KOOLER

Affordable Iscsi For Home And Office Use.

Recommended Posts

Gentlemen,

first of all please do not treat this message as an advertisment, rather treat it is as a request for beta testers :)

We (Rocket Division Software) wrote iSCSI target and iSCSI initiator for Windows NT4/2000/XP/2003. So now a lot of tasks (burning to CD/DVD burner located on the other machine, mirroring to RAID1 with the drives located on the other machines, backing up to remote tape drive etc) are possible to be done w/o investing $1000+ into hardware and software.

If you feel like having some free time and wanting to explore new possibilities with existing hardware and software please visit

www.rocketdivision.com

and check our StarPort and StarWind software titles. Free of charge.

Thank you and have fun! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greg,

not published on the site -- YES. GbE adds very low latency to disk I/O operations.

Nearly no difference if point-to-point hubless configuration used.

We're working on extended "most common scenarios", presentations etc but do not expect us to publish them soon -- too much reseasrch & development work :)

Thanks!

Anton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Greg,

not published on the site -- YES. GbE adds very low latency to disk I/O operations.

Nearly no difference if point-to-point hubless configuration used.

We're working on extended "most common scenarios", presentations etc but do not expect us to publish them soon -- too much reseasrch & development work :)

Thanks!

Anton

Obviously the difference between point to point versus switched is going to be minimal.

I would be interested to see what your throughput figures are, gig-e jumbo framing enabled.

greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greg,

on Intel CSA GbE (P4-2.4GHz/800MHz bus/2GB 400MHz DDR SDRAM -- Intel "Bonanza") our iSCSI initiator running Vs. our iSCSI target (user mode NT service) gets ardound 150MB/sec for read/write (IOMeter). Microsoft gets around 100-110MB/sec. Cisco -- 80MB/sec. IBM -- not more then 30MB/sec (very bad design in the case of IBM code). This is with 9K jumbo frames enabled and some IP stack optimizing switches in the registry. Our kernel mode iSCSI target shows 10-15% better results but we're not going to release it (too difficult to maintain).

Ah, the target was running 1GB RAM disk emulation (mapping to FC JBOD shows identical results for all testing environments except IBM -- dropped long time ago).

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Greg,

on Intel CSA GbE (P4-2.4GHz/800MHz bus/2GB 400MHz DDR SDRAM -- Intel "Bonanza") our iSCSI initiator running Vs. our iSCSI target (user mode NT service) gets ardound 150MB/sec for read/write (IOMeter). Microsoft gets around 100-110MB/sec. Cisco -- 80MB/sec. IBM -- not more then 30MB/sec (very bad design in the case of IBM code). This is with 9K jumbo frames enabled and some IP stack optimizing switches in the registry.

Holy Friholes! Thats interesting.

Our kernel mode iSCSI target shows 10-15% better results but we're not going to release it (too difficult to maintain).

Ah, the target was running 1GB RAM disk emulation (mapping to FC JBOD shows identical results for all testing environments except IBM -- dropped long time ago).

What are the figures like for exporting a reasonably disked SATA raid5 array from a system running your iScsi Target ?

The thought of turning a proliant into a cheap mini SAN is rather tempting.

greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greg,

I did not experiment with RAID5 (was interested in highest possible throughoutput and CPU usage only). In general iSCSI-zation adds very small overhead (MBps and IOps), just CPU usage is larger comapred to machine with storage physically attached to. So f.e. 70 MBps sustained transfer rate: CPU gets loaded for 10-12% (compare to 3-4% on machine with FC controller plugged into PCI slot).

But when running software RAID I guess we'll have different picture -- client machine would not have to calculare XOR and XOR traffic would be off-loaded from client memory also. So CPU usage in case of using software RAID installed on server on client machine would be lower then on server itself :) TCP offload network adapters would cut off 1/2 or 1/3 of load on client also.

You have a brilliant idea! Two year old server would do much better job compared to modern SATA controller. And would cost much cheaper (external SCSI RAIDs was always expansive toys, now you can make it yourself for free).

Anton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CPU Overhead I can live with.

What appeals to me is the thought of putting a *lot* of expanable storage out of earshot and just running CAT 5 to the client machines, no moving parts, silence.

I am surprised that no one has thought of building an iScsi initiator into Small Form Factor PCs.

I know its possible to add an iScsi card.

