StarWind Resource Library

StarWind Virtual SAN® Hyperconverged 2-Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Published: February 20, 2018

Introduction

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

Hyperconverged solutions that allow sharing the same hardware resources for the application (i.e. hypervisor, database) and the shared storage, thus decreasing the TCO and achieving the outstanding performance results.

Compute and Storage separated solutions that keep the compute and storage layers separately from each other, thus making the maintenance easier, increasing the hardware usage efficiency, and allow 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 configure StarWind Virtual SAN® hyperconverged solution for vSphere deployments. It provides a step-by-step guidance on configuring a 2-node vSphere cluster using StarWind Virtual SAN® to convert 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.

Pre-Configuring the Servers

The diagram below illustrates the network and storage configuration of the solution described in this guide.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Preparing Hypervisor for StarWind Deployment

Configuring Networks

Configure network interfaces on each node to make sure that Synchronization and iSCSI/StarWind heartbeat interfaces are in different subnets and connected physically according to the network diagram above. In this document, 172.16.10.x subnet is used for iSCSI/StarWind heartbeat traffic, while 172.16.20.x subnet is used for the Synchronization traffic. All actions below should be applied to each ESXi server.

1. Create two vSwitches, one for the iSCSI/ StarWind Heartbeat channel and the other one for the Synchronization channel.StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Note: Virtual Machine Port Group should be created for iSCSI/ StarWind Heartbeat and the Synchronization vSwitches while VMKernel port should be created only for iSCSI traffic. Static IP address should be assigned to VMKernel ports.

2. Create a VMKernel port for iSCSI/ StarWind Heartbeat channel.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

3. Add Virtual Machine Port Group on the vSwitch for iSCSI traffic and on the vSwitch for Synchronization traffic.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Note: It is recommended to set jumbo frames to 9000 on vSwitches and VMKernel ports for iSCSI and Synchronization traffic. Additionally, vMotion can be enabled on VMKernel ports.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 for any other links intended for Synchronization and iSCSI/Heartbeat traffic on both ESXi nodes.

Preparing StarWind Virtual Machines

5. Create Virtual Machines (VMs) on each ESXi host with Windows Server 2016 (2012 R2) and StarWind VSAN installed.

StarWind VMs on ESXi hosts should be configured with the following settings:

RAM: at least 4 GB (plus the size of the RAM cache if it is planned to be used)
CPUs: at least 4 virtual processors with 2 GHz reserved;
Hard disk 1: 100 GB for OS (recommended);
Hard disk 2: Depends on the storage volume to be used as shared storage.

NOTE: Each hard disk should be Thick Provisioned Eager Zeroed.

Network adapter 1: Management
Network adapter 2: iSCSI
Network adapter 3: Sync
NOTE: All network adapters should be of the VMXNET3 type.

NOTE: Active Directory Domain Services role can be added on StarWind Virtual Machine (VM) if necessary, thus it can serve as a domain controller.

Configuring StarWind VMs Startup/Shutdown

6. Setup the VMs startup policy on both ESXi hosts from Manage -> System tab in ESXi web console. In the appeared window, check Yes to enable the option and choose stop action as Shut down. Click Save to proceed.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

7. To configure VM autostart, right – click on it, navigate to Autostart and click Enable.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

8. Complete the actions above on StarWind VM located on another host.

9. Start the both virtual machines, install OS and StarWind Virtual SAN.

Downloading, Installing and Registering the Software

10. Download the StarWind setup executable file from our website by following the next link:

https://www.starwind.com/registration-starwind-virtual-san

11. Launch the downloaded setup file on the virtual machine where StarWind Virtual SAN will be installed. The setup wizard will appear.

12. Read and accept the License Agreement.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Click Next to continue.

13. Carefully read the information about new features and improvements. Red text indicates warnings for users who are updating existing software installations.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Click Next to continue.

14. Select the following components for the minimum setup:

  • StarWind Virtual SAN Service

The StarWind service is the “core” of the software. It can create iSCSI targets as well as share virtual and physical devices. The service can be managed from StarWind Management Console on any Windows computer or VSA that connected to the network. Alternatively, the service can be managed from StarWind Web Console deployed separately.

