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FlashStack Boot from SAN - iSCSI

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This document provides a detailed procedure for boot from SAN in a Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS). The assumption is that the reader has knowledge of UCS Manager (UCSM) with basic service profile, and LAN/SAN configuration.  

This document details the necessary steps to configure UCS for boot from SAN both on the server and the network side and assumes a basic understanding of networking.

iSCSI Architectures

FlashArray//X, //C, UCS Fabric interconnect 6400 Using iSCSI Direct Attached 

In this configuration, the FlashArray is connected directly to the UCS Fabric Interconnects (FIs). The benefit of this architecture is reduced cost since there is no requirement for external network or SAN switches while UCS still provides a low latency fabric. This Architecture is designed for environments where the server count is not expected to exceed the connectivity of a single pair of fabric interconnects. Fiber Channel Direct Attached requires no MDS or Nexus configuration. The steps outlined below cover the FlashArray and UCS Manager steps needed to configure an FC volume as a Boot From SAN device. 

FlashArray X, C, UCS Fabric Interconnect 6400 using iSCSI Direct Attach.png

 

FlashArray//X, //C, Nexus 9000, UCS Fabric Interconnect 6400 Using iSCSI

In this configuration, the FlashArray is connected to redundant Nexus switches that have connectivity to the UCS Fabric Interconnects (FIs). The benefit of this architecture is for environments that plan to scale beyond multiple UCS Chassis/FlashArrays as we are using Nexus switches to aggregate traffic instead of utilizing Fabric Interconnects, allowing the SAN to communicate with many chassis and devices external to the Fabric Interconnects.

FlashArray M, X, Nexus 9000, UCS Fabric interconnect 6400 using iSCSI.png

 

Prerequisites 

In order to complete the configuration the following steps need to be done before reviewing this section: 

  1. Complete base configuration of Fabric Interconnects.

  1. Create an IP Pool for iSCSI Initiators. How To Instructions can be found in the appendix.

  2. VLANs have been Created. How To Instructions can be found in the appendix.

  3. Create WWPN and WWNN Pools.

  4. If Nexus is being used, Uplinks to the network have been created.

NOTES 

When configuring Unified Ports, On Gen3/Gen4 Fabric Interconnects, they are allocated from left to right so the FlashArray should be plugged into the left most ports.  

On Gen1/Gen2 the opposite is true and ports are provisioned from right to left so Flasharray into the left most ports. 

On UCS Mini ports are provisioned from top to bottom (or left to right visually) as shown below:

Screen Shot 2020-07-02 at 10.22.27 AM.png 

Configuration Guide 

The Boot Process  

The boot process is the iterative loading of the installed operating system code from the boot device into computer memory after the computer is powered on. The BIOS (Basic Input / Output System) is the most basic code and is loaded first from the system firmware after POST initialization process. It initializes the computer hardware and reads in code that loads the operating system, completes hardware setup, and produces a fully functional operating system residing in memory.   

The boot process can occur from a direct attached disk or over a network. In all cases, a critical step to a successful boot is locating the boot image.  

Storage administrators can enable servers to boot from SAN by configuring the server and the underlying hardware components. After Power On Self-Test (POST), the server hardware component fetches the boot block from the device that is designated as the boot device in the hardware BIOS settings. Once the hardware detects the boot device, it follows the regular boot process. 

This is the best practice guidelines for Pure Storage array that has two controllers and has active/active target ports and has the following features: 

1. Redundancy is provided using the two disjointed SAN fabrics from the data perspective, with the dual port iSCSI NICS and the redundant Pure Storage FlashArray Controllers.  

2.  Notice the redundant ethernet ports provide no single point of failure (SPOF), and is resilient to port failures, cable failures, target port failures, UCS FI failure.  

