MultiPath I/O on Server Core with the EqualLogic HIT Kit

I’ve written a few other blogs about iSCSI and Multipath I/O on Windows Servers, but this one focuses on installing the EqualLogic Host Integration Tool (HIT) Kit on Windows Server 2008 R2 Core (no GUI). If you are using an EqualLogic SAN, I recommend installing the HIT kit before doing any of the iSCSI or Multipath I/O configuration. It will make your life a lot easier. It’s also not a problem to install the HIT kit after you’ve done some or all of the configuration, just keep in mind there will be a few dialog boxes in this blog that you won’t see such as the HIT kit wanting to install the Multipath I/O feature.

Login to your EqualLogic support account or request a support account from the login page if you don’t already have one. Download the latest version of the “Host Integration Toolkit for Microsoft” from the EqualLogic support site.  Run setup64.exe:  

Click “Next” on the first screen. You’re probably wondering if this is being installed on server core (it is). Accept the License on the next screen and then select custom on the screen after that one:

I took the defaults for the installation location. If you have not done any iSCSI configuration already, you will receive this message. Click “Yes”:

Choose the appropriate option for your environment. I chose “Yes”:

I took the defaults on the “Select Components” screen. Click install. You will receive the following message if Multipath I/O is not already installed. Click “Yes”:

Click “Finish”. Leaving the “Launch Remote Setup Wizard” check-mark checked will launch it after you reboot and log back in. Click “OK” to restart. Once the server restarts, log back in, select “Configure MPIO settings for this computer”, and click “Next”:

Move your LAN subnet(s) to the “Subnets excluded from MPIO” side and click “Finish”:

Launch the iSCSI control panel applet by running iscsicpl.exe:  

You’ll notice that you now have an additional tab named “Dell EqualLogic MPIO”:

Enter the group IP address of your SAN in the discovery portal section on the discovery tab and connect to a target on the targets tab as shown in my “iSCSI Initiator Configuration on Windows 2008 R2 Server Core” blog. That’s assuming that you’ve already configured a volume on your SAN for this server to access. If you have not, you can find those instructions on my “Dell EqualLogic PS4000 – Creating a Volume” blog and if you haven’t done any configuration at all on your SAN, see my “Initial Configuration of a Dell EqualLogic PS4000XV SAN” blog. One last thing while we’re on the subject of other blog articles: Have you updated the firmware on your SAN? You can find that blog here: “Updating the Firmware on an EqualLogic PS4000XV SAN“.

Select the “Enable multi-path” option when connecting to the target:

After a few seconds, you’ll see a single connection to the target:

Two connections may show up from the same network interface with one of them showing “No” in the Managed column. This problem will resolve itself within about five minutes.

You can see in the image below, both connections are now connected (two different network cards in the server to two different network interfaces on the SAN):

You now have true multipath between your server and SAN. Maintenance that requires a single path to be unavailable can now be done without interruption to the server’s connection to the SAN.

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5 Comments

  1. ufcbetting

    I see you put a lot of work in your site Keep writing!

    Reply
  2. caspik

    Hello,

    I Have an EQL PS4000 SAN and I have connected it in two switches. There are also Two Windows 2008R2 servers in cluster. Each server has got two NIC, each connected to different switch.

    I want to configure MS Cluster Services bud on validation test i Got message:

    Multiple adapters on node SQL1.alz.lcl have addresses on the same subnet.

    Server has got two NIC and both has got another IP. It is bad? network connected to SAN is also configured to internal use.

    Thanks for help

    Reply
    • Kieran Rons

      @Caspik. This Microsoft Cluster warning is not a problem, as Equallogic SANs only allow single subnet iSCSI communication compared with other SANs that use multiple VLANS or subnets. You can ignore this message as it is not a problem, but more drawing your attention to it!

      Regards, Kieran

      Reply
  3. YogaPanda

    Thanks for the step by step procedure. This is very helpful.

    Reply
  4. KiritoYoshino

    hi i have an EQL SAN connected to a DELL Blade Server MX610 and my Backup Exec 2010 R3 is failing to comlpete the backup jobs with Job Rates going very high in the first 3 minutes and then dwindling down in speed before eventually failing. Upon close scrutiny of the MS ISCSI Initiator, there were numerous reconnecting status, which I conclude is the issue for the failed Backup job tasks all of Server and Symantec BE has been updated to latest hotfix. Any ideas how to fix/rectify the issue of server to SAN connectivity. Do advise

    Reply

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