After about a week of messing around with it, I finally got an OpenFiler system setup as a guest OS inside ESXi and sharing via iSCSI. Honestly, I don’t even remember what finally fixed the issue, but I was finally able to see the iSCSI share from vCenter and configure it as a datastore.
I added a 250GB (base 10) SATA drive to the ESXi system originally thinking I could use it as a RAW disk, but soon found that not to be the case and confirmed that. So I created an additional datastore, then added a 230GB (base 2) virtual disk to the OpenFiler system. After that, I just stepped through some instructions on how to setup iSCSI on OpenFiler and using it with ESX.
There were a couple issues I do remember having. One was some confusion about the IP addressing scheme used in the tutorial. The tutorials tended to keep the iSCSI completely internal, which isn’t what I really wanted (I may add another host), and I think this is where the confusion came from. After I confirmed that iSCSI was working within the confines of the machine, I was even able to connect from my laptop.
Also, I forgot every time I added an entry to the Network Access Configuration, to set it to Allow in the Network ACL for that iSCSI share.
I should probably repeat the process independently to solidify it in my mind. Perhaps a project from tomorrow before I start adding VMs the “SAN”. Maybe even stick in the 160GB PATA drive I have lying around and see how it plays with OS X.