IQN-based VAG Configuration on StorSimple Appliance

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Problem Statement

Configuring Volume Access Groups (VAG) for ESX server using IP address may occasionally lead to connectivity issues. The following Knowledge Base article documents the details of this problem and the best practices approach to mitigate it. 

This article is applicable for v1.2.1 and v2.0.1 of our software.

Description

When a VAG is configured using IP address on an ESX sever, then an IP address matching is performed prior to allowing access to the StorSimple volumes. This means only the connections that match the specific IP address will be allowed to access the volumes.  If the server in question has multiple IP addresses but the VAGs are so defined that all the paths to the network are not included, then the user could experience connectivity issues.

For instance, let us say that the host server has two IP addresses, 10.2.43.60 (iSCSI) and 10.2.43.61 (management), which can be used to connect to their StorSimple volumes. The user now creates a VAG and associates it only with one of these IP addresses, say, 10.2.43.60.  In this scenario, there is a network path (for 10.2.43.61) corresponding to which no VAG is defined.

If there are more than one network paths to the server, then the VAGs must be defined to be inclusive of all those paths.

If the user has the above configuration, they are likely to run into connectivity issues. For instance, if their initiator connection using one of the IPs terminates (say iSCSI) and the initiator connects again using a different IP (say management, with VM kernel enabled) this time, the user will be able to connect. However, the StorSimple volumes will not be exposed. In other words, the volumes will disappear.

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Resolution

This issue can be fixed by modifying the VAG to use IQN (iSCSI Qualified Name) matching instead of IP address for access. This will ensure that a connection coming from any VM Kernel port will have access to the volume.

The fix requires a two-step process:

  1. Finding IQN on the ESX server
  2. Creating IQN-based VAGs on the Web UI

Each of the steps is described in the following sections.

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Finding IQN on the ESX server

The first step is to find the IQN on the ESX server. Perform the following steps on your ESX server. 

1. Shut down all the running VMs stored on StorSimple Volume.
2. Access your ESX server to extract the IQN of the ESX server iSCSI initiators by following these steps.

  • Log into your VSphere. Navigate to Home Inventory Hosts and Clusters.
  • Select the ESX server on the left pane.In the right pane, click on the ‘Configuration’ tab.
  • Select ‘Storage Adapters’ as shown in the screenshot below.

 

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  • Select ‘vmhba##’ under iSCSI Software Adapter under device.  In the details pane, select ‘Properties’ as shown in the screenshot.

 

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  • From the properties pane, select the IQN as shown in the screenshot (highlighted) and copy it.

 

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Repeat the above process for all your ESX servers.

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Creating IQN-based VAGs on Web UI

The Web UI configuration also needs to be configured. Perform the following steps on your StorSimple Appliance Web UI.

3. The IQN needs to be applied under volume access group in the web UI of StorSimple appliance.  You can do this using following steps.

  • Log into StorSimple Web UI.
  • Navigate to Configuration Security Settings Volume Access Groups
  • For the Volume Access Group specified for the ESX server mentioned in step 2, click on the edit icon as shown in the screenshot.

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  • Replace the IP address with ‘*’ and paste the IQN copied in last step of 2 into IQN text box. 

 

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  • Click on the green tick mark to save the volume access group.

4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 for all of your ESX servers.
5. iSCSI connection from ESX server needs to be disconnected and reconnected. 

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