Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Present local storage as shared NFS volumes in simple steps (Lab only)

I am using the OpenFiler 2.99 version to transform local storage of my physical servers to shared NFS storage so utilize all the benefits of vSphere which are only available with Shared Storage.

  1. Create a Virtual Machine with 1 vCPU and 2 GB RAM and install Openfiler (2.99 latest version)on it. Add a secondary Virtual Disk with maximum space which would be further sliced and presented as shared/NFS storage from the filer settings.
  2. Static IP could configured during installation, after the installation completes, the configuration page login url is provided on the home screen.
  3. Login to the Admin page with default username: openfiler and password: password on any browser.
  4. Select the "System" Tab and update the ESXi host network information under "Network Access Configuration". You may add the specific host network information or the complete network of the ESXi hosts
  5. Select the "Services" Tab and "enable" & "Start" the NFS Server service.
  6. Select the "Volumes" Tab and then select the "Block Devices" from right hand side and click on "/dev/sdb"
  7. Scroll down till "Create a Partition in /dev/sdb" and make sure "Physical Volume" is selected under Partition Type and click on create.
  8. Now click on "Add Volume" on the right hand side and "Create A New Volume Group"
  9. Now again click on "Add Volume" and "Create a Volume" with the required share size, this size would be the size of the NFS Datastore. In my case I will create 3 NFS Datastore by dividing 370GB into 3 volumes.
  10. Now Click on "Share" Tab and click on the share just created and create a folder name
  11. Click on the folder created and then click on "Make Share"
  12. Under "Share Access" select "Public Guest  Access" and click on update. Remember, this is a lab environment and public access option will make this share accessible to all the hosts.
  13. Scroll Down and Select "RW" under Shared Access Control Mode. This will provide Read / Write permissions on the NFS share.
  14. For more volumes, repeat the steps from 9 to 13.

Now you have created NFS shares and presented to all the ESXi hosts in the your Lab Environment. NFS Datastores are simple to add and manage in a vSphere environment as compared to iSCSI and FC. NFS is also capable of all the vSphere features when compared with iSCSI and FC.


  1. Hi Akmal,

    Is it possible to present an Openfiler LUN to a VM as a Native Block Device ?

    I have configured an Openfiler Virtual appliance which produces virtual disks as Raw LUNs to Ubuntu 12.04 VMs.
    I have attached a second disk to this Openfiler appliance and have carved out a Raw LUN on the second disk.
    This LUN has been presented to the ESXi and Ubuntu 12.04 VMs using different iSCSI Target iqns

    With this setup, all other clustering features works but , I need it for an HP software called "Service Guard" which has a specific requirement for the Shared Disk to be a Physical (not virtual) disk.
    I was trying to fool the Service Guard with Openfiler but it turned out to be too smart and it is detecting the disk as virtual disk, even if it is presented as RDM

    We tried running the following command on the Ubuntu 12.04 (Service Guard) VMs and it is able to detect the LUN as virtual disks as below:

    root@sgnode1:~# lsscsi
    [1:0:0:0] cd/dvd NECVMWar VMware IDE CDR10 1.00 /dev/sr0
    [2:0:0:0] disk VMware Virtual disk 1.0 /dev/sda
    [3:0:0:0] disk OPNFILER VIRTUAL-DISK 0 /dev/sdb

    root@sgnode1:~# sg_persist -k /dev/sdb
    Peripheral device type: disk
    PR in: command not supported

    root@sgnode1:~# sg_persist --in --report-capabilities -v /dev/sdb
    inquiry cdb: 12 00 00 00 24 00
    Peripheral device type: disk
    Persistent Reservation In cmd: 5e 02 00 00 00 00 00 20 00 00
    persistent reservation in: Fixed format, current; Sense key: Illegal Request
    Additional sense: Invalid command operation code
    Info fld=0x0 [0]
    PR in: command not supported

    root@sgnode1:~# sg_inq -d /dev/sdb
    standard INQUIRY:
    PQual=0 Device_type=0 RMB=0 version=0x04 [SPC-2]
    [AERC=0] [TrmTsk=1] NormACA=0 HiSUP=1 Resp_data_format=2
    SCCS=0 ACC=0 TPGS=0 3PC=0 Protect=0 BQue=0
    EncServ=0 MultiP=0 [MChngr=0] [ACKREQQ=0] Addr16=0
    [RelAdr=0] WBus16=0 Sync=0 Linked=0 [TranDis=0] CmdQue=1
    [SPI: Clocking=0x0 QAS=0 IUS=0]
    length=64 (0x40) Peripheral device type: disk
    Vendor identification: OPNFILER
    Product identification: VIRTUAL-DISK
    Product revision level: 0
    Unit serial number: 1GBWze-XfVa-Yu2B
    Version descriptors:
    SBC-2 (no version claimed)
    iSCSI (no version claimed)
    SPC-3 (no version claimed)

    Any ideas to make teh Vms detect the openfiler disk as physical RAW disk would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Interesting, what is the Partition type you have selected while creating the partition ?
      I need to try this in my lab.. I will update you if I am able to achieve this!!!