Deploying virtual Isilon on ESXi

I’ve documented the steps on how to deploy virtual Isilon appliance on ESXi platform. I believe at the moment only existing EMC customers can get their hands on this appliance.  Isilon virtual appliance is to be used for testing purposes only. This appliance comes pre-built for VMware Workstation/Player, which is nice, but I wanted to deploy it on my ESXi server (free edition).

Current ESX server configuration:

Two vSwitches, vSwitch0 is my public network and vSwitch1 is my private network (I used subnet, this will be used by Isilon cluster for intra-cluster connectivity, on real hardware Isilon uses InfiniBand switches).

DNS records:

You don’t have to create A records for internal interfaces, i am listing them here for documentation purposes only.

isilonintpoc1.local –
isilonintpoc2.local –
isilonintpoc3.local –

A record for each node of the cluster (external interfaces)

isilonpoc1.local –
isilonpoc2.local –
isilonpoc3.local –

A record for SmartConnect Service IP

isilonpoc0.local –

NS record for SmartConnect zone name, this record should point to the A record of SmartConnect Service IP

isilonpoc.local –> isilonpoc0.local

Let’s get started …

  • Extract content of zip file to your hard drive
  • Download and install VMware vCenter Converter Standalone
  • Open Converter, select “Convert Machine”. For Source type select “VMware Workstation or other VMware virtual machine”.  For “Virtual machine file browse to the extracted folder and select vmx file that is in the root of the directory.


  • Enter ESX server information and hit Next. Enter node name that you want to assign to this VM, select datastore, I left virtual machine version at 7.
  • The only thing that i modify on the next page is Networking, i change NIC1 to vSwitch1 (private) and NIC2 to vSwitch0 (public). It will take 5-10 minutes to convert the appliance. In my virtual cluster i will have three Isilon nodes so i repeat the same steps and convert two more node.
  • Let’s setup our first node, connect to ESX, open console of the first node and turn it on. You will be prompted to format ifs partition for all drives, select yes
  • Next we get to the wizard that will walk us through configuring the cluster (Note: if you make a typo and need to get back, simply tack “back” at the prompt)

2-11-2013 11-15-22 AM

  • Since this is the first node of our cluster we are going to select 1 to Create a new cluster, create password for root and admin account, select No for Enabling SupportIQ, this is a virtual appliance we don’t need to enable email-home support, enter cluster name, select enter for default encoding (utf-8)
  • Next we are going to configure intra-network settings, this is the network that Isilon nodes use to communicate to each other. I am using my private network (vSwitch1, network.

2-11-2013 11-15-39 AM

  • Select 1 to configure netmask, select 3 to configure intra-cluster ip range. On my private network i will use range where is my low ip and is my high ip.
  • Now that we are done with our internal network we are going to configure our external network, select 1 to configure external interface

2-11-2013 11-15-49 AM

  • Enter subnet mask information and then configure ext-1 ip range information. Next configure default gateway.
  • Now we are ready to configure SmartConnect settings of the cluster. SmartConnect is built-in load-balancer, you can read more about it on document titled “SmartConnect – Optimized Scale-out storage performance and availability”. You can also get a lot of tips on how to configure in production by visiting this blog

2-11-2013 11-16-02 AM

  • Select 1 to configure zone name, it should match NS record you created in DNS (delegation), in this example i will enter isilonpoc.local. Next configure SmartConnect service IP.
  • Configure DNS Servers and Search Domains (separate multiple entries with a comma)
  • Configure TimeZone and Date/Time
  • Cluster Join mode keep at Manual
  • Commit settings and at this point you should be able to connect to the SmartConnect zone name  (isilonpoc.local) and login to the cluster

Now that we have our cluster going let’s join another node to the cluster,  connect to console of another node and turn it on.