  • StarWind Management Console

The StarWind Management Console is the Graphic User Interface (GUI) part of the software that controls and monitors all storage-related operations (e.g. allows users to create targets and devices on StarWind Virtual SAN servers connected to the network).

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

15. Specify the Start Menu folder.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Click Next to continue.

16. Enable the checkbox if you want to create a desktop icon.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

17. A prompt will appear that allows requesting a time-limited fully functional evaluation key, or a FREE version key. Alternatively, the already purchased commercial license key for StarWind Virtual SAN can be used. Select the appropriate option.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

18. Click Browse to locate the license file.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

19. Review the licensing information.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Click Next to apply the license key.

20. Verify the installation settings. Click Back to make any changes or Install to continue.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

21. Click Finish to complete the installation process. Optionally, StarWind Management Console can be launched by choosing the corresponding setting.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

22. Repeat the steps above on the second virtual machine.

Configuring Automatic Storage Rescan

For each ESXi host, configure automatic storage rescan.

23. Log in to StarWind VM and install vSphere PowerCLI on each StarWind virtual machine by adding the PowerShell module (Internet connectivity is required). To do so, run the following command in PowerShell:

NOTE: In case of using Windows Server 2012 R2, online installation of PowerCLI requires Windows Management Framework 5.1 or upper version available on VMs. Windows Management Framework 5.1 can be downloaded by the following link:

https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=839516

24. Open PowerShell and change the Execution Policy to Unrestricted by running the following command:

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

25. Create a PowerShell script which will perform an HBA rescan on the hypervisor host.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

IIn the appropriate lines, specify the IP address and login credentials of the ESXi host on which the current StarWind VM is stored and running:

$ESXiHost = “IP address”
$ESXiUser = “Login”
$ESXiPassword = “Password”

Save the script as rescan_script.ps1 to the root of the C:\ drive of the VM.

26. Perform the configuration steps above on the partner node.

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

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

28. Specify the task name, select When a specific event is logged, and click Next.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

29. Select Application in the Log dropdown, type StarWindService as the event source and 788 as the event ID. Click the Next button.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

30. Choose Start a Program as the action that the task will perform and click Next.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

31. Type powershell.exe in the Program/script field. In the Add arguments field, type:

“ -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -NoLogo -NonInteractive -NoProfile -WindowStyle Hidden -File C:\rescan_script.ps1 ”

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Click the Next button to continue.

32. Click Finish to exit the Wizard.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

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

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

34. Switch to the Triggers tab. Verify that the trigger on event 788 is set up correctly.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

35. Click New and add other triggers by Event ID 782, 257, 773, and 817.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

36. All added triggers should look like in the picture below.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

37. Switch to the Actions tab and verify the parameters for the task.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

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

Perform the same steps on the second StarWind VM, specifying the corresponding settings.

Provisioning Storage with StarWind VSAN

Creating StarWind HA devices (DS1, DS2)

39. Open StarWind Management Console and click on the Add Device (advanced) button.

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

41. Select Virtual disk. Click Next to continue.

42. Specify virtual disk name, location, and size.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Click Next.

43. Specify virtual disk options.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Click Next to continue.

Note: Sector size should be 512 bytes in case you are using ESXi.

44. Define the RAM caching policy and specify the cache size (in corresponding units).

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Note: Recommended RAM cache size is 1 GB per 1 TB of storage.

Click Next to continue.

45. Define the Flash caching policy and the cache size. Click Next to continue.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Note: Recommended Flash cache size is 10% of your Device size.

46. Specify target parameters. Select the Target Name checkbox to enter a custom name of a target if required. Otherwise, the name will be generated automatically in accordance with the specified target alias.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Click Next to continue.

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

48. Click Finish to close the wizard.

49. Right-click on the recently created device and select Replication Manager from the shortcut menu.

50. Then, click Add replica.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

51. Select Synchronous “Two-Way” Replication as a replication mode.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Click Next to proceed.

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

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Click Next.

53. Choose Create new Partner Device and click Next.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

54. Choose a device location and specify target name if required. Otherwise, the name is generated automatically in accordance with the specified target alias.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

55. Click Change Network Settings.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

56. Specify interfaces for Synchronization and Heartbeat channels.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Click OK. Then click Next.

