Best way to support VMware Player

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jkinoc
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Best way to support VMware Player

Postby jkinoc » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:21 pm

Here is the home environment I want to setup:

1. Three PC workstations (with either Windows or Ubuntu installed as host OS).
2. Use VMware Player on each PC so that each PC can run various Windows and Ubuntu VMs.
3. Store/run the VM images (the vmdk and related files) on a Synology NAS

This is for home use, so VMware Player seems appropriate (and cheaper!) than using products like ESX, Workstation, etc.

I could simply use a mapped network drive from a PC to the NAS where the files would be. Performance would probably be slow, so I am curious if it would make sense to consider a NAS with iSCSI block level support (something like a DS713+, DS415+, etc).

Is it possible to point VMware Player to an iSCSI target on the NAS where the VM files are? Or, is the Synology iSCSI support only usable in a VSphere environment (yes, I know Windows Server and Citrix are also, but I am focusing on VMware)?

Assuming iSCSI with VMware Player is possible, I am almost certain the iSCSI connection would be faster than a mapped drive connection, but is it going to be "fast enough" to make it worth the extra effort cost?

Thanks for any insight that can be shared.
microkid
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Re: Best way to support VMware Player

Postby microkid » Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:09 am

iSCSI with VMware player is not possible. VMplayer only supports local or remote NTFS drives/CIFS/SMB shares like in Windows. Remember that initially, there will be some data traffic when starting up a VM, but when it's running, little data will be transmitted.
Why would you like to store the vmdk files on the NAS? VMware Player can't share files, so it might be better to store them locally (use an SSD and the performance will be great).
VMware ESXi is free by the way, and does support iSCSI.
DS415+ | 4 x WD RED 3TB in SHR | DSM 6.1.3-15152 | VMware ESXi 6.5 via NFS
jkinoc
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Re: Best way to support VMware Player

Postby jkinoc » Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:06 am

microkid,

Thanks for the info that VMware Player cannot use iSCSI.

You asked "Why would you like to store the vmdk files on the NAS?"

I did not mean to imply only the .vmdk files, but all of the files comprising the VM -- basically "booting" the VM off of the NAS. The reason I would want to keep the VM files on the NAS is that then I would be able to run any of my saved VMs from any of my PCs in my house. If I save the VM files locally to one PC then I can only run the VM on that PC. Also, saving the files to the NAS would be more convenient than moving an external USB drive (with the VM files on it) among the PCs in my house. But, as I said, I suspect the performance would be too slow (starting the VM, and reading/writing files to the VM's "disk").

VMware Player may not be able to share files directly, but by having a share on the NAS that the VMs and physical PCs have access to makes file sharing easy enough.
pecador
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Re: Best way to support VMware Player

Postby pecador » Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:22 pm

microkid wrote:iSCSI with VMware player is not possible. VMplayer only supports local or remote NTFS drives/CIFS/SMB shares like in Windows. Remember that initially, there will be some data traffic when starting up a VM, but when it's running, little data will be transmitted.
Why would you like to store the vmdk files on the NAS? VMware Player can't share files, so it might be better to store them locally (use an SSD and the performance will be great).
VMware ESXi is free by the way, and does support iSCSI.


iSCSI with VMware player is just possible.
I don't know if supported, but it works.

I've just done it. In my home lab: DS415+, Windows 10 Pro host, VMware Workstation 12 Player, VMware vCenter Converter Standalone Client 6.0.
All steps to get it are straightforward:
1.- Create iSCSI target on Synology.
2.- In Windows 10, connect iSCSI volume (200GB) and format it, using NTFS. I assigned M: drive letter.
3.- I created a VM out of the host (Windows 10, OS running) with VMware vCenter Converter, destination=M:\ (be sure to run it with administrative elevation prompt)
4.- Open the VM with VMPlayer, wait for a while to boot, as Windows have to reconfigure devices...
All things working! Dropbox sync, Cloud Station, ...
Only problem, Windows is not activated, so you must reactivate.

Now I've got my Windows 10 laptop OS running within itself. Useless, just for testing :)

On the other hand, I tried to get it doing the same, but using a shared folder in Synology (CIFS) instead of iSCSI, but it didn't work: Either VMware vCenter Converter or VMware Workstation 12 Player are getting apparently random errors (related to permissions, lockings...)
Can't figure out why...

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