Configuration Workflow 

To complete the configuration, we will accomplish the following tasks: 

UCS Configuration Steps

Create Policies

1. Create Local Disk Policy 

2. Create iSCSI vNICs

3. Create LAN Connectivity Policy

4. Create Boot Policy

Configure Service Profile

5. Configure Storage Provisioning

6. Configure Networking Options

7. Configure Server Boot Order

Storage Configuration Steps

1. Create Host

2. Create Host Group

3. Create Private Boot Volume

Instructions

UCS Configuration     

1. Create Local Disk Policy

A local disk configuration for the Cisco UCS environment is necessary if the servers in the environment do not have a local disk.

Note: This policy should not be used on servers that contain local disks.

To create a local disk configuration policy, follow these steps:

1.        In Cisco UCS Manager, click the Servers tab in the navigation pane.

2.       Select Policies > root.

3.        Right-click Local Disk Config Policies.

4.       Select Create Local Disk Configuration Policy.

5.        Enter SAN-Boot as the local disk configuration policy name.

6.       Change the mode to No Local Storage.

7.        Click OK to create the local disk configuration policy.

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8.       Click OK.

2. Create iSCSI vNICs

To create iSCSI vNICs, follow these steps:

1.        In Cisco UCS Manager, click the LAN tab in the navigation pane.

2.       Select Policies > root.

3.        Right-click vNIC Templates.

4.       Select Create vNIC Template.

5.        Enter vNIC_iSCSI_A as the vNIC template name.

6.       Keep Fabric A selected.

7.        Keep the No Redundancy options selected for the Redundancy Type.

8.       Under Target, make sure that the Adapter checkbox is selected.

9.       Select Updating Template as the Template Type.

10.    Under VLANs, select iSCSI-A-VLAN as the only VLAN and set it as the Native VLAN.

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11.     For MTU, enter 9000.

12.    In the MAC Pool list, select MAC_Pool_A.

13.     In the Network Control Policy list, select Enable_CDP.

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14.    Click OK to create the vNIC template.

15.     Click OK.

For the vNIC_iSCSI_B Template, follow these steps:

1.        In the navigation pane, select the LAN tab.

2.       Select Policies > root.

3.        Right-click vNIC Templates.

4.       Select Create vNIC Template.

5.        Enter vNIC_iSCSI_B as the vNIC template name.

6.       Keep Fabric B selected.

7.        Keep the No Redundancy options selected for the Redundancy Type.

8.       Under Target, make sure that the Adapter checkbox is selected.

9.       Select Updating Template as the Template Type.

10.    Under VLANs, select iSCSI-B-VLAN as the only VLAN and set it as the Native VLAN.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_76.jpg

11.     For MTU, enter 9000.

12.    In the MAC Pool list, select MAC_Pool_A.

13.     In the Network Control Policy list, select Enable_CDP.

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14.    Click OK to create the vNIC template.

15.     Click OK.

3. Create LAN Connectivity Policy

To configure the necessary iSCSI Infrastructure LAN Connectivity Policy, follow these steps:

1.        In Cisco UCS Manager, click LAN.

2.       Select LAN > Policies > root.

3.        Right-click LAN Connectivity Policies.

4.       Select Create LAN Connectivity Policy.

5.        Enter iSCSI-LAN-Policy as the name of the policy.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_78.jpg

6.       Click the upper Add button to add a vNIC.

7.        In the Create vNIC dialog box, enter 00-Mgmt-A as the name of the vNIC.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_0.png          The numeric prefix of “00-“ and subsequent increments on the later vNICs are used in the vNIC naming to force the device ordering through Consistent Device Naming (CDN).  Without this, some operating systems might not respect the device ordering that is set within Cisco UCS.

8.       Select the Use vNIC Template checkbox.

9.       In the vNIC Template list, select 00-Mgmt-A.

10.    In the Adapter Policy list, select VMWare.

11.     Click OK to add this vNIC to the policy.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_79.jpg

12.    Click the upper Add button to add another vNIC to the policy.

13.     In the Create vNIC box, enter 01-Mgmt-B as the name of the vNIC.

14.    Select the Use vNIC Template checkbox.

15.     In the vNIC Template list, select 01-Mgmt-B.

16.    In the Adapter Policy list, select VMWare.

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17.     Click OK to add the vNIC to the policy.

