Starwind – Tech-Coffee https://www.tech-coffee.net Tue, 20 Mar 2018 10:54:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.11 65682309 Connect StarWind Virtual Tape Library to a Windows Server 2016 https://www.tech-coffee.net/connect-starwind-virtual-tape-library-to-a-windows-server-2016/ https://www.tech-coffee.net/connect-starwind-virtual-tape-library-to-a-windows-server-2016/#comments Tue, 20 Mar 2018 10:54:54 +0000 https://www.tech-coffee.net/?p=6234 StarWind Virtual Tape Library (VTL) is a feature included in StarWind Virtual SAN. StarWind VTL provides a virtual LTO library to store your backup archival. StarWind VTL eliminates the heavy process of tape management and also a costly LTO library. StarWind VTL provides virtual tape to store your backup archival. The connection between StarWind Virtual ...

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StarWind Virtual Tape Library (VTL) is a feature included in StarWind Virtual SAN. StarWind VTL provides a virtual LTO library to store your backup archival. StarWind VTL eliminates the heavy process of tape management and also a costly LTO library. StarWind VTL provides virtual tape to store your backup archival. The connection between StarWind Virtual Tape Library and a server is made by using iSCSI. StarWind VTL emulates virtual tape by Hewlett Packard VTL. In this topic we’ll see how to connect StarWind Virtual Tape Library to a Windows Server 2016. In a next topic, I’ll use the StarWind VTL to archive backup with Veeam Backup & Replication U3.

Requirements

To install StarWind VTL, you need a server with at least the following hardware:

  • 2x (v)CPU
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 2x Network Adapters (one for management and the other for iSCSI)
  • 1x hard drive for OS
  • 1x hard drive for virtual tape

From my side, I have deployed a virtual machine to host StarWind VTL

StarWind Virtual Tape Library installation

To deploy StarWind VTL, firstly you need to download StarWind Virtual SAN from this link. Then run the installation and when you have to choose the components, specify settings as the following:

Once the product is installed, run the StarWind management console.

StarWind Virtual Tape Library configuration

Firstly, I change the management interface to bind only to the management IP address. In this way, we can’t manage the product from iSCSI network adapter. To change the management interface, navigate to Configuration | Management Interface.

Next in General pane, click on Add VTL Device.

Then, specify a name for your Virtual Tape Library ad a location.

Then leave the default option and click on Next.

On the next screen, you are asked to create the iSCSI target. Choose to Create new target. Then specify a target alias.

If the creation is successful, you should get the following information:

Now in StarWind Management Console, you have a VTL device.

If you wish, you can add another virtual tape library to your iSCSI target.

Connect Windows Server to StarWind VTL

On the Windows Server, open iSCSI initiator properties. You are asked to start the MS iSCSI service automatically. Choose yes. Then in target, enter the IP address of the StarWInd VTL iSCSI IP address. Then connect to the target.

Once connected, you can open the Device Manager. As you can see in the below screenshot, you

Conclusion

If you don’t want to invest in a Tape Library you can use StarWind Virtual Tape Library to archive your data. In a real world, usually you use a physical machine with a lot of SATA devices. Instead of using Tape, you use SATA devices. In addition to be a cheaper solution, you don’t need to implement a process for tape rotation. However, the StarWind VTL should be in another datacenter in case of datacenter disaster.

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Deploy a Software-Defined Storage solution with StarWind Virtual SAN https://www.tech-coffee.net/deploy-a-software-defined-storage-solution-with-starwind-vsan/ https://www.tech-coffee.net/deploy-a-software-defined-storage-solution-with-starwind-vsan/#respond Fri, 26 Jan 2018 10:34:51 +0000 https://www.tech-coffee.net/?p=6117 StarWind Virtual SAN is a Software-Defined Storage solution which enables to replicate data across several nodes to ensure availability. The data are mirrored between two or more nodes. Hypervisor can be installed in the StarWind Virtual SAN nodes (hyperconverged) or separated from hypervisor (converged). StarWind Virtual SAN is easy to use and provide high performance. ...

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StarWind Virtual SAN is a Software-Defined Storage solution which enables to replicate data across several nodes to ensure availability. The data are mirrored between two or more nodes. Hypervisor can be installed in the StarWind Virtual SAN nodes (hyperconverged) or separated from hypervisor (converged). StarWind Virtual SAN is easy to use and provide high performance. Moreover, StarWind provides pro active support. In this topic I’ll show you how to deploy a 3-Nodes StarWind VSAN to use with Hyper-V or ESXi.

