Nimble Connection Manager (NCM) is an optional but recommended component when integrating with VMware using iSCSI. NCM is available for vSphere 5.x onwards. NCM consists of two components – Nimble Connection Services (NCS) and Nimble Path Selection Plugin (PSP). NCS maintains the optimal number of iSCSI sessions from host to the storage group which is balanced across the hosts NIC’s. PSP for VMware Pluggable Storage Architecture automatically directs the I/O request for the Nimble to the most favourable route.
NCM is available for Windows servers but this blog will show the steps to install it on ESXi.
First download the files from Nimbles infosight – browse to infosight and login – go to downloads – integration kits – select the software version that relates to the running Nimble firmware – click the software link and that will download the .zip file.
NCM is installed by either the CLI or by using Update Manager.
To use the CLI first enable SSH on the host in questions and using WinSCP connect to the host and upload the .zip file to the ESXi host’s \tmp directory.
Once uploaded put the host into maintenance mode and SSH on and log in as root. Type the following command and wait for it for it to complete, change the .zip file name to reflect yours.
esxcli software vib install -d /tmp/nimble-ncm-for-esx5-2.3.1-500006.zip
Once complete close the SSH session. Now on the VMFS datastores you will see ‘Nimble_PSP_Directed’ under Storage – datastore properties – manage paths.
It is possible to do this using Update Manager. Fire up Update Manager and go to Patch Repository – Import. Add the downloaded .zip file here
Now go to Baseline and Groups – Create. Create a new Baseline, give it a name and mark it as a Host Extension.
Click next and find the imported .zip file from previous step. Make a note of the impact, the host may need a reboot depending on the version of NCM. Once created connect back to vCentre using the C# client and browse to Host and Clusters. Select the host you want to install NCM on and select the Update Manager tab. Select to attach a new Baseline and select the newly created one.
Once attached the host will show up Non-Compliant. Select Remediate and run through the steps making sure you have selected Extension Baseline with the correct imported patch and choosing the relevant schedule to apply it.
Now on the VMFS datastores you will see ‘Nimble_PSP_Directed’ under Storage – datastore properties – manage paths.