Dell EqualLogic – Host Integration Tools for Windows 9


The last two posts were about the integration of Dell’s EqualLogic arrays with VMware vSphere, but I don’t want to neglect the Windows & Hyper-V friends out there, because an EqualLogic is also an ideal backend storage for a Hyper-V environment or maybe you just want to use direct SAN access for your backup software.

To be able to connect your Windows hosts redundant to an EqualLogic SAN, you need at least two physical NICs connected to your iSCSI SAN/network.

NICs

You also need an account for support.equallogic.com where you can download the latest Dell EqualLogic Host Integration Tools.

Then you need to make sure the Windows feature “Multipath I/O” is installed. The Dell tools will provide their own module for the Device Specific Module (DSM) framework, which comes along with the Multipath I/O feature.

MultipathIO

Once this is done, you can install the HIT Software, what is pretty much just next next finish.

The HIT software will automatically configure the MPIO service properly and will in addition start the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator which will be used to connect to the EqualLogic SAN.

After that make sure the EqualLogic HCM service is running, in case it’s not you may need another reboot.

Services

 

CAUTION: In case you are going to connect a volume with a VMFS datastore to a backup server, make sure to disable the auto mount feature to prevent Windows from re-signaturing the volume. For example Veeam by default will disable auto mount as soon as the console/proxy role is installed.

Then you can launch the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator where you can add the EqualLogic SAN Group IP.

iSCSI1

Sorry for the Geman OS, but you should be able to recognize the corresponding tabs and buttons in you English OS.

iSCSI2

The iSCSI initiator will discover all volumes with appropriate access configurations. Maybe you need to hit the “connect” button to establish a connection to the volume(s).

If you haven’t already prepared the volume access, you should make sure to provide your application hosts with sufficient access rights. This can be done for example for the whole iSCSI network or just specific IQNs.EQL_access_list2

Then you can switch over to the “Dell EqualLogic MPIO” tab to take a look at the iSCSI sessions.

iSCSI3

As you can see, you end up with 4 paths in total for each individual volume.  The host is logged into all available iSCSI interfaces on two EqualLogic arrays (4 iSCSI target interfaces in total).

You can also check the discovered disk within the device manager. All volumes should be recognized as “EQLOGIC … Multi-Path Disk Device” DevMgr1

The properties tab of these devices will display the all available paths as well as the default MPIO policy (least queue depth).

MultiPathDiskDevice

To edit or review the multipathing configuration you can launch the Remote Setup Wizard or the Auto-Snapshot Manager.

RemoteSetupWizards

SnapshotManager

In case the EHCM service is not running, the MPIO console will tell you so. As you can see, here you can manage failover/path selection policies. By default (like on vSphere) the path selection is based on the least queue depth.

You can also use the ASM to take a look at the IOPS, throughput or multipath statistics.

SnapshotManager3

SnapshotManager2

But that’s by far not all the ASM provides on features. As the name states this tools supports you when you want to create application consistent snapshots, smart copies of virtual machine, etc. but this would be too much for this post.

For more detailed instructions for example Failover Clusters check out the “hit-user-guide.pdf” which comes with the installation of the HIT software.

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