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UNH InterOperability Lab

iSCSI Introduction

Improving Networks Worldwide.

iSCSI

Contents
Definition of iSCSI iSCSI vs Fibre Channel iSCSI Session Types Key Negotiation Overview

iSCSI

Definition of iSCSI
iSCSI is a Storage Area Network (SAN) protocol that allows for SCSI command transmission over a TCP/IP network iSCSI allows for the sharing of I/O devices over a long distance, especially storage devices
Typically high speed disk arrays

iSCSI

Definition of iSCSI Continued


iSCSI maintains the SCSI notion of an Initiator and Target device iSCSI removes the traditional bus structure of SCSI and maps SCSI over a network

iSCSI

Bus vs Network Architecture


Bus Architecture Network Architecture

iSCSI

Problems Mapping SCSI to a Network


In order not to violate Bus model of SCSI, there can only ever be one (1) concurrent Session between an iSCSI Initiator and iSCSI Target Commonly called The ISID Rule Multiple Connections may exist within that Session, but all Connections must contain the same Initiator Session Identifier (ISID)

iSCSI

iSCSI vs Fibre Channel


Both protocols have advantages and disadvantages
iSCSI is typically less expensive Fibre Channel is typically faster

iSCSI

iSCSI
iSCSI is traditionally less expensive than Fibre Channel to implement
Can be done with only software

iSCSI can run over preexisting copper infrastructure and use preexisting switches and routers iSCSI does not require specially trained network administrators to manage the network
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iSCSI

Fibre Channel
In most cases, Fibre Channel will outperform iSCSI in data transfer speeds Fibre Channel requires a special fiber network to be created in order to be implemented Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is much higher than iSCSI
Special network, administrators, fiber maintenance, etc.

iSCSI

Comparison Conclusion
Fiber Channel is much faster than traditional iSCSI iSCSI Extensions for RDMA (iSER) aims to lessen this difference iSCSI can run over preexisting copper infrastructure iSCSI devices can be accessed over the Internet In almost all cases, iSCSI is less expensive to implement and maintain
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iSCSI

iSCSI Session Types


iSCSI has two (2) Session types
Discovery Normal

Each Session has two (2) Phases


Login
Contains Security Negotiation and Operational Parameter Negotiation

Full Feature Phase


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iSCSI

Discovery Session
A Discovery Session is used to allow the iSCSI Initiator to find iSCSI Targets that it can connect to The Initiator must explicitly tell the Target that the Session to be created be a Discovery Session
SessionType=Discovery

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iSCSI

Login within Discovery


Allows the Initiator and Target to establish 'who' it is

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iSCSI

Full Feature Phase within Discovery


Once the Login Phase has completed, the Session can transfer into Full Feature Phase (FFP) Within a Discovery Session, FFP allows the sending of Text Requests (Initiator) and Text Responses (Target)
Used to let the Target inform the Initiator what devices it can access

No other types of data units may be transmitted

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iSCSI

Discovery Session
Initiator transmits the SendTargets key to the Target Target replies with a list of devices accessible to the Initiator and their addresses
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iSCSI

Discovery Session
Once a Discovery Session has completed, the Session must be terminated If the Initiator then desires to perform data I/O, a Normal Session must be created

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iSCSI

Normal Session
An iSCSI Initiator will explicitly tell the iSCSI Target that the Session to be created is a Normal Session A Normal Session is defined in RFC 3720 to be an unrestricted session Access to SCSI devices can only be achieved while in a Normal Session

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iSCSI

Login within Normal Session


Allows the Initiator and Target to declare/negotiate data transmission rules and other connection settings
Ex. Size of individual data units, number of simultaneous data transfers

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iSCSI

Full Feature Phase in Normal Session Once Full Feature Phase (FFP) within a Normal Session has been reached, data I/O can take place

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iSCSI

Key Negotiation Overview


All iSCSI parameters are contained within key=value pairs
Ex. TargetAlias=UNH-IOL

Some keys are declared and others are negotiated


Declared keys do not need a response from the receiver Negotiated keys must always receive a response from the receiver
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iSCSI

iSCSI Key Negotiation


Key negotiations can allow the enabling or disabling of features Also allows for value negotiation or declaration
Ex. MaxBurstLength=512

More on Key Negotiation will be covered in the iSCSI Login Presentation

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iSCSI

Summary
iSCSI is a low cost, low maintenance alternative to Fibre Channel iSCSI networks can use existing copper infrastructures Unlike Fibre Channel, iSCSI networks can span the Internet iSCSI Key Negotiation allows for enabling/disabling of features as well as value negotiations
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