But with native Gig-E appearing everywhere on both Intel and AMD chipset motherboard, I cant see why it shouldnt be a boot option in the BIOS.

greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greg,

for most commonly used tasks 50-80 MBps of STR are enough and would not cost you a lot of CPU horsepower :)

About CAT5 -- I've ended with ATX case (some modification, grouned green wire so PSU works w/o mainboard, just need to turn off the switch on the butt of the case) with 4 of FC drives put into RAID 0. And FC copper connecting working machine and this hard disk ATX case. FC drivers are 10K and very noisy, but noise is isolated in the other room :) Another storage goes from my twin working machine (the same as main but with 250GB of SATA disks). Connected with CAT5e (1GbE) and KVM switch. 90% of the hard disks and fans are heating the air outside of my view and hear zone.

Well... You need specal BIOS emulating int 13h to boot from iSCSI array. Generally speaking it *IS* possible to boot from the network with software iSCSI initiator. I think we'll see this stuff working one day in most of the machines. It's cheaper to have all the storage gathered into single place and have bunch of copper or fiber cables (already used for IP traffic!) instead of attaching hard disk to every machine on the network, servicing them and replacing when dead. So I do totally agree with you :)

Regards,

Anton Kolomyeytsev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What bootable iSCSI HBAs would you reccomend for use with your server product?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

actually any of them should work. This is out of iSCSI target business what's stored on disk volumes it takes care of :)

Regards,

Anton Kolomyeytsev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My hat goes off to early adopters. Beta testing a software iSCSI implementation? I hope you have good backups...

Speaking of which, has anybody seen a mainstream supplier do the same? I looked for a linux implementation but haven't been paying attention. Now, THAT would be cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, call me stupid but what's the advantage? My server has an 8 disk RAID5 in it that I have been sharing all this time with just windows file share (server 2000). I have gigabit and I'm pretty happy.

I looked into a 3Ware Palisade about a year ago that is basically a 1U iSCSI file server. It was actually a pile of crap though (good idea, but) for some reason it wouldn't initialize it's gigabit card and would only work on it's 10/100 card (I mean why downgrade?). It looks like it never really caught on in the industry either

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OK, call me stupid but what's the advantage?

Block level access from multiple hosts to resilient dynamic storage hung at the end of a long cat 5e cable, leading to peace, quiet and sanity.

greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OK, call me stupid but what's the advantage? My server has an 8 disk RAID5 in it that I have been sharing all this time with just windows file share (server 2000).  I have gigabit and I'm pretty happy.

I looked into a 3Ware Palisade about a year ago that is basically a 1U iSCSI file server. It was actually a pile of crap though (good idea, but) for some reason it wouldn't initialize it's gigabit card and would only work on it's 10/100 card (I mean why downgrade?). It looks like it never really caught on in the industry either

To software (like say Oracle running on your PC), there is a large difference between iSCSI (which looks like a locally attached SCSI disk), and a file server. You can't perform an Oracle install onto a remote file, but you certainly can using a remote block level device (iSCSI).

Well, unless your name is Bryan and iSCSI simply doesn't work for you (inside joke to a reader of this thread :P )

I'm not sure, but I believe that a PC running iSCSI can pretend to format, partition, etc. the remote iSCSI disks...can someone enhance my knowlege here and verify or deny? In short, it offers access at a much lower-level than a simple file server ever can...

Future Shock

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I get it. To the system it looks like the disk is right there in the machine which has it's advantages.

I have almost zero experience with iSCSI, just the Palisade I got that didn't work right.

One impression I got from that was that multiple computers could not acess that iSCSI device at the same time unless there were different user partitions inside the Palisade. This would make a certain ammount of sense as you can only mount a hard drive one at a time. Definately not what I wanted, I wanted more of a NAS device I guess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not sure, but I believe that a PC running iSCSI can pretend to format, partition, etc. the remote iSCSI disks...can someone enhance my knowlege here and verify or deny?

Yep, an iScsi initiator is no different than hanging disks out of a traditional Scsi HBA.

greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My hat goes off to early adopters.  Beta testing a software iSCSI implementation?  I hope you have good backups...

Speaking of which, has anybody seen a mainstream supplier do the same?  I looked for a linux implementation but haven't been paying attention.  Now, THAT would be cool.

ravton,

well... Everything is not so bad :) Our software is not in BETA stage, it's released and selling very well. However we're really missing a feedback from people using new features (like hardware device AS IS exporting, when you can access f.e. DVD burner or tape drive over the network bypassing general iSCSI virtualization layer) other software vendors iSCSI targets do not provide at all. That's the point!

