Presenting Nutanix backed iSCSI storage with MPIO to Windows OS – Part1

In my last post on the topic of Nutanix Acropolis Volumes API I described the process of creating an iSCSI datastore on vSphere which is backed by Acropolis Volumes API. You can read the blog here .

In continuation to that I wanted to describe the process of presenting iSCSI volume to Windows OS (physical/virtual) with MPIO and this 2 part series is going to focus on that. In the first part I will be listing the steps required on the Windows OS for the MPIO setup.

Lets quickly revisit the concepts here

What is Volume Management / API?

The Acropolis Volumes API exposes back-end NDFS storage to guest operating system, physical hosts, and containers through iSCSI. This allows any operating system to access Nutanix DSF (Distributed Storage Fabric) and leverage it’s storage capabilities. In this deployment, the Operating system is talking directly to Nutanix storage layer bypassing the hypervisor.

What is MPIO?

Microsoft Multipath I/O (MPIO) is a Microsoft-provided framework that allows storage providers to develop multipath solutions that contain the hardware-specific information needed to optimize connectivity with their storage arrays. These modules are called device-specific modules (DSMs).MPIO is protocol-independent and can be used with Fibre Channel, Internet SCSI (iSCSI), and Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) interfaces in Windows Server® 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012.

Prerequisites

  • A Windows Operating system installed on physical or virtual machine (I am using Windows 2012 R2 VM for this blog post)
  • Two network interfaces attached to the Windows machine
  • Nutanix infrastructure

Configuration of the Virtual Machine

  • Connect to the Windows VM and open Server Manager
  • On the server manager
  1. Click on dashboard
  2. Click on Add roles and features

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Select destination server

  1. Click on server selection
  2. Select the local server
  3. Click Next

Picture3Select installation type

  1. Choose Role based or feature-based installation

Picture4Select Features

  1. Select Multipath I/O

Picture5Verify the installation and close the wizard

Picture6Open the Server Manager wizard again

  1. Click on Tools
  2. Open the MPIO configuration screen

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Open the MPIO properties

  1. Click on Discover Multi-paths
  2. Select “Add support for iSCSI devices”
  3. Click “OK”

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In the MPIO properties wizard

  1. Click on MPIO devices
  2. Verify that you can see the MSFT Device hardware ID

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Open the Server Manager wizard again

  1. Click on Tools
  2. Open the iSCSI initiator configuration screen

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Start the iSCSi service

Picture11Open the iSCSI initiator configuration screen

  1. Go to configuration
  2. Note/copy down the iSCSI initiator name from here

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This above process now completes the Windows setup required for the MPIO configuration with Nutanix iSCSI layer. In the next part I will be looking at the steps required on the Nutanix layer and finishing the remaining tasks at the Windows OS for the iSCSI presentation.

Stay tuned for the next and the final part in this series.

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