Configuring iSCSI Boot in Cisco UCS Manager 2.0.1

You’re going to make these decisions (or get the information):

A Blade with an M81KR (VIC) * I don’t have a Broadcom Adapter to document

Chassis and Slot ID for that Blade

Service Profile Name

UUID (or Pool to use)

Adapter Policy (Linux, ESX, Solaris)

A MAC address “preference” (you can use a pool if you prefer)

Storage Target IP (a NetApp or EMC device configured for iSCSI access)

iSCSI IQN (iSCSI Qualified Name) of that Storage Device

The Primary Initiator’s IQN (iSCSI Qualified Name)

The Secondary Initiator’s IQN (iSCSI Qualified Name)

The Primary NIC’s Initiator IP Address

The Secondary NIC’s Initiator IP Address

IP Gateway Address for the subnet being used

DNS Server IP address for that Subnet

Subnet Mask

Subnet VLAN configured elsewhere in UCS Manager and given a “Name”

 

Here is a table of the decisions or data from my Lab Environment:

 

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My first pass at documenting will just be the screen shots of the UCS Manager after I implemented the “answers” to the “Expert Service Profile” wizards. I will use this post to re-create the Service Profile and snapshot the actual screens in a subsequent post.

 

I created a Service Profile called “ISCSI24” (with 24 implying Chassis = 2, Blade Slot 4.

I also input the “24” scheme into the UUID field manually entered.

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This is the bare essential NIC configuration: 2 vNIC’s to be mapped for iSCSI use and 2 vNIC’s that should be used for public networking on the to be installed OS. It makes sense to implement the higher numbers for iSCSI so the public Networks end up later being eth0, eth1..

I alternate the NIC across Fabrics A and B and hand-coded the MAC addresses slipping “24” into the fields and numbering them sequentially to match the vNIC number (00, 01, 02, 03).

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New to the iSCSI feature of UCS Manager 2.0 is the ability to configure iSCSI vNIC’s.

They must be associated with one of the configured vNIC’s above. I chose vNIC’s 2 and 3.

If your target OS is VMware you’ll want a lot of vNIC’s and use the last 2 for iSCSI overlays.

The “default” iSCSI adapter policy is recommended for the VIC. The other options are to implement iSCSI “offload” features of the Broadcom adapter.

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When you create the “Boot Order” configuration there’s a new iSCSI vNIC section. Add the CD ROM for OS installs and then insert the 2 iSCSI vNICs.

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That little “set Boot Parameters” widget on the bottom left in the above image is key: it pops up a selection widget for iSCSI0 and iSCSI1 and any others you might implement. Each gets configured in turn and this is where the key iSCSI configuration data is entered.

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The “Boot Parameters” have all the key fields: Initiator and Target IQN’s, IP addresses and Network/Subnet specifics. This service profile can be duplicated to boot multiple LUN’s from the same iSCSI target and differ only by the Storage LUN requested.

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The data for ISCSI1 (the alternate boot path) to the array:

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On the NetApp Array you must configure the UCS Blades Initiator IQN’s into an ISCSI  Initiator Group

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There’s an ISCSI Report that shows the Array’s IQN (and Alias) and specific NIC’s enabled for ISCSI access with their IP addresses.

NOTE: I haven’t tested using the Alias or changing the default names provided on the NetApp (yet).

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You must create a LUN of adequate size and then MAP that LUN to the ISCSI Group you created (ISCSI24 for me) and configure the LUN ID that will be configured on the UCS side.

I created LUN 0 for a Red Hat 6 install. and LUN 1 for ESX 4.1.0 Update 1 (the only supported OS’es for iSCSI Boot) that I care about… yes Windows version are supported. Not my thing.

 

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That should do it… assign the *new* Service Profile to a Blade and bring up the Blade’s KVM Console. When you see the big Cisco logo after mutilple passes through the PNUOS Utility OS to install all your configuration options you need to Hit “Escape” to see the VIC ISCSI configuration “test”. If everything is not aligned correctly you’ll see this “Error” that flashes up for 2 seconds:

 

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If everything is correct you’ll see information about the LUN discovered on the Array.

I hope this helps someone save the hours of “Trial and Error” I spent understanding what was required in each of the configuration fields… I was close… but I saw the image above over and over until everything was just right.

I found the essential missing clue by Googling the error message and finding a “Zip file” of screen shots similar to what I have posted here. I’m sure a lot of folks can’t just download Zip files at work.

Google search for “Cisco VIC iSCSI, Boot Driver Version 2” + “Initialize error 1” and you’ll see the Cisco community forum reply with the alternative Zip file of images from Simon Geary… Thank you Simon for the pictures worth a thousand “key strokes”.

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