Linux iSCSI targets are avaiable for years (we've been running interoperability tests with iUNH from www.unh-iscsi.sourceforge.net and Ardis from www.ardistech.com) but they are not so reach from the point of view of features and quite a lot of performance related question appear. That's why on september (if somebody from our team would not screw up badly) we'll have own iSCSI target Linux (and possibly for Solaris and NT kernel version if there would be requests) from Rocket Divison Software. Treat it as an official announce :)

Regards,

Anton Kolomyeytsev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OK, call me stupid but what's the advantage? My server has an 8 disk RAID5 in it that I have been sharing all this time with just windows file share (server 2000).  I have gigabit and I'm pretty happy.

I looked into a 3Ware Palisade about a year ago that is basically a 1U iSCSI file server. It was actually a pile of crap though (good idea, but) for some reason it wouldn't initialize it's gigabit card and would only work on it's 10/100 card (I mean why downgrade?). It looks like it never really caught on in the industry either

MaxBurn,

if you're really missing an answers to the question why SAN would rule storage world in next 10 yeas you can drop me an e-mail to anton@rocketdivision.com and I'll issue you with a PowerPoint presentation we've been doing to one big storage company. With this question "why SAN?" completely answered :)

Some words here:

1) speed

2) speed

3) also speed :)

if you know how TCP works you should know that sender gets it's send request confirmed when ACK is got from the receiver side. Longer time passes -- TCP window get shrinked, performance goes down. This is especially critical for GbE and up. That's why on SMB when upgrading from 100 megabit network (where you get around 7-8 MBps on file transfers) to good GbE (PCI 64-bit/66MHz or at least CSA) you go not get 70-80 MBps and only 20-25 MBps (best case). MS SMB implementation just does not work well on GbE :) Compare this 20-25 MBps with around 150 MBps (read-write, or just around 100 MB for only reads or only writes) you can get when storing big images (like I do when work with DVDs) on iSCSI-ized array on the other machine.

Even in the worst case block-level access would be around 3 times faster compared with file-level access.

4) easy to use. You do not need to mess with shares and all stuff like that. Actually you do not even need to have anything except IP running on server machine.

5) additional features. My tape drive I access from host machine is located on the server and iSCSI-ized, the same is true for DVD burners (my company also does optical media backup software and I'm still coding myself, so need quite a big "zoo" of hardware be up and running).

6) .. 7) ... 8) ...

About your question. 100 megabit Vs. GbE. It depends of what you're expecting to do with a SAN. For devices with limited bandwidth (like mentioned DVD burners and tapes) it's not required to have GbE, 100 megabits would be fine for them. For hard disks I would not even try anything except GOOD GbE :)

Thank you!

Regards,

Anton Kolomyeytsev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OK, I get it. To the system it looks like the disk is right there in the machine which has it's advantages.

I have almost zero experience with iSCSI, just the Palisade I got that didn't work right.

One impression I got from that was that multiple computers could not acess that iSCSI device at the same time unless there were different user partitions inside the Palisade. This would make a certain ammount of sense as you can only mount a hard drive one at a time. Definately not what I wanted, I wanted more of a NAS device I guess.

MaxBurn,

back to the parallel read-write access. Basically different machines CAN access same iSCSI volume for mixed reads or writes. However you need to have right file system on this volume (obviosly NTFS is not right file system). That's why for now until we did not cooperate with a company having such a file system for commercial use (I would NOT list candidates) we do recommend mix of SAN and NAS accesses. Have SAN volume for private access and have some NAS shared folder for shared read-write access. As we're providing software for Windows only now file share capabilities cannot be turned off :)

But SAN file system with a distributed locks are also a future of the computing.

Thanks!

Regards,

Anton Kolomyeytsev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*bump*

by accident I discovered this tool (basically I was looking for the latest daemontools :P ), but this really looks great. Any news on a linux 'client' as I'm using a linux based digital sat receiver/recorder which can automatically convert and write a DVD. Would be great to use the DVD writer in my M$ PC. :D

Wykat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
*bump*

by accident I discovered this tool (basically I was looking for the latest daemontools  :P ), but this really looks great. Any news on a linux 'client' as I'm using a linux based digital sat receiver/recorder which can automatically convert and write a DVD. Would be great to use the DVD writer in my M$ PC.  :D 

Wykat

We've re-scheduled Linux and Solaris ports closer to CeBIT'2005. Too much work to do :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now