Before ESXi can work with a SAN, you must set up your iSCSI adapters and storage.

To do this, you must first observe certain basic requirements and then follow best practices for installing and setting up hardware or software iSCSI adapters to access the SAN.

The following table lists the iSCSI adapters (vmhbas) that ESXi supports and indicates whether VMkernel networking configuration is required.

Supported iSCSI adapters

iSCSI Adapter (vmhba)


VMkernel Networking


Uses standard NICs to connect your host to a remote iSCSI target on the IP network .


Independent Hardware

Third-party adapter that offloads the iSCSI and network processing and management from your host.

Not required

Dependent Hardware

Third-party adapter that depends on VMware networking and iSCSI configuration and management interfaces.


After you set up the iSCSI adapters, you can create a datastore on iSCSI storage. For details on how to create and manage datastores, see Creating Datastores.