In addition to traditional iSCSI, ESXi supports the iSCSI Extensions for RDMA (iSER) protocol. When the iSER protocol is enabled, the iSCSI framework on the ESXi host can use the Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) transport instead of TCP/IP. You can configure iSER on your ESXi host.

For more information about the iSER protocol, see Using iSER Protocol with ESXi.

The entire setup and configuration process for VMware iSER involves several steps.

Step Description
Install and View an RDMA Capable Network Adapter To configure iSER with ESXi, you must first install an RDMA capable network adapter, for example, Mellanox Technologies MT27700 Family ConnectX-4. After you install this type of adapter, the vSphere Client displays its two components, an RDMA adapter and a physical network adapter vmnic#.
Enable the VMware iSER Adapter To be able to use the RDMA capable adapter for iSCSI, use the esxcli to enable the VMware iSER storage component. The component appears in the vSphere Client as a vmhba# storage adapter under the VMware iSCSI over RDMA (iSER) Adapter category.
Modify General Properties for iSCSI or iSER Adapters If needed, change the default name and alias assigned to the iSER storage adapter vmhba#.
Configure Port Binding for iSCSI or iSER You must create network connections to bind the iSER storage adapter vmhba# and the RDMA capable network adapter vmnic#. The process of configuring these connections is called port binding.
Note: iSER does not support NIC teaming. When configuring port binding, use only one RDMA adapter per vSwitch.
Configure Dynamic or Static Discovery for iSCSI and iSER on ESXi Host Set up the dynamic or static discovery for your iSER storage adapter vmhba#. With the dynamic discovery, each time the initiator contacts a specified iSER storage system, it sends the SendTargets request to the system. The iSER system responds by supplying a list of available targets to the initiator. With the static discovery, you manually enter information for the targets.
Set Up CHAP for iSCSI or iSER Storage Adapter If your environment uses the Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP), configure it for your iSER storage adapter vmhba#.
Set Up CHAP for Target You can also configure different CHAP credentials for each discovery address or static target.
Enable Jumbo Frames for Networking If your environment supports Jumbo Frames, enable them for the iSER storage adapter vmhba#.