should look like the image below.

10. After that, rescan storage.

11. Now you should see the previously created StarWind devices.

12. Add the third node addresses to the list on the first ESXi host. Check that all the addresses are added and all devices are discovered.

13. Add the third node addresses to the list on the second ESXi host. Check that all the addresses are added and all devices are discovered.


Creating datastore (DS3)

1. Open Datacenter Getting Started tab and click Add a datastore.

2. New Datastore wizard appears.

3. Select vmFS.

4. Enter name of datastore (DS3), select the third host and device for datastore.

5. Select vmFS 5.

6. Enter datastore size.

7. Verify the settings.


Configuring StarWind VM Startup/Shutdown

1. Open cluster setting, inset vSphere HA, click Edit…

2. Temporarily Turn OFF vSphere HA. (uncheck Turn ON checkbox) Click OK.

3. Open VM Startup/Shutdown inset for third ESXi server and click Edit…

4. Check System Influence and select Guest shutdown as Shutdown Action. Set the VM startup policy.

5. Inset should look like the screenshot below.

6. After that open cluster setting, inset vSphere HA, click Edit… and Turn ON vSphere HA back again.