Configuring Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software in a VMware Environment

by Anderson Souza

This article describes how to implement Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software in a Windows 2008 R2 virtual machine running in a VMware environment.


Published August 2013


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Table of Contents
Overview
System Requirements and Configuration
Configuring Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance for iSCSI
Configuring Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator
Working with Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software
Conclusion
See Also
About the Author

Overview

Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance (formerly Sun ZFS Storage Appliance) provides a plug-in called Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software that gives you the option to create snapshots of Microsoft Windows volumes. The plug-in runs in a Microsoft Windows Server platform that can be a physical, "bare metal" installation or even virtual environment, such as a VMware environment. Also, this plug-in will work with Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Server (VSS) as a hardware provider, and then it will permit opening a direct connection with iSCSI LUNs exported by Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance, bypassing the VMware hypervisor layer.

Note: References to Sun ZFS Storage Appliance, Sun ZFS Storage 7000, and ZFS Storage Appliance all refer to the same family of Oracle ZFS Storage Appliances.

The following sections describe the steps to install, configure, and run Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software in a Windows 2008 R2 virtual machine running in a VMware environment.

System Requirements and Configuration

  • Storage and protocols:

    • 10 GbE for iSCSI network

      IMPORTANT: The Fibre Channel protocol is not supported by Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software in a VMware environment.

    • Sun ZFS Storage Appliance 7000 Series with at least one 10-GbE (isolated) interface for iSCSI traffic only
    • IPMP, LACP, and 9000 MTU jumbo frame configurations (optional)

      Note: IPMP, LACP, and 9000 MTU jumbo frame configurations are optional, but employing these configurations is always recommended to improve performance and resilience.

    • DNS servers that are properly configured and working
  • Hypervisor: VMware ESXi 4.x or 5.x host with at least one 10-GbE interface for iSCSI and two virtual switches (vswitches). One vswitch is used for public IP addressing/virtual machine management. The other vswitch is used for iSCSI traffic between Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance and VMware ESXi hosts.

    Note: As a best practice, ensure that all iSCSI traffic between VMware ESXi hosts and Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance is isolated. Work with network segmentation or even VLANs.

  • Virtual machine and software:

    • Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 SP1 "updated" with all patches installed
    • Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator software
    • Two VMXNET3 VMware virtual network cards (vNICs): one for the public/virtual machine management network and the other for iSCSI traffic only
    • Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software

      Note: For Microsoft Windows 2008/2000 R2, the iSCSI initiator software is included in the box.

    • Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software

      Note: For further information on installing and configuring Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software, see the article "Installing and Configuring the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software." Also, refer to the "Best Practices for Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance and VMware vSphere 5.x" white paper, located on the Oracle Technical Network Sun NAS Storage Documentation web page, to ensure that your VMware environment is running properly with a supported configuration.

Configuring Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance for iSCSI

Before configuring the Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 iSCSI software initiator in your Windows 2008 R2 servers, you need to configure your Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance iSCSI target and initiators. Use the following steps to perform this task.

Creating iSCSI Targets and Target Groups on Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance

  1. On Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance, click Configuration, SAN, iSCSI, and then Targets (highlighted in boxes in Figure 1) to create a new iSCSI target.

    Figure 1

    Figure 1. Accessing the iSCSI configuration on Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance

  2. For Target IQN, select Auto-assign and let Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance auto-assign an IQN for your target initiator.
  3. Enter an alias name for your new target.
  4. If needed, you can work with CHAP or RADIUS authentication, so once chosen, you will need to enter the target CHAP name and CHAP secret.
  5. Select the network interface that you want to use for your iSCSI traffic.
  6. Click OK, and the new iSCSI target will be created.

    The example being configured uses two 10-GbE interfaces working with the LACP protocol. The chosen interface, seen in Figure 2 along with the other settings, is aggr1.

    Figure 2

    Figure 2. Creating iSCSI targets on Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance

  7. Create an iSCSI target group. To do this, drag the recently created iSCSI target from the left-side Targets pane to the right side under the Target Groups pane, or onto an existing target group, to add the selected iSCSI target to it. See Figure 3.
  8. Click Edit entry to change the new iSCSI target group name, and then click OK and Apply.

    Figure 3

    Figure 3. Creating iSCSI target groups on Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance

Creating iSCSI Initiators and Initiator Groups on Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance

Follow these steps for creating iSCSI initiators and initiator groups on Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance.

  1. To perform this task, you will need the iSCSI initiator names of your Windows 2008 R2 servers. The Microsoft iSCSI software initiator comes with the operating system's default installation (inbox), so to get the iSCSI initiators information for your Windows 2008 R2 servers, do the following:

    1. In Windows, click Start, and navigate to Administrative Tools and iSCSI initiator.
    2. In the iSCSI initiator screen, select the Configuration tab.
    3. Take note of the iSCSI initiator name, as seen in Figure 4. This name will be used in the Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance iSCSI initiator and initiator group configuration.

      Note: The iSCSI initiator name listed in Figure 4 is the default name that contains the initial Microsoft IQN information plus the host name. If needed, the default name can be changed.

      Figure 4

      Figure 4. Microsoft Windows iSCSI initiator name

  2. Assuming that you already know the iSCSI initiator name of your Windows 2008 R2 servers, now you need to create the iSCSI initiator and initiator group. In the Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance browser user interface (BUI), select Configuration, SAN, and iSCSI, and then click Add initiators. See Figure 5. Once created, the initiator will be available under the Initiator tab.
  3. Next, create the initiator group by dragging and dropping the recently created iSCSI initiator under the Initiator Groups pane, as seen in Figure 5, or onto an existing initiator group to add the new iSCSI initiator to that initiator group.
  4. Click the edit icon to change the iSCSI initiator group name. Enter a new alias, and then click OK and Apply. See Figure 5.

