iSCSI Design Considerations and Deployment Guide
With the release of VMware Infrastructure 3, VMware added ESX Server support for iSCSI storage. With rapidly increasing adoption rates, many VMware customers requested iSCSI as an option for storage virtualization and are now deploying it as a lower cost alternative to Fibre Channel SANs. This paper is intended to help you understand the design considerations and deployment options for deploying VMware Infrastructure 3 using iSCSI storage. The first section provides an overview of iSCSI terminology, benefits, and limitations. The second section provides a high-level overview of the VMware iSCSI implementation using either a software initiator or a hardware initiator. The third section provides a detailed set of deployment steps covering both software and hardware initiator options. The paper concludes with two appendices that provide software versus hardware initiator iSCSI performance test results and details on command line options for managing iSCSI from the ESX Server host. This paper highlights trade-offs and factors to consider when deploying iSCSI storage to support VMware Infrastructure 3. It is a complement to, not a replacement for, VMware product documentation.