Lab overview

To write this topic, I have deployed three VMware VMs running on Windows Server 2016. Each VM has the following configuration:

  • 2 vCPU
  • 8GB of memory
  • 1x VMXNET3 NIC in management network (for Active Directory, RDP, VM management)
  • 1x VMXNET3 NIC in cluster network (synchronization and heartbeat)
  • 1x VMXNET3 NIC in Storage network (iSCSI with hypervisor)
  • 1x 100GB Data disk

If you plan to deploy StarWind VSAN in production, you need physical server with enough storage and with enough network adapters.

StarWind Virtual SAN installation

First, download StarWind VSAN from their website. Once you have downloaded the installer, execute it on each StarWind VSAN node. First, accept the license agreement.

In the next screen, click on Next.

Specify a folder location where StarWind Virtual SAN will be installed.

Select StarWind Virtual SAN Server in the drop down menu.

Specify the start menu folder and click on Next.

If you want a desktop icon, enable the checkbox.

If you have already a license key, select Thank you, I do have a key already and click on Next.

Specify the location of the license file and click on Next.

Review the license information and click on Next.

If the iSCSI service is not started and disabled, you’ll get this pop-up. Click on OK to enable and start the Microsoft iSCSI initiator service.

Once you have installed StarWind Virtual SAN in each node, you can start next step.

Create an iSCSI target and a storage device

Open StarWind Management Console and click on Add Server.

Then add each node and click on OK. In the below screenshot, I clicked on Scan StarWind Servers to discover automatically nodes.

When you connect to each node, you get this warning. Choose the default location of the storage pool (storage devices).

Right click on the first node and select Add Target.

Specify a target alias and be sure to allow multiple concurrent iSCSI connections.

Once the target has been created, you get the following screen:

Now, right click on the target and select Add new Device to Target.

Select Hard Disk Device and click on Next.

Choose the option which apply to your configuration. In my case, I choose virtual disk.

Specify a name and a size for the virtual disk.

Choose thick-provisioned or Log Structured File System (LSFS). LSFS is designed for Virtual Machine because this file system eliminates IO Blender effect. With LSFS you can also enable deduplication. Choose also the right block cache size.

In the next screen, you can choose where are held metadata and how may worker threads you want.

Choose a device RAM cache parameters.

You can also specify a flash cache capacity if you have installed SSD in your nodes.

Then click on Create to create the storage device.

Once the storage device is created, you get the following screen:

At this time, you have a virtual disk on the first node. This virtual disk can store your data. But this storage device has no resiliency. In the next steps, we will replicate this storage devices with the two other nodes.

Replicate the storage device in other StarWind VSAN nodes

Right click on the storage device and select Replication Manager.

In the replication manager, select Add Replica.

Select Synchronous Two-Way Replication to replicate data across StarWind Virtual SAN nodes.

Specify the hostname and the port of the partner and click on Next.

Then select the failover strategy: Heartbeat or Node Majority. In my case I choose Node Majority. This mode requires that the majority of nodes are online. In a three nodes configuration, you can support only one loss.

Then choose to create a new partner device.

Specify the target name and the location of the storage device in partner node.

Select the network for synchronization. In my case, I select the cluster network.

Then select to synchronize from existing device.

To start the creation of the replication, click on Create Replica.

Repeat the same previous steps for the third node. At the end, the configuration should be similar to the following screenshot:

In StarWind Management Console, if you click on a target, you can see each iSCSI session: each node has two iSCSI sessions because there are three nodes.

iSCSI connection

Now that StarWind Virtual SAN is ready, you can connect by using iSCSI your favorite hypervisor. Don’t forget to configure MPIO to support the multipath. For ESXi you can read this topic.

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Get Storage Spaces Direct insights from StarWind Manager https://www.tech-coffee.net/get-storage-spaces-direct-insights-from-starwind-manager/ https://www.tech-coffee.net/get-storage-spaces-direct-insights-from-starwind-manager/#respond Wed, 27 Sep 2017 15:09:33 +0000 https://www.tech-coffee.net/?p=5806 Earlier in the week, I published a blog post about Honolulu project and how in the future, this tool can ease Windows Server management. Today I introduce another management tool for Storage Spaces Direct (hyperconverged or disaggregated). This tool is called StarWind Manager and it is developed by … StarWind. StarWind Manager is currently in ...