18.    Click the upper Add button to add a vNIC.

19.    In the Create vNIC dialog box, enter 02-vMotion-A as the name of the vNIC.

20.    Select the Use vNIC Template checkbox.

21.    In the vNIC Template list, select vNIC_vMotion_A.

22.    In the Adapter Policy list, select VMWare.

23.    Click OK to add this vNIC to the policy.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_81.jpg

24.    Click the upper Add button to add a vNIC to the policy.

25.    In the Create vNIC dialog box, enter 03-vMotion-B as the name of the vNIC.

26.    Select the Use vNIC Template checkbox.

27.    In the vNIC Template list, select vNIC_vMotion_B.

28.    In the Adapter Policy list, select VMWare.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_82.jpg

29.    Click OK to add this vNIC to the policy.

30.    Click the upper Add button to add a vNIC.

31.     In the Create vNIC dialog box, enter 04-App-A as the name of the vNIC.

32.    Select the Use vNIC Template checkbox.

33.     In the vNIC Template list, select vNIC_App_A.

34.    In the Adapter Policy list, select VMWare.

35.     Click OK to add this vNIC to the policy.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_83.jpg

36.    Click Add to add a vNIC to the policy.

37.     In the Create vNIC dialog box, enter 05-App-B as the name of the vNIC.

38.    Select the Use vNIC Template checkbox.

39.    In the vNIC Template list, select vNIC_App_B.

40.    In the Adapter Policy list, select VMWare.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_84.jpg

41.    Click OK to add this vNIC to the policy.

42.    Click the upper Add button to add a vNIC.

43.    In the Create vNIC dialog box, enter 06-iSCSI-A as the name of the vNIC.

44.    Select the Use vNIC Template checkbox.

45.    In the vNIC Template list, select iSCSI-Template-A.

46.    In the Adapter Policy list, select VMWare.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_85.jpg

47.    Click OK to add this vNIC to the policy.

48.    Click the upper Add button to add a vNIC to the policy.

49.    In the Create vNIC dialog box, enter 07-iSCSI-B as the name of the vNIC.

50.    Select the Use vNIC Template checkbox.

51.     In the vNIC Template list, select iSCSI-Template-B.

52.    In the Adapter Policy list, select VMWare.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_86.jpg

53.     Click OK to add this vNIC to the policy.

54.    Expand the Add iSCSI vNICs.

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55.     Select Add in the Add iSCSI vNICs section.

56.    Set the name to iSCSI—A-vNIC.

57.     Select the 06-iSCSI-A as Overlay vNIC.

58.    Set the VLAN to iSCSI-A-VLAN (native).

59.    Set the iSCSI Adapter Policy to default.

60.    Leave the MAC Address set to None.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_88.jpg

61.    Click OK.

62.    Select Add in the Add iSCSI vNICs section.

63.    Set the name to iSCSI-B-vNIC.

64.    Select the 07-iSCSI-A as Overlay vNIC.

65.    Set the VLAN to iSCSI-B-VLAN.

66.    Set the iSCSI Adapter Policy to default.

67.    Leave the MAC Address set to None.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_89.jpg

68.    Click OK, then click OK again to create the LAN Connectivity Policy.

4. Create Boot Policy

This procedure creates a boot policy for iSCSI boot from the FlashArray//X70 R2 pointing to the two iSCSI interfaces on controller 1 (ct0.eth8 and ct0.eth9) and the two iSCSI interfaces on controller 2 (ct1.eth8 and ct1.eth9).

To create a boot policy for the Cisco UCS environment, follow these steps:

1.        In Cisco UCS Manager, click Servers.

2.       Select Policies > root.

3.        Right-click Boot Policies.

4.       Select Create Boot Policy.

5.        Enter Boot-iSCSI-X-A as the name of the boot policy.

6.       Optional: Enter a description for the boot policy.

NOTE:  Do not select the Reboot on Boot Order Change checkbox.

