For my notes, I’m sharing what I’ve found searching the ‘net to bind VMkernel NICs to VMware’s built-in iSCSI software initiator in ESXi 4.1 I know ESXi 5.0 has changed this process to a nice GUI, but we’re stuck with the CLI in 4.1.
If you’re configuring jumbo frames as I’ve shown in a previous post, bind the VMkernel NICs after configuring jumbo frames.
Assuming you have two uplinks for iSCSI traffic, on the vSwitch of your iSCSI port group, set one uplink, temporarily, to unused. You’ll also want to note the vmhba# of the software iSCSI adapter. You can view this from the Configuration tab > Storage Adapters and viewing the iSCSI Software Adapter. You’ll also need to note the VMkernel NIC names of each iSCSI port group. You can view these from the Configuration tab > Networking and looking at the iSCSI port group. It will show the iSCSI port group name, the vmk#, IP address, and VLAN if you have one configured. Then from a CLI, either via the console or SSH, execute the following commands for each iSCSI port name:
Example: esxcli swiscsi nic add -n vmk# -d vmhba#
If you want to enable jumbo frames on an iSCSI port group in ESXi 4.1, you’ll need to make configuration changes at the vSwitch and VMkernel NIC level. Through trial and error, I found that I had to create the iSCSI port group from the command line instead of just enabling jumbo frames on an already existing port group. At first, I already had an iSCSI port group created. I did this via the vSphere Client. But then enabling jumbo frames from the CLI didn’t work. I had to delete the iSCSI port group first, then recreate from the CLI. Note that these commands are case sensitive, including the names of vSwitches, port groups, and VMkernel NICs. These command were completed via an SSH session directly to an ESXi 4.1 host.