    Figure 5

    Figure 5. Creating an iSCSI initiator in the Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance BUI

Configuring Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator

The following steps show how to configure the Microsoft iSCSI software initiator in your Windows 2008 R2 servers.

  1. To access the Microsoft iSCSI initiator software, in your Windows screen, click Start, and then navigate to Administrative Tools and iSCSI Initiator, as shown in Figure 6.

    Figure 6

    Figure 6. Accessing Microsoft Windows iSCSI initiator software

  2. In the iSCSI initiator screen, under the Targets tab, click Target and enter the IP address/name of your 10-GbE iSCSI interface for Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance. Then click Quick Connect, Done, and OK. Figure 7 shows the areas of interest in boxes.

    Figure 7

    Figure 7. Discovering the iSCSI target on Microsoft Windows iSCSI initiator software

  3. Select the Discovery tab and then the Favorite Targets tab to ensure the software has properly logged the target information.

    Figure 8

    Figure 8. iSCSI target information on Microsoft Windows iSCSI initiator software

    Note: In the example, CHAP configuration is not used. However, if needed, enter the correct information.

    Note: Ensure that the Microsoft iSCSI initiator software is enabled during server start. Also ensure that it has been successfully logging the target information after server restarts and Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance reboot, failback, and takeover operations.

Working with Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software

Now that you've created your iSCSI target on Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance and configured the Microsoft iSCSI initiator software to properly recognize it, you can install the Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software. This section explains how to test and use the volume shadow copy service with Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance.

  1. Download the Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software plug-in.
  2. Install the plug-in.

    Note: Detailed installation instructions are beyond the scope of this article. For more information, refer to the documentation that accompanies the plug-in.

    IMPORTANT: Ensure that you have the right Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance workflow configuration as well as users and permissions in place. Read the README file and documentation for the Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software. Similar information is also available in the article "Installing and Configuring the Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software" located on the Sun NAS Storage Documentation page of the Oracle Technical Network.

    The following example screenshots show a workflow configuration for Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software. These examples use a storage pool called pool0, a project called vmware, and a VSS user called vssuser who is a member of the vss_group role. See Figure 9 and Figure 10.

    Figure 9

    Figure 9. Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance workflow configuration for Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software

    Figure 10

    Figure 10. Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance username configuration for Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service

    Assuming that you have successfully installed and configured Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software, you can now perform functionality tests and also attach a third-party backup solution to work with Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance thorough Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software.

  3. Create an iSCSI LUN on Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance and present it to your Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 virtual machine through iSCSI. Map to the correct iSCSI target/initiators previously created, as shown in Figure 11.

    Figure 11

    Figure 11. iSCSI LUN provisioning in the Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance BUI

  4. On the Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 virtual machines, rescan the iSCSI disks:

    1. Click Start, and then navigate to Administrative Tools and Server Manager.
    2. Under the Storage option, right-click Disk Management and select Rescan Disks.

      Once available, the new disk will be listed as unallocated, as seen in Figure 12.

      Figure 12

      Figure 12. Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 disk management

  5. Initialize the new iSCSI disk, create a partition on it, and format the partition as an NTFS file system (Microsoft Windows format). The new disk will be available for use, as you can see in Figure 13.

    Figure 13

    Figure 13. Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 disk management—VSS disk test unit F:

    Note: Ensure that Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software is correctly installed and correctly configured for Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance. Figure 14 shows the correct status of the Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software.

    Figure 14

    Figure 14. Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software status

  6. Run the vssadmin list providers and vssadmin list writers commands to ensure that there are no outstanding issues. Figure 15 and Figure 16 show screen output for the respective commands.

    Figure 15

    Figure 15. Microsoft Windows 2008R2 vssadmin list providers command output

    Figure 16

    Figure 16. Microsoft Windows 2008R2 vssadmin list writers command output

  7. Run all of the following tests and ensure that there are no errors.

    1. Run diskshadow.

      DISKSHADOW> add volume f:
      DISKSHADOW> create 
      DISKSHADOW> list shadows all
      DISKSHADOW> delete shadows all 
      
    2. Test persistent shadow copy.
    3. Run diskshadow.

      DISKSHADOW> set context persistent 
      DISKSHADOW> add volume f: 
      DISKSHADOW> create 
      DISKSHADOW> list shadows all
      DISKSHADOW> delete shadows all 
      
    4. Test nonpersistent transportable shadow copy.
    5. Run diskshadow.

      DISKSHADOW> set context persistent 
      DISKSHADOW> set option transportable 
      DISKSHADOW> begin backup 
      DISKSHADOW> add volume f: 
      DISKSHADOW> set metadata c:\metadata\test.cab <path for the metadata> 
      DISKSHADOW> create 
      DISKSHADOW> end backup 
      

Conclusion

This article demonstrated the necessary steps to set up, install, configure, and implement Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Provider for Volume Shadow Copy Service Software with Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance and iSCSI protocol in a VMware environment.

See Also

For more information, visit the following resources. Note that references to Sun ZFS Storage Appliance, ZFS Storage Appliance, and Sun ZFS Storage 7000 all refer to the Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance.

About the Author

Anderson Souza is a virtualization senior software engineer in Oracle's Application Integration Engineering group. He joined Oracle in 2012, bringing more than 14 years of technology industry, systems engineering, and virtualization expertise. Anderson has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Networking, a master's degree in Telecommunication Systems/Network Engineering, and also an MBA with a concentration in project management.

Revision 1.0, 08/21/2013

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