7.        Keep the Reboot on Boot Order Change option cleared.

8.       Expand the Local Devices drop-down menu and select Add Remote CD/DVD.

9.       Expand the iSCSI vNICs drop-down menu and select Add iSCSI Boot.

10.    In the Add iSCSI Boot dialog box, enter iSCSI-A-vNIC.

11.     Click OK.

12.    Select Add iSCSI Boot.

13.     In the Add iSCSI Boot dialog box, enter iSCSI-B-vNIC.

14.    Click OK.

15.     Expand CIMC Mounted Media and select Add CIMC Mounted CD/DVD.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_90.jpg

16.    Click OK to create the policy.

5. Configure Storage Provisioning

To configure the storage provisioning, follow these steps:

1.        Select the Local Disk Configuration Policy tab.

2.       If you have servers with no physical disks, click the Local Disk Configuration Policy tab and select the SAN-Boot Local Storage Policy. Otherwise, select the default Local Storage Policy.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_92.jpg

3.        Click Next.

6. Configure Networking Options

To configure the network options, follow these steps:

1.        Keep the default setting for Dynamic vNIC Connection Policy.

2.       Select the “Use Connectivity Policy” option to configure the LAN connectivity.

3.        Select iSCSI-LAN-Policy from the LAN Connectivity Policy pull-down.

4.       Select IQN_Pool in Initiator Name Assignment.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_93.jpg

5.        Click Next.

7. Configure Server Boot Order

1.        Select Boot-iSCSI-X-A for Boot Policy.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_94.jpg

2.       In the Boor order, select iSCSI-A-vNIC.

3.        Click Set iSCSI Boot Parameters button.

4.       In the Set iSCSI Boot Parameters pop-up, leave Authentication Profile to <not set> unless you have independently created one appropriate to your environment.

5.        Leave the “Initiator Name Assignment” dialog box <not set> to use the single Service Profile Initiator Name defined in the previous steps.

6.       Set “Initiator IP address Policy” to iSCSI_IP_Pool_A.

7.        Select iSCSI Static Target Interface option.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_95.jpg

8.       Scroll down and click Add.

9.       Enter the iSCSI Target Name for ct0.eth14. To get the iSCSI target name of the FlashArray//X70 R2, login to the Pure Web console and navigate to Health -> Connections -> Array Ports.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_96.jpg

10.    Or find the targets from connecting to the controller with ssh using the pureuser login and run the pureport list command.

pureuser@cspg-rtp-1> pureport list

Name                Portal                                     IQN
CT0.ETH14   192.168.101.46:3260    iqn.2010-06.com.purestorage:flasharray.72f0775a48acf536 
CT0.ETH15 192.168.102.46:3260  iqn.2010-06.com.purestorage:flasharray.72f0775a48acf536 
CT1.ETH14 192.168.101.47:3260 iqn.2010-06.com.purestorage:flasharray.72f0775a48acf536
CT1.ETH15 192.168.102.47:3260 iqn.2010-06.com.purestorage:flasharray.72f0775a48acf536

11.     Leave the Port set to 3260, Authentication Profile as <not set>, provide the appropriate IPv4 Address configured to ct0.eth14, and set the LUN ID to 1.

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12.    Click OK to add the iSCSI Static Target.

13.     Click Add again to add another iSCSI Target for the iSCSI-A-vNIC that will associate with ct1.eth14.

14.    Enter the same iSCSI Target Name, leave the Port set to 3260, the Authentication Profile as <not set>, provide the appropriate IPv4 Address configured to ct1.eth14, and set the LUN ID to 1.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_98.jpg

15.     Click OK to add the iSCSI Static Target.

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16.    Click OK to set the iSCSI-A-vNIC ISCSI Boot Parameters.