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Earlier in the week, I published a blog post about Honolulu project and how in the future, this tool can ease Windows Server management. Today I introduce another management tool for Storage Spaces Direct (hyperconverged or disaggregated). This tool is called StarWind Manager and it is developed by … StarWind.

StarWind Manager is currently in preview version and for the moment, it is free. You can download it from this link. This tool provides you real time metrics such as bandwidth, IOPS, CPU usage and so on. You can get also insights about Storage Spaces Direct such as the physical disks, the Cluster Shared Volumes, the jobs which are running etc. In this topic we’ll see how to deploy StarWind Manager and which kind of information you can retrieve.

StarWind Manager roles

StarWind Manager comes with two roles: the StarWind Manager Core and StarWind Manager agent. The agent must be deployed on Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) cluster nodes while the core can be deployed in a VM. The core role provides a web interface to get information about your cluster and takes information from agent. Currently StarWind manager enables to add only nodes. You can’t add entire cluster with a single click.

Deploy StarWind Manager Core role

After you have downloaded StarWind Manager, you can copy the executable to your VM. I have created a VM with 2 vCPU and 4GB of dynamic memory for this. Then run the executable to start the setup wizard. You can achieve the install process quickly because few information are asked.

Select to install StarWind Manager Core and do not install StarWind Manager agent.

That’s all. StarWind Manager Core is installed after the wizard and it is ready to use.

Deploy StarWind Manager Agent role

To install StarWind Manager Agent on your S2D Cluster nodes, copy the installer on servers and run the wizard. It’s work for Windows Server 2016 Core: I have deployed the agents on Core edition in my lab. In the wizard, select StarWind Manager agent and do not install the StarWind Manager Core.

Repeat the agent installation for each S2D cluster node you have.

Connect to StarWind Manager

To connect to StarWind Manager, open a browser and type http://<VM hostname>:8100/client. Default credentials are root / Starwind.

For the moment, StarWind Manager provides only the ability to add S2D cluster nodes. To add nodes, click on … Add New Node.

After you’ve added your nodes, you can retrieve information about your nodes on dashboard pane. You get the status, the IP, the name, the uptime, information about software and hardware.

On performance tab, you can retrieve real time metrics about your node such as CPU utilization, Memory Usage, IOPS and bandwidth.

On Storage Spaces Direct tab you get information about S2D. This pane provides you cluster overview such as the nodes in the cluster the storage capacity and space allocation and the health.

In the same tab, information about Storage Pools and virtual volumes are provided.

You can get also information about physical disks and running jobs.

Conclusion

I’m more than happy that lot of GUI are under development for Storage Spaces Direct. The main disadvantage of the Microsoft solution compared to VMware vSAN or Nutanix is the user experience. But currently Microsoft is working on Honolulu and StarWind is working on this product. Even if both product are under development, they provide clear information about S2D. Now I hope both products will provide in near future easy access to complex S2D operations for day to day administration such has a physical disk removal (place disk in retired mode, enable LED on front of disk, then change the disk and disable LED). From my point of view, this kind of products can heavily help the adoption of Storage Spaces Direct, in hyperconverged or disaggregated model.

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Deploy a 2-node StarWind VSAN Free for VMware ESXi 6.5 https://www.tech-coffee.net/deploy-a-2-node-starwind-vsan-free-for-vmware-esxi-6-5/ https://www.tech-coffee.net/deploy-a-2-node-starwind-vsan-free-for-vmware-esxi-6-5/#comments Tue, 18 Apr 2017 17:31:28 +0000 https://www.tech-coffee.net/?p=5388 StarWind VSAN Free provides a storage solution for several purposes such as store virtual machines. With VSAN Free, you can deploy a 2-node cluster to present a highly available storage solution to hypervisor such as Hyper-V or ESXi for free. When you deploy multi VSAN Free nodes, the data are synchronized across the network between ...

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StarWind VSAN Free provides a storage solution for several purposes such as store virtual machines. With VSAN Free, you can deploy a 2-node cluster to present a highly available storage solution to hypervisor such as Hyper-V or ESXi for free. When you deploy multi VSAN Free nodes, the data are synchronized across the network between nodes.

