Finally iSCSI on Linux that just works!

Back in November, I wrote about the transition to iSCSI and NFS, along with a need for a new storage array.  Turns out I ended up purchasing a new storage array and RAID card as a “Merry Christmas” to me gift.

I ended up purchasing the Sans Digital TRM8-B.  It’s a nice 8 bay SATA/eSATA enclosure.  Asides from the horrible blue LED in the rear, it performs quite nicely with quiet sounds and hot swappable drives.  To support the enclosure I picked up a HighPoint 3122 RAID eSATA card w/ 128MB cache.  Add to the mix a pair of 1TB WD black drives, and now I have 1.8TB of storage.

The performance has been good.  I easily get 125MB/s in Linux VM’s and around 70-80MB/s for Windows (my connect is only 1Gb/s to the filer).   What was not good was the performance of the iSCSI software I used.

I tried almost every Linux iSCSI you could find.  IET, tgt, Linux-iscsi.  They all had poor performance and where buggy.  vSphere is pretty picky about its iSCSI software.  I ended up going with ISCSI-SCST.  It works great!  It works nicely with ESX 4.0, plays well with my Windows backups.  If you are looking for a good, solid Linux iSCSI solution, this one appears to be it.  These guys have done it right too!

I migrated my iSCSI server into a VM, and the performance has remained consistent too.  The Filer is now configured purely to serve NFS to the ESX hosts, but any iSCSI go through a CENTOS/RHEL 5.4 VM.  A lot easier this way.  And guess what?  It just works.