17.     In the Boor order, select iSCSI-B-vNIC.

18.    Click Set iSCSI Boot Parameters button.

19.    In the Set iSCSI Boot Parameters pop-up, leave Authentication Profile to <not set> unless you have independently created one appropriate to your environment.

20.    Leave the “Initiator Name Assignment” dialog box <not set> to use the single Service Profile Initiator Name defined in the previous steps.

21.    Set iSCSI_IP_Pool_B as the “Initiator IP address Policy”.

22.    Select iSCSI Static Target Interface option.

23.    Click Add.

24.    Enter the same iSCSI Target Name, leave the Port set to 3260, the Authentication Profile as <not set>, provide the appropriate IPv4 Address configured to ct0.eth15, and set the LUN ID to 1.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_100.jpg

25.    Click OK to add the iSCSI Static Target.

26.    Click Add again to add another iSCSI Target for the iSCSI-B-vNIC that will associate with ct1.eth15.

27.    Enter the same iSCSI Target Name, leave the Port set to 3260, the Authentication Profile as <not set>, provide the appropriate IPv4 Address configured to ct1.et15, and set the LUN ID to 1.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_101.jpg

28.    Click OK to add the iSCSI Static Target.

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29.    Click OK to set the iSCSI-B-vNIC ISCSI Boot Parameters.

Flasharray Configuration

1. Add a Host

For Host registration, from the Pure Storage Web Portal, follow these steps:

1.        Select Storage > Hosts.

2.       Select the + icon in the Hosts Panel.

3.        After clicking the Create Host (+) option, a pop-up will appear to create an individual host entry on the FlashArray.

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4.       To create more than one host entry, click the Create Multiple… option, filling in the Name, Start Number, Count, and Number of Digits, with a “#” appearing in the name where an iterating number will appear:

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_114.png

5.        Click Create to add the hosts.

6.       For each host created, select the host.

7.        In the Host view, select ‘Configure IQNs…’ from the Host Ports menu.

8.       A pop-up will appear for Configure iSCSI IQNs for Host <host being configured>.  Within this pop-up, enter the IQN Initiator Name found within the service profile for the host being configured:

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_115.png

9.       After entering the IQN, click Add to add the Host Ports. 

10.    Select ‘Set Personality…’ in the Details Menu.

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11.     Select ESXi and click Save.

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12.    Repeat steps 1-11 for each host created.

2. Add a Host Group

To create a Host Group, follow these steps in the Pure Storage Web Portal:

1.        Select Storage > Hosts.

2.       Select the + icon in the Host Groups Panel.

3.        A pop-up will appear to create a host group on the FlashArray.

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4.       Provide a name for the group and click Create.

5.        Select the group in the Host Groups Panel.

6.       In the Host Group view, select ‘Add…’ from the Member Hosts menu.

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7.        Select the host to be part of the host group.

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8.       Click Add.

3. Private Boot Volumes for each ESXi Host

To create private boot volumes for each ESXi Host, from the Pure Storage Web Portal, follow these steps:

1.        Select Storage > Volumes.

2.       Select the + icon in the Volumes Panel.

3.        A pop-up will appear to create a volume on the FlashArray.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_121.png

4.       To create more than one volume, click the Create Multiple… option, filling in the Name, Provisioned Size, Staring Number, Count, and Number of Digits, with a “#” appearing in the name where an iterating number will appear.

5.        Click Create to provision the volumes to be used as iSCSI boot LUNs.

6.       Go back to the Hosts section under the Storage tab.  Click one of the hosts and select the gear icon pull-down within the Connected Volumes tab within that host.

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7.        Within the drop-down list of the gear icon, select Connect Volumes, and a pop-up will appear.

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NOTE: LUN ID 1 should be used for the boot.

8.       Select the volume that has been provisioned for the host, set the LUN ID for the volume, click the + next to the volume, and select Confirm to proceed.  Repeat the steps for connecting volumes for each of the host/volume pairs configured.

