In my home lab setup I’ve currently got 1 FreeNAS box and 1 ESXi box. They’re connected using a multipath iSCSI link on cheap quad-gigabit cards I brought used. This setup works quite well for home lab use and provides a safe enough place to store my VMs. In this article I’ll guide you through the setup process I’ve used to get iSCSI working between FreeNAS and ESXi.
I’ll presume you’ve got a fresh FreeNAS and ESXi install on both systems and quad or dual gigabit links between them.
By default in ESXi the Round Robin IOPS limit is set to 1000 meaning that the path only changes after 1000 I/O operations have occurred. The result is basically the same performance as running a single path in my experience. Adjusting the limit from 1000 to 1 can result in much better performance.
Installing ESXi (or any os for that matter) off of a CD/DVD is becoming harder and harder yet they still insist on distributing ISO files. Once upon a time we had these drives internally but these days chances are neither your workstation or server are going to have an optical drive meaning you’ll have to dig up a USB optical drive from the bottom of a box buried under multiple other boxes… Or something like that.
USB sticks have replaced optical media for installing operating systems so here I’ll show you how to create an install USB for VMware ESXi. You’ll need:
- A Windows computer (Or USB passthrough to a Windows VM)
- ESXi ISO file
- USB Flash Drive 4GB+
- Rufus (Portable edition is convenient)