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Fibre Channel (SAN)

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎08-01-2011

Zoning for VMware 4.1

I’m looking for any information to help me with setting up my Brocade switches for VMware 4.1.  The switches have been in place and working fine for sometime now, they are connected to our EMC CX3-10c SAN.  We are preparing to install VMware 4.1 in our environment and I’m looking for information how I’m suppose to setup the zoning.  I wasn’t sure if it’s basically the same way as we setup our other servers or if I need to do something completely different.



Super Contributor
Posts: 635
Registered: ‎04-12-2010

Re: Zoning for VMware 4.1

Primary it depends on which port you are presenting  the LUNs.

So you have to zone this wwns. Depending on your general design you have different ways. But without any further inforation it is difficult to give an answer.



External Moderator
Posts: 5,504
Registered: ‎02-23-2004

Re: Zoning for VMware 4.1

I've never work with VMware....

But AFAIK, ESXi infrastructure requiered NPIV is Enabled and Configure.

N O T E: if I'm wrong, ignore please this post


Occasional Contributor
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎10-19-2010

Re: Zoning for VMware 4.1


We Run VMware 3.5 and up. There is one thing that you need to check and set on your SAN environment. The storage device that you are presenting your LUN’s from need to be set to VMware (if it has this option) or Linux.

other than that just so I can monitor better I have zoned each port on the HBA and Each port on the storage in a different Zone. I know this seams really over the top. but due to running round robin on the ESX that at least give me the ability to test each port to each port on the storage before going live.

Hope this helps

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎08-01-2011

Re: Zoning for VMware 4.1

We purchased 3 Dell R710s with dual Qlogic 2460 4GB Optical Fiber Channel HBAs and I have 2 Brocade switches and a CX3-10c SAN. The SAN and switches are currently being used for several SQL servers and we plan on using the reminder ports for the ESXi host.

What other information can I provide?



Valued Contributor
Posts: 931
Registered: ‎12-30-2009

Re: Zoning for VMware 4.1

There are a few things to consider, but basically treat your ESX host as any host.

Which means proper zoning and lun masking na d mapping.

If your going to use traditional datastores and or RDM luns, you'll be zoning map and mask on the ESX hosts WWN's (physical hardware aka QLogic pWWN). Your VM's will use a shared VMFS to store data (in virtual harddrives called vmdk's) or in case of RDM use a pointer on VMFS to gain access to the LUN). Nothing special is needed in the SAN, per LUN you should set the os mode to ESX

If you opt to provision on guest level, you'll need to create virtual wwn's within vCenter assign them to your guests and map mask and zone against those.

NPIV must be enabled on your switch(port) and os mode for your LUN should be whatever OS is installed on your guest. You'll need to install drivers and multipath software within your guest to access the LUN properly.

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 76
Registered: ‎04-17-2010

Re: Zoning for VMware 4.1

Actually NPIV is not a requirement at all. Instead it is used _only_ for VM's with RDM LUN's.

So, if you choose to do RDM mappings, you will need to implement single initiator zoning at a virtual WWPN level.

For anything else, just do the zoning for the HBA of the ESX host.

Valued Contributor
Posts: 931
Registered: ‎12-30-2009

Re: Zoning for VMware 4.1

As i understand from reading

RDM doesn't require NPIV, its NPIV which requires RDM.

As i see it, there are 4 ways to configure storage to an Guest OS, which basically boils down to;

1> classic VMFS datastore which contains vmdk files which in turn hold the data.

     This need pWWN zoning and lun presentation on ESX host (physical) level.

2> RDM physical where the Guest OS is able to send commands to a dedicated LUN on the SAN by means of a proxy.

     This proxy is a file located on the VMFS datastore to redirect commands.

     This need pWWN zoning and lun presentation on ESX host (physical) level.

     pg11 reference

3> RDM virtual same as 2 but with the ability to take advantage of VMWare snapshotting.

4> NP(I)V where the guest OS gets its own virtual pWWN's (from vCenter) to register on the SAN and array.

     Those virtual pWWN's need zoning and lun presentation like any other physical host.

     A requirement for your switches is the support for NPIV to be enabled and for the total number (per port and switch) of registerd ID's not to exceed      the configured treshold per port and switch.

     The guest OS is required to handle drivers and a multipath solution

     pg 57 and further

Or am i missing something?

Not applicable
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎08-10-2011

Re: Zoning for VMware 4.1

Hi robert1,

if you want/need to use NPIV please check dion.v.d.c's post.

Zoning with VMware follows the general rules like all other OS'

- use wwn based zoning

- use single initiator zoning (one hba port, multiple clariion sp ports)

- connect both sp of the cx to both switches (like sp-a0 to switch1, sp-a1 to switch2)

- zone each ESX hba to ports on both sp

ESX 4 has an autoregistration feature, as soon as the zoning is done the server(s) should show up in the clariion's connectivity list

When creating VM's later on in a VMFS datastore please make sure to align the VM disks properly (see Emc's host connectivity guide for linux or Using diskpart to align partitions for Windows)


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