How to: Add iSCSI SAN storage to VMWare ESXI

In this Tutorial I am gong to show you how to add a LUN on a SAN through the iSCSI initiator on VMWARE ESXI Server.
The SAN I had available to do this on, is the Promise VessRAID 1830i
NOTE: Your interface to your SAN might look different, but the terminology stays the same.
  1. Creating the storage LUN on the SAN
Login to your SAN interface, and create a new logical drive / LUN (whatever your SAN calls it)

For the purpose of the tutorial, I created a LUN of 500GB in space, in RAID 5 configuration.

My SAN asks if I want to edit lun mapping (Masking), once a LUN is configured. I always mask luns, as I want devices to only see the LUNs they are entitled to. I clicked “OK”

Next I selected my iSCSI initiator (Shown later in post), and gave the LUN I just created an ID of 0, as this is the first LUN that I am assigning to my ESXI server.

And once I submitted my changes, my SAN is all setup and ready to go.

2. Adding the LUN to ESXI

Now, open your vSphere client, and login to your ESXI host. On the main page, click on your “Congifuration” tab, then click “Storage Adapters”

Your first item will be the iScsi initiator. Select it, and click on “Properties” in the below section

You will first need to enable your iScsi initiator. To do this, click “Configure” in the properties dialog.

Check the “Enable” tickbox, and in the iSCSI Name field, you will see the name of the iSCSI initiator (Which you will use on your san for LUN masking) and click “Ok”

On the next Tab (Dynamic Discovery), click on “Add” and enter the IP address of one of your iSCSI ports of your san, mine is

Click “Ok” and then “Close” the properties window.
Once this is done, vSphere will prompt you to rescan the iSCSI host for any new luns available, click “Yes”

Once the adapter is rescanned (Takes a couple of seconds), your LUN will be shown in the list view below.
The reason I am only seeing the 500GB LUN I Created, is because I use LUN Masking on my SAN, thus making only the created LUN available to the ESXI iSCSI initiator.

Now, your SAN LUN is Added to ESXI. Only config left is to tell ESXI what to use the new storage for.
Click on “Storage” on the left menu in the “Hardware” section, where you will see it displays my current local datastore which is only the local harddrives. Click on “Add Storage”

In the Add Storage wizard first page, select “Disk/LUN” and click Next

Your Added LUN will be in the list, select it, and click “Next”

Next will be a summary of your disk layout, click next
(NOTE: If you get an error when this page loads, it will probably be because there is a SAN operation running on the LUN like Initialization, Syncing, capacity expansion, etc – all in all, if you get an error here, your LUN isn’t ready on the san)

Next enter a name for the LUN (Just so you can identify it)

On the next page you will see the file formatting config, I left the defaults, and clicked next

You will get a final summary page to confirm everything, click “Finish”

Once you have successfully finished the wizard, you will see your LUN storage ready in the storage list.

Now when you create a new VM, you will see the new storage on your san in the Datastore step of the create VM Wizard.

And of course, when adding a new hard drive on a VM.

Final Word:
It is really really easy to add a SAN as a storage location for your VMs in ESXI, the Promise VessRAID range is an affordable SAN solution for small businesses and I would recommend this to any company that would like to enter the SAN arena for little cost. The Promise VessRAID 1830i will cost you around $250 with disks unpopulated.

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