VMware NSX Lab Environment: Part 3 – Storage Hardware

For the VMware NSX Lab Environment shared storage is required to support vSphere High Availability (HA), VMware Distributed Resource Schedule (DRS), and vMotion.  The amount of storage is minimal. Here are the requirements:

  • iSCSI or NFS
  • Two interfaces, or support for assigning multiple IP Addresses to a single interface.
  • Must be listed in the VMware Compatibility Guide or be VMware Ready
  • Must provide adequate performance (Recommend >60 MB/s read/write)
  • (1) 80 GB Datastore (ds-site-a-nfs01) – for Mgmt Cluster (esx-01a, esx-02a, esx-03a)
  • (1) 120 GB Datastore (ds-site-b-nfs02) – for Compute Clusters (esxcomp-01a, esxcomp-01b, esxcomp-02a)

Shared storage can also provide a repository for virtual machine templates facilitating quick and easy lab deployment capability, consider making additional storage available for this purpose.

There are many software and hardware based storage products available today.

A virtual machine can be used to provide a software based shared storage solution leveraging products such as OpenFiler or the HP StoreVirtual VSA.  In fact, HP is generously offering 1TB of free storage on ANY new Intel-based server from ANY vendor.

Hardware based solutions from vendors such as QNAP, NETGEAR, Synology, and LenovoEMC also offer a low-cost approach to implementing shared storage within your lab environment.  The options are endless and ultimately you need to select a solution that will meet your requirements.

I opted to use a hardware based solution and selected the QNAP TS-251.  For details on how to configure the QNAP TS-251 read my bLOG post Configuring NFS on the QNAP TS-251 with VAAI for vSphere ESXi 5.5.  To support the VMware NSX Lab environment  I created the following three NFS datastores:

  • (1) 80 GB Datastore (ds-site-a-nfs01) – for Mgmt Cluster (esx-01a, esx-02a, esx-03a)
  • (1) 120 GB Datastore (ds-site-b-nfs02) – for Compute Clusters (esxcomp-01a, esxcomp-01b, esxcomp-02a)
  • (1) 250 GB Datastore (SharedTmpls) – for machine templates.
  • The IP address of Interface 1 is 10.10.20.60 and Interface 2 is 10.20.20.60.  Interface 1 provides shared storage to the Mgmt Cluster and Interface 2 provides shared storage to the Compute Clusters.

More about the QNAP TS-251 Turbo NAS – QNAP recently released the TS-251 Turbo NAS, it is currently offered online for $339.99 + free S/H from SuperBiiz.  Recent reviews from PC Magazine and SmallNetBuilder made a compelling argument for making the TS-251 the shared storage solution for my VMware NSX Lab Environment.  PC Magazine awarded the QNAP TS-251 Turbo NAS the coveted Editor’s Choice Award. SmallNetBuilder now ranks the TS-251 number 1 on the NAS Charts and details the features and performance in the article QNAP TS-251 & TS-451 Turbo NASes Reviewed.

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 6.39.43 AM

Hardware Specifications:

CPU Intel® Celeron® 2.41GHz dual-core processor J1800 (Bay Trail D)
Ethernet Intel WGI210TA (x2) 1 GbE
RAM 1 GB DDR3L SoDIMM (expandable to 8 GB)
Flash 512 MB
SATA Asmedia ASM1061 dual-port PCIe to SATA
Power Consumption Standby: 10W, In operation: 19W (with 2 x 1TB HDD)

Reported Write and Read Performance Numbers in MB/s:

Resource Test Write Read
SmallNetBuilder iSCSI 100.7 101.1
NASPT 108.4 105.8

Continue reading the VMware NSX Lab Environment series:

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3 Responses to VMware NSX Lab Environment: Part 3 – Storage Hardware

  1. Pingback: VMware NSX Lab Environment: Part 1 – Inventory Assessment | NSX Insight

  2. Pingback: VMware NSX Lab Environment: Part 2 – Compute Hardware | NSX Insight

  3. Pingback: VMware NSX Lab Environment: Part 4 – Networking Hardware | NSX Insight

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