SnapDrive 6.1, Windows Server 2008, and vSphere – A Serious Inconvenience!!

I can’t help but smile upon reflection of the last couple days at work. I guess I’m still in the midst of it, but I believe the information below will be relevant to others.

For a little background, I’m building Windows Server 2008 / Exchange 2007 clusters hosted on vSphere with NetApp storage. Thus, I have installed SnapDrive 6.1 onto my Windows VMs. Also important to note, is that vSphere installed the LSI SAS SCSI Controller for my 2008 Servers….

Using SnapDrive to create the iSCSI LUNs was very easy, it was great! This was my first time using it and I was delighted to see that it created the disks, formatted them, created cluster resources, etc, etc. However, the quorum had to reside on a Fibre Channel LUN and SnapDrive, seeing that it can recognize that it is installed into a VM, can create LUNs of Fibre storage because it can use the FC “Initiators” on the ESX server. I was told the quorum had to be on Fibre Channel storage in order to be supported by NetApp, VMware, and Microsoft. Granted, I’m not sure the verbage is right but hopefully you get my point.

Anyway, when creating the FC LUNs using SnapDrive, I received the following message when it attempted to create the LUN:

Failed to create disk in virtual machine, Failed to Map virtual disk: There are no available SCSI controllers..

After a bit of troubleshooting, we decided to contact NetApp. We ran through a couple basics, they were going to review the logs, etc. When speaking with support today, I was told the following “bug” update (366239) had just been released.

Error “There are no available SCSI controllers” is thrown up by SnapDrive running in win2k8 VM.

Bug Severity: 3 – Serious inconvenience
Bug Status: Fixed
SnapDrive running in Win2k8 VM (configured with virtual LSI SAS controller) and being hosted by ESX Server 4.0 throws up an error “Failed to create disk in virtual machine, Failed to Map virtual disk: There are no available SCSI controllers” during LUN create, connect or mount operations.

Configure VM with LSI parallel controller and do not use LSI SAS controller.

Of course my VMs were using LSI SAS controllers! Anyway, I can confirm that this bug is indeed a serious inconvenience as you typically cannot simply change your controllers “on the fly” so to speak. Doing so tends to render Windows unbootable; but you can step through a process to convert your SCSI controller from LSI SAS to LSI Parallel (and vice versa). I used the steps found here: though I may post what I did as well for my own memory….

After converting my SCSI controllers to LSI Parallel, SnapDrive was able to map a Fibre Channel RDM to my Exchange virtual servers and I could proceed with my Exchange 2007 cluster build.


Filed under Microsoft, NetApp, VMware, Windows Server

5 responses to “SnapDrive 6.1, Windows Server 2008, and vSphere – A Serious Inconvenience!!

  1. Anonymous

    Granted, I'm using ESX 3.5 and Windows 2003 x64, but they told me the ~exact~ opposite … w/ ESX 3.5 and W2k3 FibreChannel cluster resources ~only~ work on iSCSI disks. I think I could have mucked with it more and gotten it working, but it wouldn't have been supported.

    I have several clusters running on VMWare ESX 3.5 w/ W2k3 using iSCSI and they work great — I can't imagine that the vendors would “break” functionality in a newer version …. try the iSCSI route, I'd be surprised if it didn't work.

    Meredith Shaebanyan

  2. It's not necessarily that iSCSI wouldn't work as I'm sure it would, but with all the pieces involved in this particular project, we had to make sure what we implemented was supported by NetApp, VMware, and Microsoft.

    My team discussed the situation, many times, with NetApp primarily. According to the engineers we spoke to, when creating a Windows Server 2008 / Exchange 2007 “single-copy cluster”, with SnapDrive 6.1, and hosted on a vSphere cluster, the quorum disk/LUN had to reside on Fibre Channel storage. The configuration, if I remember right, would have been slightly different if using Exchange 2007 CCR.

    I bet that you are right in that Windows failover clustering would not have cared, actually, I don't think VMware would have cared too much either had the quorum disk resided on an iSCSI LUN, but the concern was maintaining NetApp support. They said the quorum disk had to be on a Fibre Channel volume, so we put it on one.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and posting a comment.

    Have a great day!

  3. I've hit the same issue running SnapDrive 6.2 on Windows 2008 Server Std. w/SP2, NetApp Data OnTap 7.3.2P4 and VMware ESX4i (3hosts in cluster) over iSCSI. First, if I pre-create the igroup through FilerView SnapDrive cannot seem to see it when I connect LUNs back after initial creation. However, if I create the the igroup via command line on the Filer it can use the igroup. When I try and mount a snapshot via SnapDrive I get the Error “There are no available SCSI controllers.” In my case, I'm using SnapManager for Exchange 6.0 (SME)to snapshot my Exchange 2007 servers. I'm already running LSI Logic Parallel and ensured I'm using the StorPort driver on my LSI SCSI controller on my VM…noted in the SnapDrive 6.2 pre-download page.

    In my testing, I've disconnected my LUNs and found that sometimes LUNS fail to get removed from the .vmx file of the VM. Thus when you try and reconnect the LUN…SnapDrive states it's already connected. My hunch is the problem is with the either the SCSI driver in the VM or SnapDrive. I'm waiting to hear back from NetApp on my case. For the time being I'm able to SnapShot my VM and Exchange – SMVI for the VMDKs (NFS) and Exchange on my RDM LUNs via SME and successfully replicate to my remote Filer via SnapMirror.

  4. I've run into the exact same error with a Windows 2003 R2 SP2 guest OS and snapdrive 6.2. The filer is running I'm trying to create a FC conected quorum disk resource and get the 'there are no compatible SCSI controllers…'error.
    The Netapp compatibility matrix confirms that snapdrive 6.2 is supported with Ontap and Windows 2003 R2. I updated the LSI SCSI controller with the StorPort driver as per the snapdrive documentation. Any ideas what's wrong?

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