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  • Software ISCSI

    Hi, Iím looking into some software ISCSI solutions for my test environment @ home.
    I want to play with Xenserver with a shared storage repository, and this can be done through software based ISCSI or NFS.
    I do not like to use of NFS, so I gave the Software ISCSI a try.

    I've been looking into three products:
    1. Mysan (Nimbus)
    2. Openfiler
    3. Freesan

    The Mysan iscsi provider is a piece of software that runs on Windows Server SP1 and Windows XP SP2. Tried it first on a Windows Server 2003 SP2, but failed to install because of SP2. Than installed it on an XP machine, and was able to connect to the ISCSI provider using the MS ISCSI connector. Yet failed to connect Xenserver to the machine. Because of some limitations of this product, decided to leave it and try other products.

    Openfiler. Is a Linux open source ISCSI provider. Which can be configured using a web interface. Downloaded a copy and gave it a try. Well I must say my Linux knowledge is very limited. When connecting to the web interface, I saw that the external disk (I know, not very professional) was not shown in the storage volumes. Yet this was listed in the hardware setup of that machine, so the device is recognized. Tried some commands like slm -vgdisplay and slm -svscan to try and find the disk, but results came up empty. As stated before, I am a Windows administrator and lack the knowledge to administer Linux (yes, I am a shammed). Any idea's?

    Freenas. Is a freeBSD distro, haven't been looking into that really cause some articles on the internet claim that Openfiler is better in performace than freenas.

    Do some of you have expereince with these or other sofware ISCSI providers, if yes any comments or other info?
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  • #2
    Re: Software ISCSI

    can't say about iSCSI specifis, but I've used both openfiler and freenas, and freenas performed much much better
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    Last edited by DYasny; 6th March 2011, 18:13.
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    • #3
      Re: Software ISCSI

      Oke, i will take a look at freenas anyway. Any idea if an external disk will recognized? I fear it will be as difficult (or easy for some) to get that USB disk among its volumes.
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      • #4
        Re: Software ISCSI

        should be recognized, if the kernel has USB mass storage support.

        as you plug it in, watch /var/log/messages for updates, as the system detects it.

        if it doesn't mount automatically, type fdisk -l to see which /dev device it is using, and mount it manually

        if you want it to keep mounting automatically, update /etc/fstab accordingly
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        Last edited by DYasny; 6th March 2011, 18:13.
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        • #5
          Re: Software ISCSI

          Might be of interest:
          http://www.scribd.com/doc/29643/OpenFiler-vs-FreeNAS
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          • #6
            Re: Software ISCSI

            nice doc. I can't provide figures, but I was running two NAS systems with 16 400Gb SATA Hdds in each (cheap promise 8port sata controllers) on P4 machines with 1Gb of memory in each.

            file sizes were between 1mb-10Gb

            just for testing, I installed one system with each, and actually compiled samba from source, because whatever comes with the distribution is always behind the real stuff.

            after that, I measured network performance to tune samba to perform at it's best with a packet sniffer.
            you can find the way it is done here:
            http://us1.samba.org/samba/docs/man/...ion/speed.html


            anyhow, I did some pretty rough measuring. the same directory (10Gb approx) was downloaded from a windows2k3 server in about 5 minutes. openfiler - 2-3 minutes, freenas under 1 minute.

            all over the same cisco switched 100Mb network


            BTW, if you're looking into using iSCSI, getting a NIC with ToE enabled might be a good idea. that tales a lot of the overhead away
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            Last edited by DYasny; 6th March 2011, 18:13.
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            • #7
              Re: Software ISCSI

              Suddenly the disk was recognized on the openfiler system last night.
              I used F-disk to remove all windows (NTFS) partitions and created new ones. But openfiler totally messed up. Even after applying changes, changes where hardly applied which ended in a lot off errors on the openfiler box. At a certain point the disk wasn't recognized anymore at the Openfiler system, and de-attaching an re-attaching resulted only in errors. This made me thing that the external disk had "kicked the bucket", but seemed ok after checking the disk with paragorn disk manager. I will format the disk using ext1 prior to hanging it to the openfiler again, and hopefully I get a step further.

              I will install freenas later one to see how this works, and how easy (or how hard) this system is to manage.

              At now Openfiler has some opportunities, but the management web interface does not handle the luggage. This means that Linux knowledge is needed or certainly advised.
              Nimbus MySan can be installed upon Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003 SP1, but can only provide access to one machine per published LUN. This makes the product unusable in cashes of clustering and VM infrastructure implementation where shared storage is required.
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              • #8
                Re: Software ISCSI

                you need to attach the disk, umount it, if it automounts, and use fdisk to repartition it. after that format it using mkfs

                ext1 and 2 do not have journalling, so ext3/reiserfs/jfs are the better choice


                you can use ntfs actually, but it is a good idea to install the source ntfs-3g (from ntfs-3g.org) package, since the versions streamed into major distributions are out of date and unstable.
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                Last edited by DYasny; 6th March 2011, 18:14.
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                • #9
                  Re: Software ISCSI

                  Thanks
                  Can i unmount the disk through "umount -f" or "fuser -km /mnt"?
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                  • #10
                    Re: Software ISCSI

                    umount /dev/sdb1 or the like should be enough. run as root for best results of course
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                    Last edited by DYasny; 6th March 2011, 18:14.
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