Let me start out by saying that this configuration does not really make sense within a live environment. For production systems you want to have ‘real’ shared storage that can be accessed by multiple physical servers. However it is often handy, for testing and proof of concepts, to be able to configure a Novell cluster (using OES Netware or Linux) without the need for a spare SAN which for many organisations is a luxury!!
This document describes how to create virtual machines which can then be used to act as cluster nodes using a VMWare virtual disk (file based) as the shared storage.
In order to share a virtual disk between multiple virtual machines you must use the VMWare “thick” disk format rather than default thin disks. If your ESX server has access to shared storage, and therefore the ability to use HA to fail virtual machines between ESX hosts, you will need to set the SCSI controller on your virtual machines to Physical rather than the Virtual option outlined below.
- Use the VMWare Infrastructure Client to create the virtual machines that will be used as part of your cluster (i.e. create two virtual machines that will be configured as cluster nodes). When running the ‘New Virtual Machine Wizard’ select “Do not create disk” on the “Select a disk” page. The rest of the VM settings can be configured, as normal, to your specific needs.
Note: Before proceeding ensure you have created all the virtual machines that will be used in your cluster.
- Create an SSH session (as root) to your ESX server. As mentioned above to use Novell Cluster Services on ESX all virtual disks, including the disk that will act as the local disk for your cluster node, must be created as “thick” disks.
From the server console change to the directory that contains the files for your first virtual machine.
e.g. cd /vmfs/volumes/<datastore_name>/<virtual_machine_name>/
Next use the vmkfstools command to create your first thick virtual disk. This will be the disk that acts as a local disk (e.g. sda) on your virtual machine.
e.g. vmkfstools –c 8G –a lsilogic –d thick local.vmdk
The vmkfstools command needs the following parameters:
-c Disk size e.g. 10G (GB), 200M (MB)
-a Type of SCSI controller to use for the disk (use lsilogic)
-d Type of disk to create
<name>.vmdk The name of your virtual disk
Next change to the directory that contains the files for your second virtual machine and repeat the command above to create a ‘local disk’ for the cluster node.
- Now you have created a local disk for each of your cluster nodes change to the root of your datastore and create a new directory that will hold the virtual disk files for your shared storage. Then, again using the vmkfstools commands above, create the disks required for your cluster.
Remember you need to create at least one disk for your SBD cluster services partition (two disks are needed if you want to create a mirrored SBD). These SBD disks only need to be 100MB in size (maximum).
Change to the root of the datastore
e.g. cd /vmfs/volumes/<datastore_name>
Create a directory to whole the virtual disk files for your shared storage
e.g. mkdir sharedcluster
Change to your newly created directory
e.g. cd sharedcluster
Now use the vmkfstools command to create your shared disks
e.g. vmkfstools –c 70M –a lsilogic –d thick sbd1.vmdk (for your SBD partition)
vmkfstools –c 70M –a lsilogic –d thick sbd2.vmdk (for your SBD mirror)
vmkfstools –c 20G –a lsilogic –d thick data.vmdk (for your shared data)
- Once you have created the disks above you should have a file structure similar to below:
Once you have successfully created your disks proceed with the steps below.
- Using the VMWare Infrastructure Client right click on the first virtual machine (cluster node 1) and select Edit Settings from the menu.
- Click on the Add button. Select the Hard Disk entry on the device list and then click Next.
- On the “Select a disk” page choose the option to “Use an existing virtual disk”. Click Next.
- Click on the Browse button and navigate through your datastore file system to the folder containing the files for your first virtual machine. Select the local disk you created for the virtual machine.
- Follow through the remaining wizard steps using the default settings.
- Still on your first virtual machine repeat steps 5 to 9 to add the cluster disks (both the SBD and data disks) you created on the ESX server.
- Once you have added all the required disks select the SCSI Controller device under the Hardware list for your virtual machine. On the right hand side set SCSI Bus Sharing to Virtual.
- Once completed close the properties window for the virtual machine.
- After completing the configuration for the first virtual machine (cluster node 1) repeat steps 5 to 12 on each of the other virtual machines you created for the cluster.
- You can now start your virtual machines and install Netware/OES/SLES onto the first (local) disk that you created for the virtual machine.
The installation process will detect the additional disks you added for shared storage. Do not touch these for now.
- Once the installation is complete you can install and configure of Novell Cluster Services as normal using the shared disks you’ve created for the SBD and data partitions.
Disclaimer: As with everything else at Cool Solutions, this content is definitely not supported by Novell (so don't even think of calling Support if you try something and it blows up).
It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test, test, test before you do anything drastic with it.