57. Choose Synchronize from existing Device

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

58. Click Create Replica.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

59. Click Finish to close the wizard.

60. The successfully added devices appear in the StarWind Management Console.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

61. Follow the similar procedure to create other virtual disks that will be used as datastores.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Preparing Datastores

Adding Discover Portals

62. To connect the previously created devices to the ESXi host, click on the Storage -> Adapters -> Configure iSCSI and choose the Enabled option to enable Software iSCSI storage adapter.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

63. In the Configure iSCSI window, under Dynamic Targets, click on the Add dynamic target button to specify iSCSI interfaces.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

64. Enter the iSCSI IP address of the first StarWind node from the virtual local network 172.16.10.*

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

65. Add the IP address of the second StarWind node – 172.16.10.*

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Confirm your actions by pressing Save configuration.

66. The result should look like in the image below.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

67. Click on the Rescan button to rescan storage. StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

68. Now, the previously created StarWind devices are visible.

69. Repeat all the steps from this section on the other ESXi node, specifying corresponding IP addresses for the iSCSI subnet.

 Creating Datastores

70. Open the Storage tab on one of your hosts and click on New Datastore.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

71. Specify the Datastore name, select the previously discovered StarWind device, and click Next.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

72. Enter datastore size. Click Next.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

73. Verify the settings. Click Finish.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

74. Add another Datastore (DS2) in the same way but select the second device for the second datastore.

75. Verify that your storages (DS1, DS2) are connected to both hosts. Otherwise, rescan the storage adapter.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

76. Path Selection Policy changing for Datastores from Most Recently Used (VMware) to Round Robin (VMware) has been already added into the Rescan Script, and this action is performed automatically. For checking and changing this parameter manually, the hosts should be connected to vCenter.

77. Multipathing configuration can be checked only from vCenter. To check it, click the Configure button, choose the Storage Devices tab, select the device, and click the Edit Multipathing button.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Additional Tweaks

78. From the ESXi host, click on the Manage tab on one of the hosts and proceed to Services. Choose SSH and right-click on Start, then select Start and Stop with host.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

79. Connect to the host using the SSH client (e.g. Putty).

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

80. Check the device list using the following command:
esxcli storage nmp device list

81. For devices, adjust Round Robin size from 1000 to 1 using the following command:
esxcli storage nmp psp roundrobin deviceconfig set –type=iops –iops=1 –device=

NOTE: Paste UID of the StarWind device in the end of the command. Also, this parameter has been already added into the Rescan Script and this action is performed automatically.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

82. Repeat the steps above on each host for each datastore.

83. Click the configuration tab on one of the hosts and choose Advanced Settings.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

84. Select Disk and change the Disk.DiskMaxIOSize parameter to 512.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Creating Datacenter

NOTE: Before creating Datacenter, the vCenter server should be deployed.

85. Connect to vCenter, select the Getting Started tab, click on Create Datacenter, and enter the Datacenter name.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Creating Cluster

86. Click the Datacenter’s Getting Started tab and click Create a cluster. Enter the name of the cluster and click Next.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Adding Hosts to Cluster

87. Open the Cluster tab and click Add a host.

88. Enter the name or IP address of the ESXi host and enter the administrative account.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

89. Lockdown mode is not enabled by default.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

90. Assign the License from the Licensing tab.

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Verify the settings.

91. Turn on vSphere HA, click Cluster -> Configure -> Edit

StarWind Virtual SAN<sup>®</sup> Hyperconverged 2 Node Scenario with VMware vSphere 6.5

Conclusion

This technical paper has covered the configuration of the StarWind VSAN for minimalistic Hyperconverged 2-nodes scenario with VMware v6.5. In this setup, all virtual machines are stored on a shared storage that is provided by StarWind. VMware HA provides VMs with redundancy, while StarWind is responsible for the storage uptime. The combination of StarWind shared storage and VMware ensures high application and data availability across the entire virtualized environment. Using StarWind VSAN, the local storage of both ESXi hosts is converted into a fault-tolerant shared storage synchronously ”mirrored” between the nodes. The VSAN nested inside a VM and running on both ESXi hosts ensures data safety and maintains continuous application availability.