You can deploy StarWind VSAN Free in hyperconverged model where VSAN Free is installed on hypervisor nodes or in a disaggregated model where compute and storage are separated. In the below table, you can find the difference between StarWind VSAN Free and paid edition.

As you can see, the big differences between both editions are the technical support assistance and management capabilities. With StarWind VSAN Free, you are able to manage only by PowerShell (and 30 trial days across StarWind Management console) and you have no access to technical support assistance.

Thanks to this free version, we are able to deploy a highly available storage solution. In this topic, we will see how to deploy StarWind VSAN Free in a 2-node configuration on Windows Server 2016 Core edition. Then we will connect the storage to VMware ESXi.

Requirements

To write this topic, I have deployed the following virtual machines. In production, I recommend you to implement the solution on physical servers. Each VM has the following hardware:

  • 2 vCPU
  • 4GB of memory
  • 1x OS disk (60GB dynamic)
  • 4x 100GB disks (100GB dynamic)
  • 1x vNIC for management (and heartbeat)
  • 1x vNIC for storage sync

In the end of the topic, I will connect the storage to a VMware ESXi. So if you want to follow this topic, you need a running vSphere environment.

You can download StarWind VSAN Free here.

Architecture overview

Both StarWind VSAN Free nodes will be deployed with Windows Server 2016 Core Edition. Both nodes have two network adapters each. One network is used for the synchronization between both nodes (not routed network). The other is used for iSCSI and management. Ideally, you should isolate management and iSCSI traffic in two separated vNICs.

Configure the data disks

Once the operating system is deployed, I run the following script to create a storage pool and a volume to host Starwind image files.

# Initialize data disks
get-disk |? OperationalStatus -notlike "Online" | Initialize-Disk

#Create a storage pool with previously initialized data disks
New-StoragePool -StorageSubSystemFriendlyName "*VMSAN*" `
                -FriendlyName Pool `
                -PhysicalDisks (get-physicaldisk |? canpool -like $True)

#Create a NTFS volume in 2-Way mirroring with maximum space. Letter: D:\
New-Volume -StoragePoolFriendlyName Pool `
           -FriendlyName Storage `
           -FileSystem NTFS `
           -DriveLetter D `
           -PhysicalDiskRedundancy 1 `
           -UseMaximumSize

#Create a folder on D: called Starwind
new-item -type Directory -Path D:\ -Name Starwind 

Install StarWind VSAN Free

I have copied the StarWind VSAN Free binaries in both nodes. Then I run from command line the installer. On the welcome screen, just click on next.

In the next screen, accept the license agreement and click on next.

The next window introduces the new features and improvements of StarWind Virtual SAN v8. Once you have read them, just click on next.

Next, choose a folder where will be installed StarWind VSAN Free binaries.

Then choose which features you want install. You can install powerful features such as SMI-S to connect to Virtual Machine Manager, the PowerShell management library or the cluster service.

In the next screen choose the start menu folder and click on next.

In the next screen, you can request the free version key. StarWind has already kindly given me a license file so I choose Thank you, I do have a key already.

Then I specify the license file and I click on next.

Next you should have information about the provided license key. Just click on next.

To finish, click on install to deploy the product.

You have to repeat these steps for each node.

Deploy the 2-node configuration

StarWind provides some PowerShell script samples to configure the product from command line. To create the 2-node cluster, we will leverage the script CreateHA(two nodes).ps1. You can get script samples in <InstallPath>\StarWind Software\StarWind\StarWindX\Samples\PowerShell.

Copy scripts CreateHA(two nodes).ps1 and enumDevicesTargets.ps1 and edit them.

