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.

2016: Cheers to the New Year!

The past year has been a remarkable one for Open vStorage. We did 2 US roadshows, attended a successful OpenStack summit in Vancouver, moved and open-sourced all of Open vStorage on GitHub and released a lot of new functionality (our own hyperconverged backend, detailed tuning & caching parameters for vDisks, a certified OpenStack Cinder plugin, remote support, CentOS7, …). The year also ended with a bang as customers were trying to beat each other’s top 4k IOPS results.

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While it might look hard to beat the success of 2015, the Open vStorage Team is confident that 2016 will be even more fruitful. Feature wise some highly anticipated features will see the light in Q1: improved QEMU integration, block devices (blktap support), docker support (Flocker), iSCSI disks, replication, support for an all-flash backend, … Next to these product features, the team will open its kimono and discuss the Open vStorage internals in detail in our new GitBook documentation. In order to be more in spirit with the open source community, blueprints of upcoming features will also be published as much as possible to the GitHub repo. A first example is the move of the Open vStorage config files to etcd. Finally, based upon the projects of partners and customers in the pipeline, 2016 will be unrivaled. So far a 39 node cluster (nearly 125TB of flash alone) is being deployed in production and multiple datacenters (US, Europe, Asia) are being transformed to use Open vStorage as storage platform.

Cheers to the New Year. May it be a memorable one.