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System Administration Guide: Devices and File Systems
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The iSCSI Technology (Overview)

iSCSI is an acronym for Internet SCSI (Small Computer System Interface), an Internet Protocol (IP)-based storage networking standard for linking data storage subsystems. This networking standard was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). For more information about the iSCSI technology, see RFC 3720:

By carrying SCSI commands over IP networks, the iSCSI protocol enables you to access block devices from across the network as if they were connected to the local system.

If you want to use storage devices in your existing TCP/IP network, the following solutions are available:

  • iSCSI block devices or tape – Translates SCSI commands and data from the block level into IP packets. The advantage of using iSCSI in your network is when you need to have block-level access between one system and the target device, such as a tape device or a database. Access to a block-level device is not locked so that you could not have multiple users or systems accessing a block-level device such as an iSCSI target device.

  • NFS – Transfers file data over IP. The advantage of using NFS in your network is that you can share file data across many systems. Access to file data is locked appropriately when many users are accessing data that is available in an NFS environment.

Here are the benefits of using Solaris iSCSI targets and initiators:

  • The iSCSI protocol runs across existing Ethernet networks.

    • You can use any supported network interface card (NIC), Ethernet hub or switch.

    • One IP port can handle multiple iSCSI target devices.

    • You can use existing infrastructure and management tools for IP networks.

  • You might have existing fibre-channel devices that can be connected to clients without the cost of fibre-channel HBAs. In addition, systems with dedicated arrays can now export replicated storage with ZFS or UFS file systems.

  • There is no upper limit on the maximum number of configured iSCSI target devices.

  • The protocol an be used to connect to Fibre Channel or iSCSI Storage Area Network (SAN) environments with the appropriate hardware.

Here are the current limitations or restrictions of using the Solaris iSCSI initiator software:

  • No support for iSCSI devices that use SLP is currently available.

  • No boot support for iSCSI devices is currently available.

  • Do not configure iSCSI targets as dump devices.

  • iSCSI supports multiple connections per session, but the current Solaris implementation only supports a single connection per session.

    For more information, see RFC 3720.

  • You should consider the impact of transferring large amounts of data over your existing network.

Solaris iSCSI Software and Hardware Requirements

  • Solaris iSCSI software and devices

  • The Solaris Express 2/05 or later release for Solaris iSCSI initiator software

  • The Solaris Express 8/06 or later release for Solaris iSCSI target software

  • The following software packages:

    • SUNWiscsir – Sun iSCSI Device Driver (root)

    • SUNWiscsiu – Sun iSCSI Management Utilities (usr)

    • SUNWiscsitgtr – Sun iSCSI Target Device Driver (root)

    • SUNWiscsitgtu – Sun iSCSI Target Management Utilities (usr)

  • Any supported NIC

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