Drobo

DroboPro to Multiple ESX 3.5 or 4 ESX hosts

At one point I had seen a post about attaching the DP to multiple ESX hosts and sharing data.

Is that gone? Has the functionality stopped working? At one time we had it working on 2 hosts but since a reconfigure we can’t get it back , let alone to 8 we want to hook it to.

Thanks

Josh

As I understand it, DroboPro is a DAS device, not a low-cost SAN device. Giving multiple hosts direct access to the hardware (not software-based access such as a set up though a samba, nfs, or cifs share) can and will corrupt your data.

At one time there were threads and such about how to do this. I’m not sure where they went. I was told about 6 months ago that this feature was coming in a firmware release that came out 2 months or so ago.

http://www.drobo.com/pdf/VMware_Best_Practices_1009.pdf

Maximum ESX host supported is 4 but DRI recommends 2.

Must be on firmware 1.1.3 for the Pro.

I am assuming that you are connecting to your DroboPro using iSCSI.

There is a webinar on the drobo.com site which states that the DroboPro allows iSCSI connection on two ports:

3260 - allows only 1 concurrent connection
3261 - allows multiple (n) concurrent connections

Like Southpaw018 stated the DroboPro is a DAS device not a NAS. You need to make sure that only one device uses each LUN at any given time. So, you could connect 4 ESX boxes to 4 sepereate LUNs (volumes) using port 3261.

One caveat… When connecting to the DroboPro using port 3260 or 3261 all volumes are available. In Windows all LUNs are connected and added as Hard Drives and available in Disk Management. There is no way that I am aware of to connect to an individual LUN in Windows. Of course ESX will see all LUNs but only the LUNs you are interested in and specify are added to your storage pool.

Thanks for all the help…

We wound up getting this working… The problem was that for some reason when we created the ISCSI connection ESX did not open up the firewall port. Once they were opened all is working.

Thanks again

Josh

What we did was configure each ESX host (5 in all) to connect to 3261 and of course formatted the LUNs to VMFS(which handles all the separate vm locking, etc thus allowing multiple hosts to connect to the same LUN). I haven’t stress tested the system yet. However, I do have two different hosts running two different VMs on the same LUN.

The firewall issue bite us too. better off manually setting the firewall rules on each host with
esxcfg-firewall -o 3261,tcp,out,drobo

I guess you don’t have the proper used/unused block management in a setup like this, as VMFS is not a supported file system?

One of the exciting items on my list is using multiple Windows Enterprise edition systems to connect to the same LUN on a DP using Microsoft’s clustering version of NTFS. I wonder how the Drobo will like that?

I’d try linux GFS as well, but it’s yet again an unsupported file system.

VMFS is supported on the DroboPro and is even documented by the above link from the forum moderator.

[quote=“mrtoddh, post:5, topic:575”]Like Southpaw018 stated the DroboPro is a DAS device not a NAS. You need to make sure that only one device uses each LUN at any given time. So, you could connect 4 ESX boxes to 4 sepereate LUNs (volumes) using port 3261.

One caveat… When connecting to the DroboPro using port 3260 or 3261 all volumes are available. In Windows all LUNs are connected and added as Hard Drives and available in Disk Management. There is no way that I am aware of to connect to an individual LUN in Windows. Of course ESX will see all LUNs but only the LUNs you are interested in and specify are added to your storage pool.
[/quote]

Quick correction. To your first paragraph about DAS and NAS, this is not entirely correct. The ESX VMFS filesystem as implemented on VMware is intended for failover clustering. Because of this, it is correct to connect up to 4 ESX boxes to the SAME LUN.

To your second paragraph. This is not too difficult. I have a Windows Server and a Linux Server hooked up to my DroboPro. This is how I did it. Just set up the Windows Server first. Go into the Disk Manager and right-click on any volume you do not want to access in Windows, and select “Offline”. They will no longer be accessed from Windows. You are free to access those ones from Linux or ESX or whatever. Note that this “offline” selection in Disk Manager is only available on Windows Server. If you are trying to do this in Vista, it can still be done, but you need to go into the device manager, right-click on the drives you don’t want to access in Vista, and select “Disable”. Works the same way. This keeps across reboots too. Quite reliable.