klutch14u

Am I a fool? XPEnology and VMware question

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I currently have a home VMware cluster.  They have shared ISCSI storage off of a Windows 2012 bare metal box so I can vmotion between them.  Works fantastic. I'm looking to replace the 2012 with a new physical server.  Living in the virt world for work, I tend to want to virtualize everything.  Rather than waste a piece of hardware on an traditional OS or even XPEnology I considered installing ESXi on it, creating a XPE VM and share a NFS datastore off of it for my clustered hosts.  This would allow me to run other things on the physical server and still give me somewhere to host a shared datastore for my other.    Performance isn't a huge issue, I'm not running some sort of heavy database off it, just normal (mostly windows based) vm's. 

 

I'm kind of going into the territory of nested VM's but with storage.

 

I'm kinda looking for someone to talk me out of it and tell me what this is a horrible idea.  I just hate wasting an entire piece of hardware for 1 thing.

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Running XPEnology under ESXi is awesome. Sorry, I can't talk you out of it :)

 

I have a whitebox running a Supermicro X9 board with Mellanox network cards and pass through a LSI2308 SAS controller to the XPEnology VM and it works perfectly for me.

This is with SMB and 8 x 3TB drives in Raid 6...

 

Running a 1000MB file write on W: 5 times...
Iteration 1:    819.93 MB/sec
Iteration 2:    657.03 MB/sec
Iteration 3:    611.12 MB/sec
Iteration 4:    616.80 MB/sec
Iteration 5:    638.62 MB/sec
-----------------------------
Average (W):    668.70 MB/sec
-----------------------------
Running a 1000MB file read on W: 5 times...
Iteration 1:   1076.32 MB/sec
Iteration 2:   1391.45 MB/sec
Iteration 3:   1446.50 MB/sec
Iteration 4:   1477.59 MB/sec
Iteration 5:   1297.04 MB/sec
-----------------------------
Average (R):   1337.78 MB/sec
-----------------------------

 

 

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On 12/10/2018 at 4:34 PM, ZZer00 said:

Running XPEnology under ESXi is awesome. Sorry, I can't talk you out of it :)

 

I have a whitebox running a Supermicro X9 board with Mellanox network cards and pass through a LSI2308 SAS controller to the XPEnology VM and it works perfectly for me.

This is with SMB and 8 x 3TB drives in Raid 6...

 

Running a 1000MB file write on W: 5 times...
Iteration 1:    819.93 MB/sec
Iteration 2:    657.03 MB/sec
Iteration 3:    611.12 MB/sec
Iteration 4:    616.80 MB/sec
Iteration 5:    638.62 MB/sec
-----------------------------
Average (W):    668.70 MB/sec
-----------------------------
Running a 1000MB file read on W: 5 times...
Iteration 1:   1076.32 MB/sec
Iteration 2:   1391.45 MB/sec
Iteration 3:   1446.50 MB/sec
Iteration 4:   1477.59 MB/sec
Iteration 5:   1297.04 MB/sec
-----------------------------
Average (R):   1337.78 MB/sec
-----------------------------

 

 

 

Thanks for you input, those are some impressive stats for sure.  I just need a simple off host datastore so I can vmotion live.  I ended up building it out, works fantastic.  I used an old build of Synology though, seems it's gotten significantly more tedious to build/maintain.  I didn't want to end up with something fragile and pieced together.  What version do you run?

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Mine is setup as a DS3615xs on Jun 1.03b with just a few tweaks to the iso and I'm stuck on 6.2-23739 as I need the VMXNET3 network card support.

 

 

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20 minutes ago, ZZer00 said:

Mine is setup as a DS3615xs on Jun 1.03b with just a few tweaks to the iso and I'm stuck on 6.2-23739 as I need the VMXNET3 network card support.

 

 

 

I'm also on DS3615xs but am on DSM 5.2-5644, I got frustrated with the information sprawl on this site about how to get a newer version working correctly in VMware.  Maybe I'll tinker with it again on a test VM.  Any particular tutorial you used that was straight and to the point that you could point me to?  All I was really looking for was the NFS piece

Edited by klutch14u

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@klutch14u : I might be "swearing in the church", but have you considered using anyting else as a Virtual NFS server?

"Back in the days", when I attended an ESXi course, we used Openfiler as an application to host NFS and iSCSI storage to be used for Vmotion.

They have a VMware appliance download available here.

I know, it's getting old and looks like its abandoned, but it worked great at the time we used it.If you have time to "play around",

I guess most Linux based servers can be set up as a Virtual NFS server. 

 

edit:

BTW: I think I remember I had better NFS performance on my HP N54L (baremetal) while using DSM 5.2 than after I updated to DSM 6.2,

so if you make a new VM, with DSM 6.x, you should compare with your current one. 