Below you can find my edited CreateHA(two nodes).ps1:

Import-Module StarWindX

try
{
    #specify the IP address and credential (this is default cred) of a first node
    $server = New-SWServer -host 10.10.0.46 -port 3261 -user root -password starwind

    $server.Connect()

    $firstNode = new-Object Node

    # Specify the path where image file is stored
    $firstNode.ImagePath = "My computer\D\Starwind"
    # Specify the image name
    $firstNode.ImageName = "VMSto1"
    # Size of the image
    $firstNode.Size = 65536
    # Create the image
    $firstNode.CreateImage = $true
    # iSCSI target alias (lower case only supported because of RFC)
    $firstNode.TargetAlias = "vmsan01"
    # Synchro auto ?
    $firstNode.AutoSynch = $true
    # partner synchronization interface (second node)
    $firstNode.SyncInterface = "#p2=10.10.100.47:3260"
    # partner heartbeat interface (second node)
    $firstNode.HBInterface = "#p2=10.10.0.47:3260"
    # cache size
    $firstNode.CacheSize = 64
    # cache mode (write-back cache)
    $firstNode.CacheMode = "wb"
    # storage pool name
    $firstNode.PoolName = "pool1"
    # synchronization session count. Leave this value to 1
    $firstNode.SyncSessionCount = 1
    # ALUA enable or not
    $firstNode.ALUAOptimized = $true
    
    #
    # device sector size. Possible values: 512 or 4096(May be incompatible with some clients!) bytes. 
    #
    $firstNode.SectorSize = 512
	
	#
	# 'SerialID' should be between 16 and 31 symbols. If it not specified StarWind Service will generate it. 
	# Note: Second node always has the same serial ID. You do not need to specify it for second node
	#
	$firstNode.SerialID = "050176c0b535403ba3ce02102e33eab" 
    
    $secondNode = new-Object Node

    $secondNode.HostName = "10.10.0.47"
    $secondNode.HostPort = "3261"
    $secondNode.Login = "root"
    $secondNode.Password = "starwind"
    $secondNode.ImagePath = "My computer\D\Starwind"
    $secondNode.ImageName = "VMSto1"
    $secondNode.Size = 65536
    $secondNode.CreateImage = $true
    $secondNode.TargetAlias = "vmsan02"
    $secondNode.AutoSynch = $true
    # First node synchronization IP address
    $secondNode.SyncInterface = "#p1=10.10.100.46:3260"
    # First node heartbeat IP address
    $secondNode.HBInterface = "#p1=10.10.0.46:3260"
    $secondNode.ALUAOptimized = $true
        
    $device = Add-HADevice -server $server -firstNode $firstNode -secondNode $secondNode -initMethod "Clear"
    
    $syncState = $device.GetPropertyValue("ha_synch_status")

    while ($syncState -ne "1")
    {
        #
        # Refresh device info
        #
        $device.Refresh()

        $syncState = $device.GetPropertyValue("ha_synch_status")
        $syncPercent = $device.GetPropertyValue("ha_synch_percent")

        Start-Sleep -m 2000

        Write-Host "Synchronizing: $($syncPercent)%" -foreground yellow
    }
}
catch
{
    Write-Host "Exception $($_.Exception.Message)" -foreground red 
}

$server.Disconnect() 

Next I run the script. An image file will be created in both nodes. These image files will be synchronized.

Thanks to the 30 trial days of the management console, you can get graphical information about the configuration. As you can see below, you have information about image files.

You can also review the configuration of network interfaces:

If you browse the starWind folder in each node, you should have the image files.

Now you can edit and run the script enumDevicesTargets.ps1:

Import-Module StarWindX

# Specify the IP address and credential of the node you want to enum
$server = New-SWServer 10.10.0.46 3261 root starwind

$server.Connect()

if ( $server.Connected )
{
    write-host "Targets:"
    foreach($target in $server.Targets)
    {
        $target
    }
    
    write-host "Devices:"
    foreach($device in $server.Devices)
    {
        $device
    }
    
    $server.Disconnect()
}

By running this script, you should have the following result:

If I run the same script against 10.10.0.47, I have these information:

Connect to vSphere environment

Now that the storage solution is ready, I can connect it to vSphere. So, I connect to vCenter Web Client and I edit the target server on my software iSCSI adapter. I add the following static target server.

Next if I navigate to paths tab, you should have both paths marked as Active.

Now you can create a new datastore and use the previously created StarWind image file.

Conclusion

StarWind VSAN free provides an inexpensive software storage solution for POC or small environment. You need only to buy hardware and deploy the product as we’ve seen in this topic. If you use Hyper-V, you can deploy StarWind VSAN Free in the Hyper-V node to get a HyperConverged solution. Just don’t forget that the StarWind VSAN Free edition doesn’t provide any kind of technical assistance (excepted on StarWind forum) and management console (just 30 trial days).

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