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Troubleshooting ESXi/ESX connectivity to iSCSI arrays using software initiators (1003952)

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  • One ESXi/ESX host cannot see any targets from all storage arrays.
  • The array does not report the HBA of the ESXi/ESX host as being logged in.
  • The array cannot ping the software initiator on the ESXi/ESX host.
  • The ESXi/ESX host cannot ping the storage processor on the array.
  • The ESXi/ESX host cannot vmkping the storage processor on the array.


This article guides you through the most common steps to identify a connectivity problem from an ESXi/ESX host to an iSCSI shared storage device using the software initiator.


Validate that each troubleshooting step below is true for your environment. Each step will provide instructions or a link to a document, in order to eliminate possible causes and take corrective action as necessary. The steps are ordered in the most appropriate sequence to isolate the issue and identify the proper resolution. Please do not skip a step.

To troubleshoot connectivity to iSCSI arrays using the software initiator:

  1. Verify that the ESXi/ESX host can see any targets on shared storage. For more information, see Obtaining LUN pathing information for ESX or ESXi hosts (1003973).

  2. Verify that a rescan restores visibility to the targets. For more information, see Performing a rescan of the storage on an ESXi/ESX host (1003988).

  3. Verify that the virtual switch being used for storage has been configured correctly. For more information, see Networking Configuration for Software iSCSI Storage in the Server Configuration Guide.

    Note: Ensure that there are enough available ports on the virtual switch. For more information, see Network cable of a virtual machine appears unplugged (1004883) and No network connectivity if all ports are in use (1009103).

  4. Log in to the ESXi/ESX host and verify that the host can vmkping the iSCSI targets with the command:

    # vmkping target_ip

    Note: Ensure that the mapped iSCSI initiator name on the SAN array exactly matches (including upper and lower case) the name listed in the properties of the iSCSI initiator on the ESXi/ESX host to avoid any connectivity issues. If you have jumbo frames configured on the iSCSI network, ensure that you do the testing with the vmkping command. For help on using the vmkping command, run vmkping -h.

    If you are running on an ESX host, check that you are able to ping the iSCSI target:

    # ping target_ip

    For more information, see Testing network connectivity with the ping command (1003486) and Testing VMkernel network connectivity with the vmkping command (1003728).

  5. Use netcat (nc) to verify whether you can reach the iSCSI TCP port (default 3260) on the storage array from the host. For example:

    # nc -z 3260

    Connection to 3260 port [tcp/http] succeeded!

    Note: The netcat command is available with ESX 4.x and ESXi 4.1 and later.

  6. Verify that the storage array is listed in the VMware Hardware Compatibility Guide and that the initiator is registered on the array. Consult your storage vendor for instructions on this procedure.

  7. Verify that the array is configured correctly for use with your ESXi/ESX hosts. Partner with your hardware vendor to ensure that the array is properly configured. For more information, see the iSCSI SAN Configuration Guide.

  8. Verify that the physical hardware and physical network hardware are functioning correctly. You may have to contact your hardware vendor for information on verifying that your hardware functions correctly.

Note: If your problem still exists after trying the steps in this article:

Additional Information


iscsi-connectivity iSCSI-Hardware-Software-Initiator esx-esxi-iscsi-connectivity

See Also

Update History

01/12/2012 - Added link to KB 1003659 in the Additional Information section. 05/23/2014 - Added link to KB 1008083 in the Additional Information section. 03/12/2015 - Added ESXi 6.0 to Products.

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