  • You will be prompted to format ifs partition for all drives, select yes
  • Now at the wizard select Join an existing cluster

2-11-2013 11-16-12 AM

  • Isilon node will automatically search local subnet and look for an existing cluster(s), if it finds it will present this option. Select your cluster index # and hit Enter

2-11-2013 11-16-21 AM

  • At this point you should see the new node show up in Isilon WebUI
  • When you login to WebUI you will see a couple of messages about “one or more drives area ready to be replaced”. This is normal since this a virtual appliance and does not have all the drives physical nodes have. Ssh into the cluster and clear  all alerts/events but running these two commands: “isi events cancel all” and “isi events quiet all”

Thank you @ChristopherImes for some pointers


36 Responses to Deploying virtual Isilon on ESXi

  1. hello,

    did you find a way to install the vmware tools on it?

    • dynamox says:

      Hello Anthony,

      i did not try to install the tools, once the cluster was up i was using the WebUI or ssh so did not bother with the tools. Did you try with any success ?

  2. minhajsaaqib says:

    Hello dynamox

    May i request you to share link to download this virtual isilon appliance. Thanks in advance. Minhaj

  3. hello dynamox,
    actually i try but it didn’t work. If you try to run the freebsd vmware install it doesn’t work because the OS as really reported like oneFs and not freebsd.

  4. dynamox says:

    did you get VMware image of Virtual Isilon from EMC ?

  5. Yes i had those images just after a training and i have a 60 day evaluation license too

  6. dynamox says:

    you mentioned that you are trying to run freebsd vmware install ? There is nothing to install, Isilon appliance is provided as VMware image, all you need to do is to “upload” it to ESX server using VMware vCenter Converter.

  7. Hello oups actually i would say i try to run freebsd vmware tools install.

    Yeah i know about the appliance my cluster is already runnig now

    Oh and by the way do you know if it’s possible to put an hard quota for the home directories (i did a user quota but when i mount the share on windows can’t see the quota limit…)

    • dynamox says:

      i did not install vmware tools, no point for me since i always either use the WebUI or ssh from putty.

      In my shop we only set directory quotas, i have not experiment with user quotas yet.

  8. John says:

    We haven’t been successful in getting the download yet. Can someone point to a download link ?

  9. Morris says:

    After a successful join of the second node to the cluster, I couldn’t find the second node in the UI.

    More than that, I can’t login to the second node, Root nor Admin password work for me. (on the first node it is working)

  10. Pingback: EMC Virtual Lab: VIPR, VNX, and Isilon on a Soapbox |

  11. vitor says:

    Someone has the isilon OneFS at another place to download? I’m trying to download it but I think that it’s inacessible even with my EMC² account. Please it’s urgent!

  12. Suresh says:

    I have successfully configured OneFS V 702.1 on ESXi 5.0 .
    -Added into Active directory
    -configured Shared folder .
    -Configured SMB access

    But I am getting “The RPC Server unavailable” when I manage the server from Active directory,

    AD is onWindows 2K8R2 OS

    Can anyone help me how to resolve this issue?

  13. Anonymous says:

    What version of VMware converter was used? I cant get 4.1 or 5 to give a proper conversion to a usable OS. There are also warming about support for “freebsd”

  14. wahiggins3 says:

    I am trying to run the virtual Isilon appliance my local ESXi lab machine. But, I am pretty new to ESXi and I am still trying to figure out some basic things. Can you go into some more detail on how I should setup the virtual network on my local ESXi host to work with the Isilon appliance? I am not familiar with virtual switches or the need to have an internal and/or external networks.

    • dynamox says:


      I am not an expert when it comes to ESXi/Networking but what i did on my ESX server (that has one NIC) was setup two virtual switches. One virtual switch is bound to my NIC, that virtual switch provides external connectivity to the outside world and then i created another virtual switch that is not bound to any NIC, so it’s internal to ESXi host only. This is the one that i use for virtual NIC two of the appliance, this becomes my “private” Isilon network that Isilon nodes use to communicate to each other. Does it help a little ?

      • wahiggins3 says:

        That does actually help. I appreciate you taking the time to reply. I will probably spend a little time on it over the weekend to see what I can come up with. Thanks again.

  15. Pingback: Jase's Place » Isilon OneFS Virtual Nodes in the lab – Part I – VMware Workstation

  16. Pingback: Mise en place de l’appliance “virtual” Isilon sur ESX/vCenter |

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