Appendix

Create IP Pools for iSCSI Boot

To configure the necessary IP pools iSCSI boot for the Cisco UCS environment, follow these steps:

1.        In Cisco UCS Manager, click LAN.

2.       Select Pools > root.

3.        Right-click IP Pools.

4.       Select Create IP Pool.

5.        Enter iSCSI-IP-Pool-A as the name of IP pool.

6.       Optional: Enter a description for the IP pool.

7.        Select Sequential for the assignment order.

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8.       Click Next.

9.       Click Add to add a block of IP address.

10.    In the From field, enter the beginning of the range to assign as iSCSI IP addresses

11.     Set the size to enough addresses to accommodate the servers.

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12.    Click OK, Next, FInish

15.     Right-click IP Pools.

16.    Select Create IP Pool.

17.     Enter iSCSI-IP-Pool-B as the name of IP pool.

18.    Optional: Enter a description for the IP pool.

19.    Select Sequential for the assignment order.

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20.    Click Next.

21.    Click Add to add a block of IP address.

22.    In the From field, enter the beginning of the range to assign as iSCSI IP addresses.

23.    Set the size to enough addresses to accommodate the servers.

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24.    Click OK, Next, Finish.

Create VLANS

To configure the necessary virtual local area networks (VLANs) for the Cisco UCS environment, follow these steps:

1.        In Cisco UCS Manager, click the LAN tab in the navigation pane.

2.       Select LAN > LAN Cloud.

3.        Right-click VLANs.

4.       Select Create VLANs.

5.        Enter Native-VLAN as the name of the VLAN to be used as the native VLAN.

6.       Keep the Common/Global option selected for the scope of the VLAN.

7.        Enter the native VLAN ID.

8.       Keep the Sharing Type as None.

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9.       Click OK and then click OK again.

10.    Expand the list of VLANs in the navigation pane, right-click the newly created Native-VLAN and select Set as Native VLAN.

11.     Click Yes, and then click OK.

12.    Right-click VLANs.

13.     Select Create VLANs

14.    Enter IB-Mgmt as the name of the VLAN to be used for management traffic.

15.     Keep the Common/Global option selected for the scope of the VLAN.

16.    Enter the In-Band management VLAN ID.

17.     Keep the Sharing Type as None.

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18.    Click OK and then click OK again.

19.    Right-click VLANs.

20.    Select Create VLANs.

21.    Enter vMotion as the name of the VLAN to be used for vMotion.

22.    Keep the Common/Global option selected for the scope of the VLAN.

23.    Enter the vMotion VLAN ID.

24.    Keep the Sharing Type as None.

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25.    Click OK and then click OK again.

26.    Right-click VLANs.

27.    Select Create VLANs.

28.    Enter iSCSI-A-VLAN as the name of the VLAN to be used for iSCSI-A.

29.    Keep the Common/Global option selected for the scope of the VLAN.

30.    Enter the iSCSI-A VLAN ID.

31.     Keep the Sharing Type as None.

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32.    Click OK and then click OK again.

33.     Right-click VLANs.

34.    Select Create VLANs.

35.     Enter iSCSI-B-VLAN as the name of the VLAN to be used for iSCSI-B.

36.    Keep the Common/Global option selected for the scope of the VLAN.

37.     Enter the iSCSI-B VLAN ID.

38.    Keep the Sharing Type as None.

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39.    Click OK and then click OK again.

40.    Right-click VLANs.

41.    Select Create VLANs.

42.    Enter VM-App- as the prefix of the VLANs to be used for VM Traffic.

43.    Keep the Common/Global option selected for the scope of the VLAN.

44.    Enter the VM-Traffic VLAN ID range.

45.    Keep the Sharing Type as None.

flashstack_vsi_iscsi_vm67_u1_61.jpg

46.    Click OK and then click OK again.

47.    Repeat as needed for any additional VLANs created on the upstream Nexus switches.