Edited by bearcat

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17 hours ago, bearcat said:

@klutch14u : I might be "swearing in the church", but have you considered using anyting else as a Virtual NFS server?

"Back in the days", when I attended an ESXi course, we used Openfiler as an application to host NFS and iSCSI storage to be used for Vmotion.

They have a VMware appliance download available here.

I know, it's getting old and looks like its abandoned, but it worked great at the time we used it.If you have time to "play around",

I guess most Linux based servers can be set up as a Virtual NFS server. 

 

edit:

BTW: I think I remember I had better NFS performance on my HP N54L (baremetal) while using DSM 5.2 than after I updated to DSM 6.2,

so if you make a new VM, with DSM 6.x, you should compare with your current one. 

 

Thanks bearcat, I have considered others.  I have some experience with the old FreeNAS (NAS4free).  I stood up a newer FreeNAS, loved the interface but the performance wasn't that great and it wanted a lot of resources to even exist as a NFS share.  I'll check out Openfiler as I've seen it mentioned before over the years.  I thought maybe down the road I could leverage some of the Synology features.  Mostly I want something that isn't extremely pieced together and delicate.  I'm afraid with all the tweaking that needs done with XPE to get it working that 9 months from now I have to relearn everything to get it working again because of an issue  Good to know on the version thing, really I should probably just run 5.2

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@klutch14u I fully understand what you want, and I have been doing some of the same thinking ;-) 

In the end, (at least for the time beeing) I ended up with a baremetal DSM install on a N54L, providing NFS datastorage to my G8 running as esxi host.

 

If you would like to give DSM another go, there is a clean and easy way to get you going with 6.1.7 (DS3615xs based), supporting VXMNET3.

I used that to install some testVM's on Esxi 5.5, with no problems, 

You might be able to upgrade it to use DS3617xs, that with DSM 6.2, supports

NFS 4.1 multipathing for load balancing and network redundancy to fully support VMware vSphere 6.5.

Due to my 5.5 setup, I have not yet had time to to find an upgrade path...

 

Another thing you might have a look at, is StarVind VSAN if you can use the free version.

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16 hours ago, bearcat said:

@klutch14u I fully understand what you want, and I have been doing some of the same thinking ;-) 

In the end, (at least for the time beeing) I ended up with a baremetal DSM install on a N54L, providing NFS datastorage to my G8 running as esxi host.

 

If you would like to give DSM another go, there is a clean and easy way to get you going with 6.1.7 (DS3615xs based), supporting VXMNET3.

I used that to install some testVM's on Esxi 5.5, with no problems, 

You might be able to upgrade it to use DS3617xs, that with DSM 6.2, supports

NFS 4.1 multipathing for load balancing and network redundancy to fully support VMware vSphere 6.5.

Due to my 5.5 setup, I have not yet had time to to find an upgrade path...

 

Another thing you might have a look at, is StarVind VSAN if you can use the free version.

Awesome, thank you!  Any idea where the grub file he refers to in the steps is?  I need the MAC out of it

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@klutch14u Inside the zip file, there is 2 files, 1 of them is "synoboot.img", use OSFMount to mount partition 0 (as writable), your will the folder \grub where "grub.cfg" is located.

(default setting is "set mac1=0011322CA785")

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19 hours ago, bearcat said:

@klutch14u Inside the zip file, there is 2 files, 1 of them is "synoboot.img", use OSFMount to mount partition 0 (as writable), your will the folder \grub where "grub.cfg" is located.

(default setting is "set mac1=0011322CA785")

 

Thanks bearcat, finally got it going.  He left a few other details out but got it booting reliably.  Question, when you deploy the base VM it, by default, adds a disk.  I assume you leave this one and it goes on the SCSI controller.  I haven't added any other data disks to it yet but when I try to install vmtools it tells me I have to add a volume.  It seemed like no other disk was required on my 5.2 build.  I assumed these system type pieces of software were being installed on the disk on the SCSI controller?

 

Incidentally, is bearcat for NWMSU?

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@klutch14u Good :-) Let's see if I can explain it, based on my memory...  ( as in: I might make an error..)

The VM comes with a SCSI based disk, used only for the bootloader.

This allows you to get it going (or should I say booting?). (this equals the USB boot drive used on baremetal systems).

 

For you to install any packages (apps), you will need to add 1 or more "disks" to be used for your storage. 

This could be virtual drives, RDM or passthrough, depending on your needs. On this disk (disks), you will have to create your first volume, this is where you will install any add-on apps, like vmtools. Next, you can make some shares, like your NFS storage for Esxi.

 

 

 

In regards to my nick, it's a long story. boiled down to this:

Grumman F8F BearCat.jpg

Edited by bearcat

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