The Open vStorage iSCSI integration

Since Open vStorage released the Edge, our own lightweight block API, it was possible to turn vDisks into iSCSI exposed volumes. As this was a first version, we didn’t put a lot of effort in making it very user friendly. As such, it took quite some steps and manual tweaking to get it working alas. On the other hand it gave us valuable feedback on whether it was working well and how an automated flow had to look like. Hence it is with great pleasure I can announce that we completed the integration of the Linux SCSI target framework (TGT) with Open vStorage. Do note that the integration is only available as part of the Open vStorage Enterprise Edition.

The iSCSI Manager

In order to easily turn vDisks into iSCSI disks, we have developed an iSCSI Manager package. This package can be installed on any server where the Edge is already installed. The package deploys a small API for managing iSCSI servers and targets and registers the iSCSI target server with the Open vStorage framework. Once the target server is registered, vDisks can be exposed as iSCSI disks by the server. Optionally ACLs (access control list) can be set to allow certain IPs or networks segments to have access to the vDisk.

Exposing a vDisk as iSCSI disk

Exposing a vDisk as iSCSI disk is really simple. Open the Open vStorage GUI and go to the vDisk page. In case the iSCSI framework plugin is installed an additional option becomes available on the detail page of the vDisk to expose the vDisk.

In the expose wizard you can indicate on which iSCSI target server the disk should be exposed. You also need to provide the Edge username and password credentials and optionally an ACL. That is it!

Final Notes

Currently only TGT is supported as iSCSI target server. But the iSCSI manager was designed as such that for example LIO could later be easily plugged in as replacement of TGT. One other item which is planned for the next iteration of the iSCSI manager is CHAP authentication to restrict iSCSI access to vDisks. Let us know if you think we missed some features. We are always open for suggestions.

About the Author
Wim Provoost
Product Manager Open vStorage.